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Understanding Incontinence

How To Increase Bladder Capacity and Gain Control Over Urinary Urgency

Published by Sagar Luthra
How To Increase Bladder Capacity and Gain Control Over Urinary Urgency

For those dealing with frequent and urgent trips to the restroom, the desire to increase bladder capacity is a common goal. Whether you're experiencing overactive bladder (OAB), interstitial cystitis, or simply find yourself making too many bathroom visits, there are strategies you can employ to gain better control over your urinary urgency. In this blog, we'll explore techniques to increase bladder capacity, reduce urinary frequency, and enhance your overall quality of life.

Understanding Bladder Capacity

Bladder capacity refers to the amount of urine your bladder can hold comfortably before you feel the urge to empty it. This capacity can vary from person to person and can be influenced by medical conditions, age, and lifestyle factors. A small bladder capacity often leads to frequent urination and a sense of urgency, which can be disruptive and uncomfortable.

Timed Voiding

Timed voiding is a technique that involves scheduling your restroom visits at regular intervals, regardless of whether you feel the urge to go. By adhering to a strict timetable, you can train your bladder to gradually expand its capacity. Here's how to get started:

  1. Establish a Schedule: Start by determining how frequently you currently urinate and then create a schedule that adds some extra time between bathroom breaks. For instance, if you're going every hour, try to extend it to an hour and fifteen minutes.
  2. Stick to the Schedule: Be disciplined in adhering to your new timetable. Use alarms or reminders on your phone to ensure you follow your plan consistently.
  3. Gradually Increase Time Intervals: Over time, increase the time between bathroom visits as your bladder becomes more comfortable with the extended intervals.
  4. Monitor Progress: Keep a diary to track your progress. Note any improvements in bladder capacity and reductions in urinary urgency.

Pelvic Floor Exercises

Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles can be instrumental in enhancing bladder control and increasing capacity. Pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, can help. Here's how to perform them:

  1. Locate the Muscles: Identify your pelvic floor muscles by trying to stop the flow of urine midstream during a bathroom visit. The muscles you use to do this are your pelvic floor muscles.
  2. Practice Contractions: Contract and hold these muscles for a count of five, then release. Repeat this process for a set of 10-15 repetitions, several times a day.
  3. Gradually Increase Intensity: As your muscles become stronger, increase the duration of the contractions and the number of repetitions.
  4. Consistency Is Key: Make pelvic floor exercises a regular part of your routine to see improvements in bladder capacity.

Bladder Training

Bladder training is a structured approach to retraining your bladder to hold more urine. It combines elements of timed voiding and psychological techniques to reduce urinary urgency. Here's how to go about it:

  1. Start with Your Baseline: Track your urination schedule for a few days to understand your current pattern.
  2. Set a Gradual Goal: Determine the maximum interval between restroom visits that you're comfortable with. This will become your initial goal.
  3. Delay Your Trips: When you feel the urge to urinate, attempt to hold it for a few minutes beyond your baseline.
  4. Practice Relaxation Techniques: When you delay your trip to the restroom, employ relaxation techniques to manage the urge. Deep breathing or distraction can be helpful.
  5. Increase the Time Interval: As you become comfortable with your initial goal, gradually extend the time between bathroom breaks. Continue this process until you've achieved your desired bladder capacity.

Dietary and Fluid Management

Certain foods and beverages can irritate the bladder, leading to more frequent urination and urgency. Managing your diet can help increase your bladder capacity:

  • Avoid Irritants: Limit or eliminate foods and drinks that are known bladder irritants, such as caffeine, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, spicy foods, and acidic fruits.
  • Stay Hydrated: While it may seem counterintuitive, ensure you're drinking enough water to maintain overall health. Dehydration can lead to concentrated urine, which can irritate the bladder.

Consult a Healthcare Provider

If you're struggling to increase your bladder capacity or experiencing significant urinary urgency and frequency, it's essential to consult a healthcare provider. They can rule out any underlying medical conditions and provide personalized guidance and treatment options.

Increasing bladder capacity and regaining control over urinary urgency is possible with the right strategies and commitment. By incorporating timed voiding, pelvic floor exercises, bladder training, dietary adjustments, and seeking professional advice when necessary, you can take positive steps towards improving your bladder health. Remember that progress may take time, but with persistence and patience, you can enjoy a better quality of life with fewer disruptions from urinary urgency.