By: Jocelyn Craig, M.D., medical director, Pelvic Health Program, MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center
Many people are suffering in silence with pelvic health issues. Some may avoid going to certain locations or attending special events because they are unsure of the bathroom situation. Others may pack pads, adult diapers or even spare underwear because they worry they won’t make it to the restroom on time.
Bladder issues, while inconvenient and often embarrassing, can be treated. People may be able to train their bladder to urinate on a schedule or increase the amount they can “hold it” before they need to find a restroom.
Before learning to train your bladder, it is important to be evaluated by a physician to confirm there are no other health conditions that need to be treated. To train your bladder, first you must understand your current bladder habits. Keeping a two to five day diary of how often you urinate, as well as any leakage, can be helpful. Next, calculate your typical interval and set your goal for 10 to 15 minutes longer than your normal interval.
When you first start training your bladder, set a timer. If you feel like you need to use the restroom before the timer, remind yourself that your bladder isn’t really full and try other techniques to keep you from going. Some people use pelvic floor exercises while others may delay a small amount of time by slowly walking to the restroom.
Once you are comfortable with your new interval, increase it gradually. After a while, you’ll find that you will experience less issues with incontinence.
While bladder training may be helpful for some people, it may not completely control your incontinence. It is important to talk to a physician if you feel like your incontinence is controlling your life.
The Pelvic Health Program at MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center offers patients a comprehensive blend of community and hospital-based providers to bring relief for these conditions. Treatment options range from medication to implanted devices to minimally invasive surgical procedures. With assistance from the Pelvic Health Program, you can improve your quality of life and get back to the things you love without fear.
Call 1.800.MEMORIAL or visit memorialcare.org/lbpelvichealth to learn more.