When your bladder is out of your control, you never know when you’re going to feel the sudden, uncontrollable desire to void. It may even be difficult for you to make it to the bathroom in time.
You can get to the point where your entire routine starts revolving around the availability of a bathroom.
The fear of leaking while you’re out and about can be embarrassing enough to force you to stay home.
This article will discuss bladder training, its benefits, and how you can train your bladder.
How does incontinence happen?
Usually, the brain signals “time to go” when your urinary bladder is only partially full. That gives you a fair warning to find a place to avoid.
When you decide to let go, a valve called the urinary sphincter opens, allowing the urine to flow out through the urinary tract from the urinary bladder to the external environment. Muscles in the urinary bladder wall contract to empty as much as possible.
But with bladder control problems, the urinary bladder muscles contract on their own, with little warning. This results in a powerful and unchecked urge to urinate.
If a man is unable to hold his urine until he finds an appropriate place, the result can be anything from a small leak to soaked garments.
Urinary Incontinence in Men With Prostate Issues
Individuals presenting with different types of prostate issues eventually start experiencing urinary incontinence at some stage. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is one such type of prostate issue. BPH, as you age, can result in significant bladder control problems.
When the prostate is enlarged, as in BPH, it can press the urethra, affecting urine flow. It would ultimately lead to a weak stream, frequent urination, and leaking.
On the other hand, urinary incontinence can also develop after prostate cancer treatment for a patient.
Removing the prostate, or using radiation to treat it, can lead to damage to the nerves and muscles of the bladder, urethra, and or sphincter, which controls the flow of urine from the bladder. It would also result in urinary incontinence.
Treatment Options for Bladder Control Problems
Most people are reluctant to talk about bladder control problems. They may not want to share it even with the doctors. However, discussing this problem, especially with your doctor, is necessary to find their solutions.
Healthcare professionals can offer you different treatment options depending upon the description of your urinary incontinence. These treatment options can range from lifestyle changes to surgery.
Sometimes, you may have to go for more than one approach before you find one that suits your needs.
One of the most commonly recommended first-line treatment options for bladder control problems is bladder retraining, a type of behavioral therapy that helps you regain control over your bladder.
Bladder control training comprises some strategies that gradually teach you to hold in urine for longer and longer periods of time to prevent emergencies and leaks.
Is bladder training right for me?
The decision to opt for bladder training depends on the cause of the bladder control problem.
The urinary problem for which bladder control training is mainly used is urinary incontinence, the involuntary loss of urine. It’s one of the most common bladder control problems.
Urinary incontinence has the following types:
- Stress incontinence: It’s a condition in which pressure on your abdomen causes you to leak urine accidentally. This sudden pressure could be from a cough, sneeze, or laugh.
- Urge incontinence: You feel a sudden, strong urge to go void because your bladder contracts even when it’s not full. This may make you unable to reach the toilet in time.
- Mixed incontinence: Stress and urge incontinence combine to lead to a condition called mixed incontinence.
- Overflow incontinence: A condition leading to emptying the bladder completely that leads to urine leakage.
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Benefits of Bladder Training
Bladder training offers you many perks to enjoy. It simply gives you more control over your bladder.
Bladder controlling techniques help you hold more liquid in your bladder. They increase the interval between bathroom visits.
How to Control Your Bladder
Before you begin bladder control training, your doctor will recommend you keep a diary. In that diary, you’ll jot down every time you have the desire to go, as well as when you leak.
Using your diary as a guide, you’ll use the following strategies to help you gain more control over urination.
Step One: Schedule bathroom visits
Calculate how often you’re going to the bathroom based on your diary record. Then add about 15 minutes to that duration. For example, if you’re going to pee every hour, schedule bathroom visits after one hour and 15 minutes.
This will enable you to go to the bathroom at set times, regardless of whether you actually feel the urge or not. Gradually increase the amount of time until you find a schedule that works for you.
Step Two: Delay urination
If you have urge incontinence, you can learn to delay urination. Start by holding your urine for 5 minutes or so every time you feel the urge to urinate.
When it’s easy to wait 5 minutes, gradually increase the amount of time by 10 minutes. Continue increasing this duration until you can last for at least three to four hours without having to go to the bathroom.
If you’re feeling a strong need to go before your time is up, try distracting yourself by counting backward from 100 to one or trying relaxation techniques such as deep breathing.
When you just can’t hold it any longer, avoid it, but use the bathroom again at your next scheduled void time to stay on your bladder retraining schedule.
Step Three: Kegel exercises
These are specific pelvic floor muscle exercises that strengthen the muscles you use to start and stop the flow of urine. Originally, these exercises were meant for women, but they have also proved their effectiveness for men.
Systemic review studies have proved that combining pelvic floor muscle exercises with other bladder retraining strategies including biofeedback is very effective for treating urinary incontinence in men with prostate issues.
During a kegel exercise, you have to squeeze the muscles you normally use to stop the urine. Keep those muscles contracted for five seconds, and then relax for five seconds.
Gradually extend the service to 10-second contractions with 10 seconds of rest in between. Set a routine of doing three sets of 10 contractions each day.
To speed up the process of you getting control over your bladder function, you may also like to follow these tips:
- Minimize the intake of beverages that increase urination, including caffeinated drinks like sodas, coffee, and tea.
- Avoid drinking too much fluid before bedtime.
- Develop a habit of going to the bathroom before you go to bed at night and as soon as you wake up in the morning.
- Continue to keep a record of your washroom visits while you are doing your bladder control training.
- Share that diary regularly with your doctor to make sure you’re on track.
Bladder retraining techniques are an effective strategy to manage urinary incontinence. If you are suffering from urinary incontinence, do not hesitate to discuss your problem in detail with your doctor.
They will devise a perfect management plan for your problems. Bladder retraining strategies are likely to be part of that plan.
It is important to note that it may take 3 to 12 weeks of bladder training to see results. Don’t feel disappointed if you don’t see immediate improvements. Always keep your doctor updated with how it’s going.
Consult your doctor if you’ve been practicing bladder training for many weeks and it still isn’t working. It may be time to consider other options, like medication or surgery.