Bladder training is a simple and non-invasive method to increase the tolerance for urinary incontinence. Here is a 5-step guide to help you train your bladder and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.*
5-Step Guide To Bladder Training
5-Step Guide To Bladder Training
Bladder training is a simple and non-invasive method to increase the tolerance for urinary incontinence. Here is a 5-step guide to help you train your bladder and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
Do you remember being on a road trip as a kid and telling your parents you needed to use the toilet as soon as you got onto the highway?
If you answered yes, then it's safe to assume that their typical response was, "just hold it." However, this is often easier said than done.
With 1 in 3 Aussie adults experiencing incontinence, trying to hold the urge to wee isn’t always the most realistic advice. But it is possible, if it’s done properly.
That’s where bladder training comes in.
Bladder training is a behaviour therapy often utilised in treating urinary incontinence. Bladder training participants are encouraged to increase the amount of time between emptying the bladder and the amount of fluid their bladder is capable of holding. This can lead to a reduction in leakage, as well as the sudden and urgent need to urinate with little to no warning.1
This is a non-invasive technique that can be learnt and practised without much, if any, intervention from others. For people who may have just begun experiencing urinary incontinence, or those looking to increase the strength of their pelvic floor muscles, bladder training is a great tool when used alongside other incontinence resources.
How does the bladder work?
The bladder is an organ that is responsible for holding urine until it can be released from the body. When it’s damaged, unhealthy or infected, numerous issues can arise, including problems with incontinence.2
The bladder is supported by the pelvic floor muscles, which are crucial to controlling when urine is released. These muscles work to close the sphincters (circular muscles that open and close passages to regulate the flow of substances), holding urine in the bladder until it’s the right time. If these muscles are weakened or damaged, this can also lead to issues with incontinence, as the bladder will lack the support it needs to hold onto urine until this time is appropriate.
How bladder training can improve incontinence
There are a number of treatment options that are used to reduce the frequency and intensity of incontinence, including lifestyle changes, eating patterns, medications and even surgeries. Bladder training can be a powerful tool that can either stand alone or complement these methods. It offers people experiencing incontinence a process aimed to help them improve their bladder strength and functionality.
Bladder training can be practised anywhere, at any time, and doesn’t require any resources or external input. Even if you don’t experience incontinence, bladder training can be a useful way to protect the strength and wellbeing of your bladder and pelvic floor muscles alike.
How to train your bladder
This is your 5-step guide to bladder training:
- Start by scheduling regular bathroom breaks. While scheduling more trips to the bathroom may feel counterproductive, this is an important way to train your bladder to release urine at specific times. Some people may begin by scheduling this at 2- hour intervals, while others will feel more comfortable scheduling an hourly bathroom break.
- Slowly and steadily increase the time between bathroom breaks. Once you’ve got a bathroom schedule in place, work on gradually increasing the time between bathroom breaks across the course of each day. Fifteen-minute increments are a good measurement, using these increases to monitor how much you can extend the time without experiencing an incontinence incident or any leakage.
- Stay away from drinks that are likely to irritate the bladder. Caffeine and alcohol are two common bladder irritants that will also increase the frequency of urination. By limiting your intake of these drinks, you can support your bladder as it gets used to regular bathroom breaks.
- Incorporate pelvic floor muscles. Not only is bladder training about monitoring how often you’re releasing urine and building up your bladder’s capacity accordingly, but it also focuses on increasing the strength of your bladder and pelvic floor muscles. Find a Kegel exercise routine that you can incorporate into your daily activities to strengthen the relevant muscles and improve your ability to control the release of urine.
Take note of your urination. A bladder diary that notes when you urinate, how much you drink and any leakage you may experience is extremely useful in looking at your urination patterns. This will also help you identify any common incontinence triggers, allowing you to build a coping strategy that removes that trigger entirely.
While bladder training can work wonders for some, it’s not a solution for everyone. It’s important to be patient while you’re building up your training approach. Instead of evaluating your progress on the basis of a few days’ worth of progress, take a long-term approach that enables you to integrate bladder training activities into your everyday routine.
Additional treatments for bladder control problems
Bladder training is often used in conjunction with other treatments to find the best solutions for individual incontinence needs. By consulting your GP, you can discover the wide range of incontinence treatment options that may be best suited to your individual health and incontinence circumstances.
As different treatment options are more effective for different causes of incontinence, consulting with your healthcare professional is often the first step in finding an appropriate treatment plan for your individual incontinence experience.
These treatment options may include:
Continence management products - these are often used alongside other treatment options, providing comfort, peace of mind and security for individuals experiencing incontinence. They can also help to minimise the risk of infection, keeping the wearer protected against urine and faecal matter as a result of leakages throughout the day or night.
Our range of quality incontinence pads, pants, all-in-one slips and bedding & furniture protectors provide superior absorbency while maintaining a slimline design, offering comfortable, discreet protection that you can rely on to keep you dry and protected against leaks. Our products also feature special odour-locking technology that helps to neutralise odours for up to 12 hours!
- Medication - your GP may be able to prescribe a medication that helps relax the muscles in the bladder, resulting in a reduction in urination frequency.
- Lifestyle changes - by evaluating your current diet and fluid intake, you may be able to improve your incontinence experience by making some simple dietary shifts. Weight loss, weight maintenance and quitting smoking may also be recommended in order to minimise the disruption caused by incontinence.
- Surgery - depending on the underlying cause of your incontinence, your medical practitioner may recommend a surgical procedure. These may take the form of a sling procedure for stress incontinence or bladder augmentation in the case of urge incontinence.
Simplifying continence management
There are a number of factors that go into finding a successful approach to incontinence management. With ConfidenceClub’s commitment to our customers’ satisfaction, finding the right continence management products doesn’t need to be one of them.
We’re proud of both the quality of our incontinence products and our customer support - a recent survey we conducted showed 83% of our customers would recommend our products to their friends and family, as well as rating our cusomer service 4 or 5 out of 5 stars!
We’ve developed a streamlined and intuitive solution to finding the right fit for your needs. Our Help Me Choose tool can quickly highlight the products that are most appropriate for your daily incontinence needs. With high-quality, comfortable and practical continence management products, we give you the support you need to get on with your day - and with your bladder training schedule.
If you have any questions about our product range, you can speak to our customer service team 6 days a week, by calling 1800 86 11 99 or emailing email@example.com. We also have an online chat on our website. We’re here to help!
We hope this article has helped shed some light on what to expect regarding bladder control. Why not check out our other helpful articles while you’re here?
*This guide is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Incontinence can be caused by a variety of underlying health conditions and is best diagnosed and treated by a healthcare professional. If you are experiencing incontinence, we strongly recommend that you consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best course of treatment for your individual needs.
1 Bladder Training. (n.d.). Ucsfhealth.org: https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/bladder-training
2 National Institute on Aging. (2022, January 24). Urinary Incontinence in Older Adults. National Institute on Aging: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/urinary-incontinence-older-adults