An irritated or leaky bladder doesn’t have to slow you down. New technologies have made incontinence management more comfortable and flexible than ever before. Whether you’re a new mom who doesn’t want to miss yoga class or a grandfather whose teenager just invited you on a fishing trip—with modern medication and emerging tech, anyone can find the perfect fit to match their lifestyle.
But today, we’re going to take a step back from new scientific breakthroughs and explore some good old-fashioned ways soothing and strengthening your bladder—naturally. These foods, tips, and exercises work together with emerging science to help you live a healthier, more comfortable lifestyle.
1. Choose Your Foods Wisely
Let’s begin by exploring which foods are harshest on your sensitive bladder, then suggesting some delicious alternatives!
Don’t Eat: Acidic Fruits and Veggies
Tomatoes, oranges, limes, lemonade, salsa. While tomatoes and oranges are full of vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants, they’re also very acidic, which can irritate your urinary tract.
Blueberries, pears, spinach, avocados. There are plenty of juicy, sweet fruits that have lower acidity, while still providing an anti-oxidant and vitamin boost! Instead of tomato-based salsa, try sweet corn salsa, smooth guacamole, and spinach-queso dip.
Don’t Drink: Caffeine, diet soda, alcohol
Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it will increase your body’s need to urinate. Diet soda’s combination of carbonation and artificial sweeteners makes it rough on your bladder.
Water – of course. But if you want more variety, try replacing soda with flavored carbonated water. Just make sure it’s not flavored with synthetic sweeteners, like aspartame, which can aggravate your bladder. If you need a boost of energy, try switching out coffee for peppermint or ginger tea, which is gentler on your tummy and healthy for your digestive system. Add Ginseng for a kick of energy!
Keep a Food Diary. Everyone’s body is different, so find out what works for you by tracking what you eat and drink until you find your perfect diet!
2. Bladder Training
Your body has the incredible ability to adapt, and your mind is very powerful. Just like an athlete training for a marathon, you can train your bladder to hold for longer and longer intervals. Your goal is to increase the amount of time between restroom visits, while also slowly increasing how much fluid your bladder can hold.
You should always urinate first thing in the morning. Then, set a “Pee Schedule,” and follow it. If you normally need to urinate once per hour, try to stretch yourself to go every hour and a half instead. When your next scheduled restroom stop occurs, be sure to go, whether or not you feel the urge.
If you simply cannot make it until your next scheduled time, that’s okay! Try relaxing your muscles, breathing deeply, and suppressing the urge. If the urge passes, keep trying to wait until your next restroom stop. However, if you still need to urinate, try waiting for five more minutes; then, allow yourself to go.
To maximize your chances of success, be sure to monitor your fluid intake. If you drink an entire bottle of water first thing in the morning, you set yourself up for failure! Instead, take sips of fluid throughout the day, and avoid the foods and beverages mentioned above. If you’re nervous about incontinence, wear a discrete incontinence pad to protect yourself – just in case!
3. Kegel Exercises (A Quick How-To Guide)
Kegel exercises are a form of muscle training for your pelvis, which strengthens its ability to support the bladder, intestines, and rectum. Having strong pelvic muscles can help prevent or decrease urinary and bowel incontinence. Many new mothers practice Kegel to re-build those muscles weakened by childbirth.
Kegels often feel a little uncomfortable; however, as with any kind of muscle training, your body is just trying to get used to a new sensation. As your pelvis muscles get stronger, you will have an easier time doing Kegels.
How-To Do Kegels:
1. Find the muscles you flex in order to stop urinating mid-stream.
2. As if trying to prevent urination, squeeze those muscles for 2-4 seconds. It should feel like a small tug beneath your urethra. Be certain you aren’t flexing or squeezing your abdominal muscles or thighs.
3. Repeat this squeeze and release ten times. Focus on holding the muscles, just as if you are holding your urine.
4. Do this three times a day.
5. You can do Kegels sitting at your desk at work, resting on a couch, or watching TV. Do NOT do Kegels while urinating, as this can hurt your bladder. Try to practice Kegels when your bladder is already empty.
Along with bladder training and a healthy diet, Kegels can dramatically decrease the frequency of urinary urges.
4. Yoga Poses
Aside from Kegels, any kind of strength training that benefits your pelvic and abdominal muscles can help with urinary incontinence. After all, a healthy lifestyle and strong body has many benefits to your overall wellness.
Certain yoga poses are ideal for both strengthening and relaxing those muscles involved in supporting bladder and bowel health.
- Happy Baby: Opens and stretches the pelvic muscles, relaxing tension that can lead to pelvic and urinary discomfort.
- Child’s Pose: Stretches and relaxes your spine and lower back, alleviating tightness in your sacrum, hips, and pelvis.
- Supine Twist: Squeezes and stretches knots and areas of tension in your lower back and pelvic muscles. Opens each side of your body, wringing out sticky spots where the muscles tighten around the spine.
There are dozens of yoga poses that can decrease urinary frequency by stretching and relaxing the tight muscles that irritate your bladder.
Simple Methods of Decreasing Urinary Frequency
A doctor’s advice, certain medicines, and incontinence technology can also keep you comfortable and dry as you build on a healthier lifestyle. Incontinence is a natural part of life for many people of all ages, but it can be managed.
As with most things in life, exercise, water, and a healthy diet play a huge role in your overall bladder health. After several weeks of bladder training, Kegels, exercise, and careful dietary changes, you will be surprised by how much longer you are able to wait between urinary urges!
Congratulate yourself, and celebrate!