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Urinary Urgency- I gotta go!

Posted Apr 16 2010 12:57pm

When I gotta go, I GOTTA go.
I know every bathroom in my city.
My bladder is ruining my life.
The sound of running water makes me want to pee, walking into a cold room makes me want to pee, getting close to a toilet makes me want to pee, not knowing where a bathroom is makes me want to pee, the thought of peeing makes me want to pee- this is ridiculous, all I do is think about peeing.

Do any of these statements sound like you? We have heard all of these and more from our clients over the years. And we have helped them!

What’s normal?

How often should you go?
· Daytime- Urinating every 3-4 hours (with about 1 cup of urine each time)
· Night time - Before menopause, you should not have to get up at night to urinate. After menopause, no one will feel sorry for you if you have to get up once- that’s considered normal.

Is urinary leakage ever normal?
· NO
Is pain with urination ever normal?
· NO
Is it normal to feel anxious or desperate about urinating?
· NO
Should your bladder control your life?
· NO
Can I ever control my bladder, stop leaking, sleep through the night, not worry where the next bathroom may be found or wash my hands without fear of leaking?

In our 1st blog we described normal bladder behavior. So what is going on with your bladder? Why would your bladder misbehave? You might have symptoms of urinary urgency.
(Sudden onset urinary frequency and /or urgency can be a symptom of a bladder infection or other medical problem. Always check with your medical provider for any change in your health status. This blog is not meant to be a substitute for or followed instead of treatment or advice from your medical practitioner)

What exactly is urinary urgency? Let’s find out.

Urinary urgency occurs when the bladder contracts before you are ready to go. With urinary urgency you can feel as if you are going to immediately leak urine, leak a few drops of urine or leak a lot of urine.

The bladder is storage tank for urine- not a conduit for urine to pass through. Your bladder should be able to fill with about 1 cup of urine before the muscle over it (the detrusor) signals you to go to the bathroom. The bladder should stay quiet until you sit down on the toilet and are ready to urinate. This means that you are the one in charge, not your bladder. Your bladder should not have YOU running to the toilet in a panic.

Going to the bathroom should not be a life and death emergency.

When you feel an URGENT need to go to the bathroom, your bladder has taken over and has started to contract too early. It feels EXACTLY like your bladder is ready to explode, even though it may not be full. Haven’t you had the experience that you REALLY needed to go, raced to the toilet, sure you were about to burst but all that happened was tinkle, tinkle.

SO- this means that you don’t need to empty your bladder every time you have an awareness of urine in your bladder. This means that you should stop going to the bathroom “just in case”. When you go to the bathroom before your bladder is full of urine, you are training your bladder to empty because of convenience. You are training your bladder to empty more often than needed.
Many gals tell us that they go to the bathroom frequently because they are afraid that they won’t find a bathroom when needed. Now, your bladder is training you. Again, you are training your bladder to empty more often than needed.
Can you see how this can become a problem?

Terrific TipsAvoid going to the bathroom “just in case”
To control urinary urge stay calm( we aren’t kidding-it works)
Take several slow deep breaths ( and keep breathing as you walk to the bathroom)
Contract your pelvic floor muscles several times to calm your bladder.

Remember that your bladder is a storage tank for urine and nothing “bad” happens when you hold urine (unless you been advised by a health practitioner to do otherwise).

Check back for more tips and tools you can use to make your bladder behave. There are lots of things you can do to help your bladder.

The Practical PT’s
Kathleen and Mary

P.S. The bladder is a sensitive structure. We will blog about other things that can impact your bladder in future posts.

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