Incontinence and bladder training

If you suffer from urinary incontinence then you may have heard of bladder training as a non-surgical and non-medication option for treating urinary incontinence. But you have questions: What is bladder training and will it work for me? Do I need to consult my doctor before trying bladder training?

What is bladder training and will it work for me?

Bladder training is a technique that involves learning to delay urination after you get the urge to go. The goal is to gradually lengthen the time in between urinations over a period of several weeks or more until you are urinating only once every 3 to 4 hours. It is a particularly useful exercise if you suffer from urge incontinence.

Your doctor will be able to tell you if bladder training will be useful for you, whether practiced by itself or in combination with other therapies, which will depend on what type of urinary incontinence you have.

The process of delaying urination may be uncomfortable and you will have to learn how to relax and distract yourself when the urge hits. However, the benefits of bladder training can be worth all your efforts. Bladder training can improve your control over the urge to urinate, lengthen the amount of time between bathroom trips, and increase the amount of urine your bladder can hold.

Do I need to consult my doctor before trying bladder training?

You can try bladder training before consulting with your doctor. Unlike urinary incontinence medications, there are no known side effects associated with bladder training. However, it is a good idea to see your doctor, who will be able to provide support, give more information, and set up a simple urination schedule for you to follow and monitor your progress. Additionally, you may suffer from a type of urinary incontinence that bladder training might not be that effective in treating. Your doctor will be able to identify your situation.

Keeping track of when you urinate each day, how much volume you urinate, how much liquid you have consumed, and when or how many accidents you have had each day is the best way to make sure you are progressing with your bladder training. Print out the Voiding Diary and fill it out each day.

Remember to start small with bladder training. For example, try to hold off your urge to urinate 10 minutes each time the first week and move up to 20 minutes the next week until you have obtained your goal. Bring your voiding diary with you to your next doctor visit and they will help you know if you are on track.

When suffering from urinary incontinence, either while you are waiting to see your doctor or waiting for your therapy to work, using absorbent products can help bring a level of comfort and control from accidental leakage. You can also try doing some pelvic floor exercises to help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.

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