Now we know a bit about Over-Active Bladder (OAB) and how the bladder works let’s talk a little more about how you can start to overcome this inconvenient problem with a few tips on reducing the urge to go!
The bladder just like other muscles in our bodies is controlled by nerve messages this means that although we don’t usually have to consciously do anything to control our bladder when there is a problem such as OAB we can consciously take control and retrain it to get things back in control!
Research has shown certain things in our lifestyle can contribute to poor bladder function – these substances are known as ‘bladder irritants’ so the first step in improving bladder function would be to manage your overall fluid intake and eliminate irritating substances which include:
Urge Suppression Strategies
These techniques help to change the sensation in the bladder so the urge to pass urine comes on only when the bladder in appropriately full. The aim is to inhibit the detrusor (bladder muscle) overactivity to cause the bladder to relax.
These strategies including deep breathing exercises and distraction techniques (think counting backwards in 7’s when you need to hold on!) but also these specific tricks…
Tibial nerve stimulation – this nerve actually runs down the back of your calf muscles which you may not think is relevant to your bladder but itsends messages to the same area in the sacrum that control the bladder so next time you are busting for the loo try contracting your calf with a heel raise or curling your toes to help you hold on!
Perineal Pressure – we often see little girls holding on ‘down there’ when they are busting for the toilet, this is not a good look for most of us but more subtle ways of putting pressure on the perineal area include sitting on the edge of a chair can help suppress urgency.
Pelvic floor contraction – a 10 second pelvic floor contraction can decrease bladder overactivity, another reason to keep these muscles strong!
The other researched way of controlling your bladder function is by doing ‘bladder drills’ this is restoring normal bladder function by setting up a schedule for voiding throughout the day at regular intervals and gradually increasing these intervals until normal voiding patterns are achieved.