Bladder training is a series of techniques used to help control and minimize the impact of urinary incontinence. Although bladder training does not necessarily work for all types of urinary incontinence, it can have a great deal of effect on many types, especially those caused by stress or urge. In the past few years, techniques for bladder training have improved greatly, and a number of excellent resources now exist.
Urinary incontinence is a general term used to describe any involuntary leakage of urine, and can be caused from any number of things. These might include medical conditions, stress, an overfull bladder, or bedwetting. Some people only experience urinary incontinence when their body undergoes certain physical stresses, such as laughing or sneezing, while others may experience it at any time, sometimes with no apparent common thread.
The concept behind bladder training is fairly simple: one retrains the bladder schedule so that the bladder is able to retain urine for longer periods of time, and reduce feelings of urgency. This is done over a few months, and it is important to remain patient during the course of retraining, sticking with the regimen long enough for results to show. It is a good idea to keep a diary throughout the process of bladder training, as well, to see progress and to have a jumping off point for speaking with a health care professional about your procedure.
To begin bladder training, every day when you wake up you will want to empty your bladder completely. Take as much time as is needed to get the bladder as empty as possible, as often overflow can occur when the bladder is simply not emptied all the way. You will then wait a set time, which you can either determine yourself or reach with the consultation of a health care professional, until emptying your bladder again. To begin with, this may be a short time frame, such as fifteen or twenty minutes. When you go to the bathroom at these set time frames, make sure to completely empty your bladder again, even if you don’t feel like you have to urinate.
If during the course of your day you feel the urge to urinate at a time not dictated by your bladder training schedule, use breathing techniques and Kegel exercises to relax the body and hold back the urine until the urge passes. If the urge doesn’t pass, hold it as you can, then go to the bathroom, relieve yourself, and get right back on the schedule. Once you are able to easily wait for your set interval between visits to the toilet, you can lengthen the interval by another fifteen or twenty minutes.
Continue this bladder training regimen until a comfortable time is met between urges. Generally, this can take anywhere from four to twenty weeks. While keeping a schedule, you can also do muscle exercises like Kegel exercises to help strengthen your ability to hold back urges. It’s also important to consult with a health care professional throughout the process, to make sure that the urinary incontinence is not caused by a more severe underlying medical condition.