What are “normal” bladder habits? Here are some general guidelines:
Emptying your bladder every 2-4 hours during waking hours
Emptying your bladder 0-2 times during sleeping hours (depending on your age)
Total trips to urinate in 24 hours should be no more than 7-8 times and no less than 4-5.
Your bladder holds about 16 oz of urine - and normally you eliminate 6-10 oz each time.
Urges you feel signaling it is time to go to the bathroom should NOT be “commands” to drop everything and run to the toilet.
Your total fluid intake, your diet, exercise intensity, medications, age, pregnancy and other medical conditions can influence your bladder habits. If you are concerned you urinate too often or not enough, keep track for 3-5 days and look at your patterns. Sometimes just being aware of your habits helps you change them.
Tips for keeping your bladder both happy and healthy:
Drink water! There is a lot of information out there about how much fluid you should strive to drink / day. General consensus among professional organizations recommend 48-64 oz of fluid / day, at least half of this should be water. There are some medical conditions in which less fluid is recommended (for example certain kidney or heart conditions). If you live in a hot environment, sweat with exercise, or are breastfeeding - you may need to drink more water each day to stay hydrated.
Limit bladder irritants. Some fluids can irritate the bladder: caffeine, carbonated beverages, alcohol, juices or foods are highly acidic.
Sit down on the toilet seat when urinating. Don’t “hover”. When you sit, your pelvic floor muscles fully relax, allowing you to empty your bladder more completely.
Let it flow! You should not have to push your urine out. Also, try not to stop and start your urine flow on purpose. Sometimes people are taught to perform Kegels this way. This may be OK to “find” pelvic floor muscles, but it really isn’t good for your bladder.
Go when your bladder is full and try to avoid “just in case” trips to the bathroom (“JIC-ing”). JIC-ing too often trains your bladder into thinking it is full when it isn’t. That said, there are times when this makes sense - but it should not be a regular habit.
Empty your bladder before bed and when you first wake in the morning.
Manage constipation. Choose fiber rich foods. A full rectum can place pressure on the bladder, making it more difficult to hold urine effectively.
If any of these "normal" bladder habits don't sound like yours, or if you have any questions whatsoever call Connect’s specialists Natalie Graham, PT or Susan Weedall, PT at (503) 974-9078.