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Tips for Bladder Urgency

When women experience bladder urgency they often feel a heightened level of anxiety, especially when they are thinking about the possibility of leaking. It can lead to varying degrees of embarrassment, which we are all hoping to avoid. Becoming anxious will only make the possibility of leaking MORE likely. It is critical to STAY CALM and let your bladder know whose boss! You are in control NOT your bladder. Here are some simple yet effective ways to reduce urgency. Remember normal voiding is every 3-4 hours. If you are going more that than practice these techniques. There is a lot of finessing that goes along with this general guideline, since we are all unique in our situations. If you need further help, speak with a physical therapist that is trained in pelvic floor rehabilitation.


  • These techniques are to be used to suppress those abnormally strong URGES to urinate.

  • These steps do not have to be followed in order, and not all steps have to be used.

  • The purpose of these steps is to help you regain control of your bladder, to reduce the amount of urinary urgency and frequency and leaking.

  • They take practice to master in controlling urgency. Allow yourself to be okay with leaking when you first start practicing these steps.

  • Practice these steps first at home, when you do not have to worry as much about leaking.

  1. SIT DOWN. Pressure on the pelvic floor inhibits the bladder. Further pressure may help, such as sitting on a small rolled up towel.

  2. LIGHT “KEGELS”. Do a few quick, light Kegel contractions of the pelvic muscles (the muscles that hold back gas and urine). Do not do hard, maximal contractions, as this will quickly fatigue the muscles and cause leakage.

  3. BREATHE & STAY CALM. Breathing slowly and remaining calm will inhibit your sympathetic nervous system, which will in turn calm the bladder.

  4. DISTRACTION. Sit with a project that will engage your mind. Anything that works for you – reading, word puzzles, crochet, knitting, checking email, balancing the checkbook, and so on.

  5. VISUALIZATION. Imagine that you are in a place/situation in which either you do not want to leave. Examples: lying on a beautiful beach or at dinner with someone special; think about all the details associated with the “visualized” environment.

If the urge persists after practicing these steps and feel you must go to the bathroom, then it is imperative that you . . . .

  • Walk slowly and calmly to the bathroom

  • Maintain calm breathing

  • Refrain from undressing until you are standing over the toilet

Rushing to the restroom will only encourage the strong bladder urges and leaking.

Again, the more you practice, the easier these steps will become.

#womenshealth #HeatherStrauch

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