What is considered normal bladder health?
- The average bladder can hold about 2 cups of urine before it needs to be emptied.
- The normal range of voiding urine is 6 to 8 times during a 24 hour period. Usually, we should not need to void more than every two hours.
- Urine should flow easily and without discomfort in a good, steady stream until the bladder is empty. No pushing or straining should be necessary to empty the bladder.
- An urge is a signal that you feel as the bladder stretches to fill with urine. Urges can be felt even when the bladder is not full. Urges are not commands to go to the toilet, but merely a signal and can be controlled.
Good Bladder Habits
- Take your time when emptying your bladder. Don’t strain or push to empty your bladder. Make sure you empty your bladder completely each time you pass urine. Do not rush the process.
- Consistently ignoring the urge to go (waiting more than 4 hours between toileting) or urinating infrequently may be convenient, but it is not healthy for your bladder.
- Avoid going to the toilet “just in case” or more often than every 2 hours. It s usually not necessary to go when you first feel the urge. Try to go only when your bladder is full. Urgency and frequency of urination can be improved by retraining the bladder and spacing your fluid intake throughout the day.
Tips to Maintain Good Bladder Habits
- Maintain good fluid intake. Depending on your body size and environment, drink 6- 8 cups (8 ounces each) of fluid per day unless otherwise advised by your doctor. Not enough fluid causes a foul odor and dark color of the urine.
- Limit the amount of caffeine (coffee, cola, chocolate or tea) and citrus foods that you consume as these foods can be associated with increased sensation of urinary urgency and frequency.
- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. Alcohol increases urine production and also makes it difficult for the brain to coordinate bladder control.
- Avoid constipation by maintaining a balanced diet of dietary fiber.
- Avoid cigarette smoking. It irritates the surface of the bladder, and is associated with bladder cancer. In addition, the coughing associated with smoking may lead to increased incontinent episodes.
Practice good toilet habits. Don’t let your bladder control your life!
This article was written by Great Moves Physical Therapy. Click here to learn more about our physical therapy services.