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How can you look after your bladder?

Published 4th February 2019 by Sorin Tudorut

Bladder problems can become serious, so it’s important to take good care of your health. There are lots of steps you can take to try to control your bladder condition.

Catheterisation

Sometimes, self catheterisation is required due to a health issue affecting the bladder. Using a catheter, urine is released around 4 - 6 times per day. The products used, and how frequently catheterisation takes place, depend on the user. This is a safe way to empty the bladder when urination isn’t possible.

Urine collecting systems

Urine collection systems are a comfortable, non-invasive solution for men. A sheath is worn, which collects any urine leaks and drains them into a bag which is worn on the leg.

Increasing your bladder capacity

Some people ‘retrain’ their bladder using a technique which gradually builds the bladder's capacity. Over time, the amount of time between each toilet visit is slowly increased. By resisting the urge to empty the bladder for slightly longer each time, it should be able to hold more fluid. This requires a patient approach with small, realistic goals, alongside careful monitoring. This method isn't appropriate for everyone. If mobility is an issue then get to the toilet so you are not rushing, wait and then pass urine.

Surgical solutions

Depending on the cause of your bladder problems, surgery is sometimes an option, but only after all other conservative treatments have failed. You will be advised on the best course of action by your doctor.

Strengthening your pelvic floor

The pelvic floor muscles can be strengthened using muscle exercises. This isn’t a quick fix, but if they’re carried out regularly over a number of months, they can reduce incontinence.

To complete the exercises, slowly clench your pelvic floor muscles and hold them for a few seconds before releasing. Please see your healthcare professional for advice on performing these exercises correctly.

Prescribed medication

Medication is sometimes prescribed for incontinence and is often used in combination with other control methods, such as bladder training. Usually, stress incontinence (when urine leaks due to excess pressure being put on the bladder, such as when coughing or sneezing) doesn’t require drugs. Urge incontinence (leakage when the urge to pass urine can’t be controlled) is more commonly treated with medication.

Adapting your lifestyle

Leading a healthy lifestyle can help you take care of your bladder. Being aware of when you’re drinking, and whether this will mean you need to release urine at an inconvenient time, could help to control your fluid output. Having a healthy diet and reducing your caffeine intake can also help keep your bladder healthy.

Often, you will be able to use more than one of these techniques. You will be advised by your Continence Nurse Specialist or GP on the best course of action. For more information on bladder control, please contact a member of our specialist team on 0800 028 4131.