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11 Nov 2023

Healthy Bladder Habits

By By Erin Lanting, BSc, MScPT

You might be wondering why we are talking about your bladder in this blog, but from a

physiotherapy perspective, healthy bladder habits are very important and strongly connected to

your pelvic floor, lower back & core muscles. These muscles are linked to all sorts of symptoms

and dysfunctions that we see in the clinic on a regular basis. Anytime a patient is seeking

treatment for lower back or hip pain, diastasis rectus, or has complaints of problems like

urgency, leakage, or incontinence, it is important we talk about healthy bladder habits and likely

make a referral to a pelvic floor physiotherapist. If you are pregnant or postpartum it is also

valuable to seek advice on ways to support your pelvic floor health. Pelvic floor

physiotherapists have extra training and certifications beyond what is taught in the regular

physiotherapy curriculum and so can add a ton of value if you’re having issues like the ones

listed above. For the purposes of this blog, I will talk about some general healthy bladder habits

but please discuss your specific symptoms and concerns, if you have any, with a suitable

healthcare professional.

Here are my guidelines:

1.  You should be voiding every 2-3 hours throughout the day and maximum of once at

night. Avoid “just in case” peeing and don’t hold it for more than 4 hours. Why? Urinating

too often can teach the nerves to send signals to the bladder that it needs to empty even

when it doesn’t or on the flip side, the sensors may start to “forget” to tell you that you

actually need to go, creating a dysfunctional bladder.

2.  It should take you approximately 8 seconds to void. If it takes significantly longer, you

likely waited too long and if it takes less time than that, you likely didn’t actually need to

go yet.

3.  The color should be a “mellow yellow”, with the exception that if you’re taking B vitamins

the color will likely be fluorescent yellow. If your urine is dark in color your tipping

towards dehydration and if it’s clear with no color you may have drank too much water.

4.  Avoid constipation. Why? A full bowel can put pressure on the bladder, leading to

urgency or even obstruct the ability of the bladder to release. Tip! For kids that struggle

with bedwetting it can often be because they are chronically constipated!

5.  Understand the state of your pelvic floor muscles. Contrary to popular belief, not all of

us need to strengthen our pelvic floors with “kegel” exercises. Often we actually need to

first work on releasing the muscles and then move to strengthening. This is where a

pelvic floor therapist can give you more direction.

6.  Try to completely empty at each toilet visit without straining or pushing. Sometimes it

can be helpful to stand up, rock hips back and forth and around in a circle, then sit down

again and see if there is more to empty.

7.  Reduce irritant intake and drink approximately 2L of water daily. Try to limit acidic foods

like tomatoes & citrus, as well as coffee, chocolate, alcohol and spicy foods as these can

irritate the bladder.



Did you know?
An average size bladder can hold two cups of urine before it needs to empty.

A Couple of Giggles
“Happiness is like peeing your pants. Everyone can see it, but only you can feel the

warmth”- Unknown

What happens if you miss the toilet while you’re trying to pee? Urine trouble