Elizabeth Rogers PT

Bladder Habits: Fun Facts & Healthy Habits

When we’re young, our first big achievement is mastering the art of going potty. Parents are both proud and relieved, while children gain a new level of confidence and independence. However, as we move into adulthood, it is not uncommon for us to adopt some unhealthy bladder habits. These unhealthy bladder habits can cause the all-too-familiar symptom of urinary urgency and increased frequency. Here are some fun facts about what is normal and not normal for bladder habits:

1. Frequency. The normal number of times for urination is approximately 5-10 times per day and no more than 1-2 times per night. If you’re toileting more than 10 times per day, you may be training your bladder to hold less urine, causing that familiar “gotta go right now” signal to occur before the bladder is actually full.

2. No more going ‘just in case’. People tend to toilet when they don’t actually have to go, usually to accommodate their busy lifestyle or their dislike for public toilets. However, going ‘just in case’ is how the bladder learns to hold less urine. If it never gets the chance to fill, it won’t be able to hold as much urine, and you’ll find yourself frequenting the toilet too often. That first sensation to urinate is a signal and not a command. Wait for a bit (if you’re able) and allow the bladder fill up a little more. If urgency is a concern, then seeing a pelvic health physical therapist can help with that.

3. Refrain from “speed peeing”. This day in age, it’s difficult to relax much less spend precious moments in the restroom. However, when we bear down to urinate as quickly as possible, we are causing increased pressure on the pelvic floor muscles (over time, this can cause issues). Sit back. Relax. Breathe. Allow your pelvic floor muscles to release urine as they are able. A healthy urine stream should be consistent, easy to begin, and easy to stop.

4. Drink water! This seems obvious, but folks who urinate too much or struggle with urinary incontinence hesitate to stay hydrated during the day. Water can help maintain healthy bladder tissue and bladder habits. A happy bladder can hold 1.5-2 cups of urine comfortably (which is quite a bit of urine!).

5. Caffeine. No one likes to hear this, but unfortunately, coffee and caffeine can irritate the bladder. If you think your morning cup (or pot) of joe is causing some bladder irritation, don’t feel pressured to cut coffee out completely. Maybe try starting with reducing your intake by just 20% and take note if your bladder responds favorably. Depending on the level of bladder irritability, moderation of bladder irritants is key for regulating bladder signaling.

If your curiosity is piqued, fill out this bladder diary for three days. It’ll give you important information on your bladder habits and maybe even highlight important trends (for better or worse) that you didn’t otherwise notice. If you would like expert guidance with improving your bladder habits call our Seattle, WA clinic today to schedule with our pelvic health specialist, Kelsea Cannon, PT.