1) Your urine should be clear
Your urine should be a pale yellow (think light lemonade color). If you have clear urine it means you are OVERhydrated which is not equal to being hydrated (or you have a diuretic in your system which doesn’t allow you to absorb water). Dark yellow or brownish urine means you are DEhydrated. Neither are acceptable or healthy for your kidneys and bladder. Urine is a mixture of toxins and water, and it’s the toxins that make it yellow! So if your urine is clear–guess what you’re eliminating?? WATER. If it’s pale yellow you’ve given your kidneys a chance to do their job–filter and eliminate toxins and excess water that our body didn’t need. Pale YELLOW is good–it means you’re hydrated and you got rid of toxins–isn’t that the point?! And on that note, “flushing your body of toxins” doesn’t work, you end up just flushing out your water. The best “flush” you can give your body is to not overload it with water, bladder irritants, or some ‘magic detox’ formula and just let the kidneys do their job.
2) It’s okay to pee a lot if you drink a lot of water
I hear this all the time. It’s NOT okay. It is true that you can drink TOO MUCH water, either you are drinking it too fast or too much or both if your urine is clear or if you have increased urinary frequency. Your body has a rate of absorption that you are bypassing when you guzzle a gallon of water. If your kidneys gets flooded with water they don’t have time to filter so they send the water to your bladder. Meaning your kidneys are overworked so the bladder gets flooded with water which makes it fill up quicker than it’s supposed to and causes urinary frequency (overactive bladder!). This can also happen if you have caffeine or alcohol in your system (the diuretic doesn’t allow for water to be absorbed) therefore, clear urine and increased urinary frequency. Not okay. And still not hydrated.
3) You should push to get all the urine out
Nope. Please do not do this. When you are urinating, your pelvic floor needs to be RELAXED. When you push or strain to empty your bladder (and bowels!) it automatically activates your pelvic floor muscles. This disrupts the reciprocal relationship of the bladder and pelvic floor. It actually tells the bladder to stop contracting which is very confusing to the bladder (and brain!). Not only is it not the way our bladder and pelvic floor are designed to work together but it can lead to other problems such as pelvic pain, feeling of incomplete emptying, urinary frequency, urge, leaking, and more. Just relax and breathe while you’re urinating!! Remember the restroom means rest. And sit on the toilet to allow you pelvic floor muscles to relax too!!
4) You should do hundreds of Kegels a day and use vaginal weights to get stronger
Although it is important to exercise your pelvic floor it is not necessary or healthy to do hundreds of Kegels a day. Your pelvic floor muscles are skeletal muscles like the other muscles in your body (biceps, hamstrings), however, the big difference is that they are SMALL muscles and are not designed to be WEIGHT LIFTERS. Less is more with these muscles. There is no Pelvic Floor Olympics—no need to train your pelvic muscles to carry 31lbs (world record apparently)! There is NO functional gain in that and can lead to over training, which can lead to other problems including pelvic pain.
Exercising your pelvic floor has many benefits especially in regards to bowel, bladder, and sexual health. However, not everyone is a candidate for KEGELS (pelvic floor muscle contractions) especially if you’re adding weights. And for the record being “tight” does not equal “strength” and there is much more to the function of your pelvic floor muscles!
5) Leaking is a normal part of aging
Fortunately it is NOT! Although it is common it is not normal and doesn’t have to do with age alone. What happens when we get older? We stop exercising as much, more years of practicing bad habits, more surgeries, child births, etc. Basically more reason to be at higher risk for incontinence. But please don’t blame your age and do NOT accept that you will always leak. It can still be corrected despite your age. I’ve helped hundreds of 80+ year old women and men through physical therapy.
6) Leaking after child birth is normal
Again, common but not normal and does not need to be accepted. Pregnancy alone is a risk for incontinence. After 12 weeks postpartum if you’re still leaking you need to consult with your doctor who will hopefully send you to a pelvic floor physical therapist before suggesting surgery. And by all means start bladder retraining and Kegels immediately. That should be your first step. Kegels can be started if you do not have any residual pain–but always good to consult a pelvic floor physical therapist to make sure you are performing them correctly.
7) Men don’t have pelvic floors or related issues
Not true. And the anatomy is very similar to women’s pelvic floors. Men also suffer from incontinence, pelvic pain, all bladder symptoms (including incontinence especially post prostatectomy) and sexual dysfunctions–all related to the pelvic floor!