Follow these simple rules to prevent or treat urinary and bowel dysfunctions.
1. Always sit on the toilet.
-When you “hover above the toilet” your pelvic floor is activated. But remember-peeing is supposed to be passive-which means NO muscle activity. So have a seat and focus on your diaphragm breathing to relax. You are supposed to “rest” in the restroom.
2. Never kegel while urinating. Do NOT stop your urine flow. Ever.
It is true that your pelvic floor muscles are designed to stop urine flow. However, that’s to keep you continent, not to interfere with the bladders function. The pelvic floor and bladder have a reciprocal relationship, meaning when you are peeing, your bladder is “on”, and so your pelvic floor needs to be “off”. When you are not peeing, your bladder is “off”, acting as a reservoir to store your urine until it is time to void.
3. Urinate every three hours.
Often I hear my patients say “I pee a lot because I drink a lot of water.” Not okay! There IS such a thing as over-hydrating. A normal healthy bladder will take three hours to fill up with the appropriate amount of fluid intake that the body requires to stay hydrated. So cut back if your urine is clear! Your urine should be pale yellow. Remember, urine is a mixture water and toxins. The toxins are what color the urine yellow. If your urine is clear then all you’re doing is peeing out your water, meaning your body didn’t have time to absorb all that water your were drinking.
4. Don’t void “just in case”.
-Preemptive voids increase pelvic floor activity and bladder activity contributing to a dysfunctional coordination. Wait until your bladder is full to urinate (see rule 3). It is okay to suppress urges to void to decrease urinary frequency as long as you don’t wait much longer than three hours
5. Don’t push or strain to help empty bladder.
Let your bladder do its job! It is an involuntary muscle for a reason. It is not okay to push, strain, or activate muscles to help empty your bladder. The best thing you can do to empty your bladder is to place your feet on a stool and focus on your diaphragm breathing. Not allowing your bladder to do its job contributes to the interference of the pelvic floor and bladder relationship making pelvic and urinary dysfunction worse.
6. Just breathe!
-Diaphragm breathing is the most important tool you can use to decrease pain, urges, and help empty your bladder. It is all you should be doing during urination. Utilizing the diaphragm allows the pelvic floor to relax, which will allow the bladder to do its job and empty.
7. Put your feet on a stool during urination and bowel movements.
Placing your feet on a stool allows the pelvic floor muscles to relax fully, tips the bladder forward, and increases the pub0-rectal angle allowing for easier emptying of urine and feces.
8. Always look at your pee and poo!
The color of your urine and the consistency of your stool (feces) is a direct indication of your hydration and health. Normal color is pale yellow urine and Type 4 stool on the Bristol Stool Chart.