Bladder Retraining

Sometimes the desire to go to pass urine too frequently can be due to the bladder becoming overactive or oversensitive. Although it is a normal size and capable of holding normal amounts of urine it gives you the feeling that it is full when really it is not.

Bladder retraining aims to slowly increase the amount of urine you can hold in your bladder so that you don't need to go to the toilet as often.

The bladder can be retrained by lengthening the times between visits to the toilet. It takes perseverance.

Stage 1

Identify how long you can comfortably wait between visits to the toilet (e.g. 1 hour). For the next week go to the toilet to pass water regularly by the clock with no less than your individual time interval between each visit e.g. if your initial interval was 1 hour - then go to pass water every hour. Be strict with yourself and do not vary from this pattern. You may need a "holing on" strategy - see below.

Stage 2 (one week later)

Now try to increase the interval between visits to the toilet by 15 minutes. Continue to be strict with yourself.

Stage 3 (another week later)

Increase the intervals by another 15 minutes.

Continue to increase the intervals by 15 minutes each week. After approximately 6 weeks you should have increased the interval between visits by about 1 hour 30 minutes. It is important to stick to this routine.

Delaying tactics

The symptoms of urgency are made worse by anxiety so try to keep calm. When trying to "hold on" -

  1. Keep still
  2. Immediately tighten up your pelvic floor muscles. Pull up the muscles around your back passage (as if trying to stop passing wind) and at the same time around your front passage (as if trying to stop passing water).
  3. Press firmly between your legs with your hands or sit on something firm (e.g. a rolled towel or the edge of a chair).
  4. If standing, cross your legs.
  5. Breathe slowly and steadily.
  6. Think of something to divert you attention away from your bladder (e.g. counting backwards from 100, shopping lists etc.).

In a few seconds, the urge to pass urine will ease.

DO NOT reduce your fluid intake. You should drink about 1500 - 200 mls per day (about 7 - 7 mugs). Avoid or reduce your intake of drinks containing caffeine i.e. coffee, tea, coke, chocolate. These may make your symptoms worse.