What’s considered “normal” when it comes to bladder health and urination? The following is some basic information I use to screen people for possible bladder dysfunction and help them better identify the habits that may be contributing to their urinary symptoms. It’s important to remember there is no exact set of normal bladder habits, but if you find yourself relating to a few of these points and that they interfere with your daily routine, you may benefit from a pelvic floor physical therapy consultation.
Urinating every 3-4 hours. (Urinating more frequently than that isn’t necessarily a sign of something wrong, but if you commonly urinate every hour or only every 6 hours you may benefit from changing your fluid intake and other habits to positively impact your pelvic floor health. Physical therapy can also help with urinary urgency and urge related leaking.)
Urinating on average 5-8x in 24 hours. (Again, going a lot less or more than this range may indicate poor bladder habits.)
Avoid “just in case” peeing. (Every once in a while is probably fine, but if you always have to pee before getting in the car or showering, you could be training your bladder to feel the urge at those times even when you don’t need to empty your bladder. In physical therapy we can teach you easy tools to change your body’s habit.)
Urinating for < 8 seconds. (Again, a few times is probably fine, but if you find yourself going to the restroom and urinating for just a few seconds it could indicate you have a difficult time emptying your bladder completely.)
Avoid “hovering” over the toilet seat. (Sitting down completely helps your pelvic floor muscles relax so you can empty your bladder.)
Avoid straining/pushing to empty your bladder.
Avoiding constipation. (Constipation is the number one cause of bed wetting in children and can have negative effects on bladder habits and incontinence for adults as well.)
Drink enough water. (A general rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight (in lbs) in ounces of water/day. For every 30 minute of exercise you do you want to add around 20 ounces of water to the total volume and listen to thirst cues.)
Avoid over consumption of bladder irritants: coffee, tea, caffeinated beverages, soda, carbonated beverages, alcohol, citrus, vinegar, spicy food, chocolate.
Urinate before/after sex.
Avoid pads/liners as it can irritate sensitive tissue.
If you or someone you know is experiencing signs of pelvic floor dysfunction such as urinary frequency or urgency, please contact us or schedule an appointment with one of our pelvic floor specialists at MEND.