Kidney and bladder health is important regardless of your age, life experience, or gender identity. It can often be embarrassing to discuss with your health care professionals, but it is essential to recognize when there is an issue and address it as quickly as possible. Kidney or bladder pain, excessive urgency to empty your bladder and pain while urinating are just a few indicators of potential kidney or bladder or pelvic floor muscle dysfunction. Here are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind:
Don’t go pee “just in case” when you don’t actually have to go!! - If you “just in case pee” before you leave the house, for example, over time it can reduce your body’s threshold for telling you that your bladder is full, resulting in more and more frequent “I need to pee” sensations. Check out this post https://www.instagram.com/p/CRbb0asjL0b/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link from @thepelvichealthladies on instagram for a full explanation of how this works. In general, you should be able to go a minimum of two hours between bathroom breaks and most healthy bladders should be able to wait 3-4 hours comfortably.
Drink enough fluids throughout each day. What is “enough” will vary from person to person, and with your activity level, how much you are sweating and how much fluid is in the foods you consume. A good rule of thumb is that your pee should be light yellow in the toilet bowl (think lemonade colour), not dark yellow, orange or brown. This handy chart from the Hartfordshire Care Providers Association gives you a good idea of what you’re looking for. https://www.hcpa.info/guideline/staying-hydrated/. It is worth noting that some foods and vitamins can impact the colour of your pee without being an indication of poor hydration. Vitamines B and C can both result in bright yellow pee that has nothing to do with how much water you have consumed.
What you drink matters: Caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated drinks (including carbonated/sparkling water - looking at you fancy soda waters) can all irritate your bladder. If you are finding that you easily feel the urge to pee or that you have intermittent leakage, try keeping a diary of what you are consuming along with the frequency of the leakage. You may find that specific food and beverages coincide with leaking events.
Pelvic floor exercises can help with incontinence. If you are someone who leaks a little (or a lot) when you sneeze, jump or just at random, you are an excellent candidate for pelvic floor exercises. One of the most common ones you hear about is kegels or tightening and relaxing your pelvic floor consciously. What you should not be doing is trying to practice kegels while urinating, as stopping and starting the flow of urine while relieving yourself can actually disrupt the healthy communication between your brain and your bladder and result in increased dysfunction. Activcor has a more detailed explanation of the physiology here: https://www.activcore.com/blog/let-it-flow-how-to-kegel-why-stopping-the-flow-midstream-isnt-recommended As with any exercise program, pelvic floor exercise needs are unique to the individual and any program you try should be set up by a qualified health professional such as a physiotherapist who has specific pelvic health training. who can help you address your specific needs. There is no “one size fits all” set of exercises to beat leakage.