Do you suffer from urge incontinence?
If you do, you’ll know the panic and discomfort that bladder urgency can cause.
These key steps help you better manage urge incontinence by knowing the steps to follow when urgency strikes.
Read on below for:
- What causes urinary urgency?
- Key steps to avoid urge urinary incontinence
- More practical techniques to avoid urge incontinence
- How to practice urge control
What Causes Urinary Urgency?
Urinary urgency is often caused by the bladder muscle contracting strongly (often for no apparent reason).
Strong bladder contractions can cause sudden bladder leakage (urge incontinence).
Key Steps To Avoid Urge Incontinence
Follow these 8 steps to reduce your risk of bladder leakage when bladder urgency strikes.
Step 1 – Try not to panic
When you panic your body produces the hormone adrenalin which increases bladder contractions making urgency worse.
Step 2 – Contract your pelvic floor
The moment you sense the urge contract your pelvic floor muscles strongly. Contracting your pelvic floor muscles may help your bladder relax and stop bladder leakage.
Step 3 – Sit down
Sitting increases pressure against the pelvic floor. Find a firm surface to sit down on.
Step 4 – Breathe normally
Avoid holding your breath which makes urgency worse. Try to relax your breathing and breathe normally.
Step 5 – Repeat your pelvic floor contractions
Repeat your pelvic floor contractions every time you feel the urge.
Step 6 – Wait for the urge to pass
Urgency passes when your bladder muscle will usually relaxes. This may take a number of repeated pelvic floor contractions. Wait until the intense urge passes before moving to the bathroom.
If the urge stops you may try to wait a little longer before emptying your bladder.
Step 6 – Walk don’t run
It’s much more difficult to control your bladder if you’re running or walking very quickly. If you need to urgently empty your bladder try to walk in a controlled manner to reduce the risk of bladder leakage.
Step 7 – Count your steps
Count your steps while walking to the bathroom is a great form of distraction. If you focus on your urgency you’ll be more likely to experience urge incontinence.
Step 8 – Try not to look at the toilet
Looking at the toilet can actually trigger strong bladder contractions in some women. If this affects you, back yourself up towards the toilet rather than looking at it.
More Practical Techniques to Avoid Urge Incontinence
Here are some other practical methods to control your bladder:
- Toe curling – If you’re sitting down try curling your toes under with the urge.
- Bending forwards – If you’re caught out bu sudden urgency while shopping, try bending forwards as if looking closely at an item on a low shelf.
- Sacral tapping – The sacrum is the bone below your lower back. Try firmly tapping your sacrum when you sense the onset of bladder urgency.
- Perineal pressure – If no one’s around apply pressure over your outer briefs to your outer vagina. Pressure against the clitoris and/or perinuem can sometimes help to defer the urge and avoid urge incontinence which is why young children instinctively do this to ‘hold on’.
How to Practice Urge Control
Using some of the urge control techniques described above takes practice – especially pelvic floor exercises with urgency.
Daily showering is a useful (and safe) opportunity to practice since getting into the shower can often trigger urgency and urge incontinence.
Practice getting into the shower without emptying your bladder as you contract your pelvic floor muscles.
Key Points for Avoiding Urge Incontinence
The key to overcoming urge incontinence is to act when you first sense the onset or bladder urgency, otherwise it’s often too late.
- Stay relaxed
- Breathe normally
- Contract your pelvic floor muscles strongly
- Walk to the bathroom never run
Use those additional urge control strategies listed above that help you. Everyone’s different – some women find that one or a couple of the techniques listed above can improve bladder control.
If you need more help, speak with your doctor or see a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist for pelvic floor exercises and bladder control training to overcome urge incontinence.