WHAT IS OVERACTIVE BLADDER?
The bladder is a muscle which contracts to empty the bladder when it is full and you are ready to empty. An overactive bladder means the bladder contracts before it is full. It can sometimes contract when you are not ready. You might go to the toilet often and find it hard to hold on until you get there. At times you may leak urine on the way to the toilet.
|Time||Amount passed||How strong was the urge to go?|
How do I measure the amount of urine passed?
Put a container (like an ice cream container) in the toilet. Now sit on the toilet and relax with your feet on the floor. Pass urine into the container. Then tip the urine into a jug to measure it. Men may want to stand and pass urine directly into a measuring jug.
How do I measure urgency?
I felt no need to empty.
I emptied for other reasons.
I could put it off as long as needed.
I had no fear of wetting myself.
I could put it off for a short time.
I had no fear of wetting myself.
I could not put it off.
I had to rush to the toilet.
I had fear I would wet myself.
I leaked before I got to the toilet.
How do I measure leaking using a Pad Weight Test?
This test helps to work out how much urine you leak over a few days. To do this test you will need some accurate scales for weighing. You do this test by:
1. Weighing a dry pad in a plastic bag before you wear the pad
2. Then weighing the wet pad in a plastic bag after you wear it
3. Taking the weight of the dry pad away from the weight of the wet pad.
This will show how much you have leaked because each gram equals one ml.
This will show much you have leaked because each gram equals one ml.
Amount leaked = 250mls
WHO CAN HELP WITH YOUR BLADDER TRAINING PROGRAM?
A doctor, continence nurse advisor or continence physiotherapist can get the best results for you. They will work out a program to suit you.
The National Continence Helpline 1800 33 00 66 can help you find your local continence clinic.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?
Most bladder training programs take about three months. You may have regular meetings with your continence nurse advisor or continence physiotherapist. They will teach you ways to hold on for longer. This will mean you can hold more urine in your bladder.
SOME HELPFUL THINGS YOU WILL LEARN DURING BLADDER TRAINING
Pelvic floor muscle training
The continence physiotherapist or continence nurse advisor will teach you how to use your pelvic floor muscles. These muscles support your bladder and urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside. Strong pelvic floor muscles help to hold back the strong urge to pass urine. This will help you hold on until you reach the toilet.
Good bladder habits
Drink fluid every day. Fluid is everything you drink. Fluid includes milk, juice and soup. The best fluid to drink is water. You need to keep track of how much you drink each day. To do this, you will need to know how much your cup or mug holds. Cups can hold from 120 to 180mls whereas mugs can hold 280 to 300mls or more.
Avoid drinking fizzy drinks or drinks with caffeine. These can upset the bladder and make it harder for you to hold on. There is some caffeine in chocolate, tea and coffee. There is more caffeine in cola and sports drinks. It is best to avoid drinking these.
You will learn which drinks to choose so your bladder will not be upset.
Good bowel habits
You will also learn how constipation and straining to pass a bowel motion can stretch your pelvic floor muscles. Avoid constipation as this also causes poor bladder control. Eat at least two pieces of fruit and five serves of vegetables daily.
Will there be setbacks?
Do not be worried by small day to day changes in your bladder control. These are normal. Anyone on a bladder training program can have setbacks, when your symptoms may seem worse. This may happen when:
- you have a bladder infection (see your doctor right away)
- you are tired or run down
- you are worried or stressed
- the weather is wet, windy or cold
- you are ill (such as a cold, or a flu)
- you are a menstruating woman
If set-backs do happen, do not lose heart. Stay positive and keep trying.
You are not alone. Poor bladder and bowel control can be cured or better managed with the right treatment. If you do nothing, it might get worse. Phone expert advisors on the National Continence Helpline for free:
- information about local services.
1800 33 00 66* (8am–8pm Monday to Friday AEST)
To arrange for an interpreter through the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National), phone 13 14 50 Monday to Friday and ask for the National Continence Helpline. Information in other languages is also available from continence.org.au/other-languages