Diet and Lifestyle
Kegel Exercises: Strengthen Pelvic Muscles that Support Your Bladder
Kegel exercises are an important part of maintaining a healthy pelvic floor. They strengthen the pelvic muscles that support your bladder. Strengthening this muscle group allows the urethra to close properly and keep in urine which helps to control stress urinary incontinence, as well as suppress urge in the overactive bladder.
|Weak pelvic muscles||Pelvic muscles strengthened with Kegel exercises|
|Pelvic muscle contractions are unable to completely constrict the urethra, which may allow urine to leak from the bladder||Pelvic muscle contractions are strong enough to completely close the urethra, thus urine is successfully held in the bladder|
Your Kegel questions answered
How do you know if you are working your pelvic muscles?
Because of where the pelvic muscles are situated, it is hard to assess whether or not you are working this muscle group correctly. As a result, you may find it beneficial to undergo biofeedback or electrical stimulation therapy to increase the effect of Kegel exercises.
What is biofeedback therapy?
Biofeedback therapy, where available, is a procedure typically performed by healthcare professionals in a hospital or clinic. The procedure requires that electrodes be placed either:
- Into the vagina of female patients
- Into the anus of male patients
- On the skin in the perineal area (the area between the anus and genital organs)
These electrodes, which are connected to a monitor, are able to read the activity of the pelvic muscles, while you perform Kegel exercises.
Initially, you will see a flat line on the monitor that represents the activity of the pelvic muscles when at rest and relaxed. When you begin to contract your pelvic muscles, the line will shift upwards, which indicates that the muscle is actively being contracted. By watching the monitor as you perform the Kegel exercises, you will begin to memorize the action that is required to correctly contract the pelvic muscles. You will now be able to determine if you are working this muscle group properly.
For more information on Kegel exercises, click here.
Fluids and OAB
Learn to identify which fluids may improve or worsen your OAB symptoms.
Everyone reacts differently to various fluids. Monitoring your fluid intake will allow you to identify which fluids improve or worsen your OAB symptoms.
Here are some examples.
|Bladder-friendly fluids:||Fluids to limit or avoid:|
It is important that you keep an accurate and up-to-date bladder diary when monitoring your fluid intake. Click here to download the Powder Room bladder diary.
You don’t have to avoid fluids!
If you have been diagnosed with OAB, you should not reduce the amount of fluids you drink to avoid going to the bathroom. Instead you can try to manage symptoms by drinking a minimum of 5-6 cups of only bladder-friendly fluids per day and avoid consuming fluids later in the evening. It is especially important to reduce fluid intake after 6 p.m., especially if you suffer from nocturiaNocturia
Waking at night one or more times to go to the bathroom. Don't try to make up for fluid intake missed during the day, by drinking a lot at night. And of course, always remember to drink enough to stay hydrated and healthy.
In addition, you may want to try to avoid consuming a large volume of fluids at any one time. Doing so may overwhelm the bladder and hinder its ability to hold urine.
You should try to limit your consumption of caffeinated products because caffeine causes the kidneys to increase the production of urine. This causes the bladder to fill up more quickly, which increases urination frequency. Similar to caffeine, alcohol causes the kidneys to produce more urine, which consequently may worsen your OAB symptoms.
Other behavioural therapies to help you manage your OAB symptoms include:
Scheduled toileting / Prompted voiding
- Going to the bathroom at specific time periods to minimize the sudden and sometimes uncomfotable need to urinate.
- For example, if you normally experience urgency episodes every three hours, you should urinate every two hours.
- Involves scheduled toileting/ prompted voiding, where the length of time between bathroom trips is gradually increased.
- This therapy trains your bladder to delay urinating for longer time intervals.
For each of these therapies, it is recommended that you receive counselling from a specialized healthcare professional.
Similar with managing your fluid intake, scheduled toileting and bladder retraining techniques are most effective in improving your OAB symptoms when you consistently and accurately document each time you have to go to the bathroom in your bladder diary.
Click here to download the Powder Room bladder diary.
Travelling with OAB
Where is the Powder Room? The Powder Room Wallet Card is the essential travel companion.
A unique and handy resource for anyone who travels, this card explains how to ask for the “powder room” in nine different languages! Click here to download the Powder Room wallet card.
Learn how to ask for the Powder Room in another language
|Where is the Powder Room?||Sounds Like|
|Spanish||¿Dónde está el baño?||Dohndeh ehstah el bahn’yoh?|
|French||Où sont les toilettes?||Oo sohn lay twalet?|
|Italian||Dov'è il bagno?||Doe’veh eel bahn’yoh?|
|Polish||Gdzie jest toaleta?||Gdje yehst twalettah?|
|German||Wo ist die Toilette?||Vo ist dee twalettah?|
|Japanese||Senmenjo wa dokodesuka?|
|Hindi||Washroom kidher hei?|
|Mandarin||Qing wen xishoujian zai na li?|
|Russian||Где – туалет ?||ged-yeh tua–leaht?|
|Farsi||دستشويى کجا است||Dast shoe-ey koojah ast ?|
|Tagalog||Saan ang comfort room?||Sah'ahn ahng comfort room?|
|Greek||Pou ine i toualetes?||Pou eneh e twa-le-tes?|