Improving Urinary Urgency and Frequency

Improving Urinary Urgency and Frequency

Many people experience bladder issues at some point of their lives. Urinary frequency and urinary urgency are some of the most common issues reported.

What is urinary frequency?

Normal urinary intervals should be 2-3 hours. If you have to urinate more frequently than that, there is likely some form of bladder and/or pelvic floor dysfunction. Also, urinating more than one time per night is considered nocturia, which is frequent urination at night.

What is urinary urgency?

Urinary urgency is getting a significant urge to urinate immediately, and feeling like you cannot hold the urine for long. Both urinary frequency and urgency can be very overwhelming. When we need to go grocery shopping, work for a prolonged period without being able to rush to the bathroom, or take an exercise class, we don’t want to be worried about having to urinate in the middle of our task.

Some tips to improve urinary frequency/urgency are:

  1. See a pelvic floor physical therapist to find the root cause of the issue. Sometimes, we get the urgency and frequency due to pelvic floor muscle tightness or decreased coordination in our muscles. A pelvic floor PT can help you with this!

  2. Initiate bladder training. Your pelvic floor physical therapist will instruct you in how to train your bladder to decrease the frequency and urgency. The goal will be to start to train the bladder to be able to hold for small periods of time at a time once you get the urge to go.

  3. Do not “just in case” pee. A lot of us will use the bathroom right before a shopping trip, or before an exercise class because we don’t want to be interrupted during our task or we don’t want to use a public bathroom. Although these are valid concerns, if we “just in case” pee, we are telling our bladder to release urine when we really don’t have to, which will make us more sensitive to signals, increasing urinary frequency.

  4. Manage bladder irritants. Bladder irritants are caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, sodas, dietary sweeteners, and spicy foods. These can make urinary frequency/urgency worst. If you are going to have a bladder irritant, make sure you drink a glass of water first to flush out the irritation.

  5. Stay hydrated. Many of us try to avoid drinking water during a road trip or during the day to avoid using the bathroom. However, dehydration irritates our bladder more! The recommendation is to drink ½ of your body weight in fluid ounces of water per day.

Dr. Krisia Gattas, PT, DPT