Do you feel like you constantly going to the washroom?
Do you have to get up in the night to urinate?
Is running to the bathroom running your life?
You could have an “overactive bladder”.
What’s normal with regards to to urination:
- Urinating 6-8 times a day.
- Getting up to pee once in the night IF over the age of 55.
- Each urination should take about 8-10 seconds (depending on flow).
- Urine should be light yellow in colour.
If you are feeling urgency and having to urinate many times a day (more that 8 times) there is likely some degree of dysfunction in bladder emptying.
The bladder is a muscular organ that can hold 300-600ml of fluid.
Here are some factors that influence bladder emptying:
Central Nervous System:
- If we are stressed, our sympathetic nervous system is engaged, and our bladder is unable to empty completely.
- To empty, the bladder contracts (under the influence of our parasympathetic nervous system) while the pelvic floor muscles and urethral sphincters are voluntarily relaxed.
Pelvic Floor Muscle Dysfunction:
- The organs in our pelvis, including our bladder, are supported by muscles which make up our pelvic floor.
- If pelvic floor muscles are tense, and unable to relax, you will not able to empty your bladder as effectively.
- Pelvic Floor muscles must be relaxed to empty.
- “Just in case” urination can worsen frequency of urination and cause pelvic floor dysfunction
- Are you someone who tries to urinate before leaving the house or at other times when you don’t actually have the urge “just in case” you’ll get the urge to urinate later?
- This can be problematic because is decreases the communication between the bladder and the pelvic floor.
- When we try to “push” urine out of a bladder that isn’t full we increasing the risk for urinary incontinence, prolapse and overactive bladder.
- Remember – no pushing or straining is necessary when urinating.
Compounds in certain foods and beverages can irritate the bladder causing increased urgency and frequency of urination.
These irritants include:
- Artificial sweeteners
- Carbonated beverages
- Spicy food
- Red dye
- Citrus fruits
If you have an overactive bladder, reducing irritants is a great first step improving symptoms.
For further assessment and treatment, see a naturopathic doctor.