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The Do's and Don'ts of Urge Control

March 20, 2017 | Mary South, MD, MHA


Education is key in caring for our bodies. Sometimes what we think is the best thing to do for our bodies is really the worst thing we could do…a small amount of reliable information can go a long way.

I remember trying to lose weight after having one of my kids and eating a low-fat diet. I used to eat Twizzlers like they were going out of style because they were “fat free”. The recommendations now? High fat, high protein, low carb and no sugar. My high-sugar, non-fat Twizzlers were clearly sabotaging my plans to lose weight!

I see similar behaviors in my patients. Many women, in their best efforts to control their bladder urges, simply do the opposite of what they should.

Here are a couple of the do’s and don’ts when it comes to urge control.

Voiding Frequency

  • What NOT to do: In order to prevent an accident, I go to the bathroom whenever I get the chance or see one, even if I don’t feel the urge to go.
  • What TO DO: Space trips to the bathroom by 3-4 hours rather than going whenever you see the bathroom. Frequent trips to the bathroom will actually decrease your functional bladder capacity. Your bladder will “expect” to go more often and a vicious cycle ensues.

When the Urge Strikes

  • What NOT to do: I race to the bathroom as fast as I can when I feel an urge in order to prevent an embarrassing leakage episode.
  • What TO DO: When you feel a sudden urge, the best way to control that urge is to stop whatever you are doing and squeeze your Kegel muscles. You will never beat your bladder to the bathroom. Squeezing the Kegel muscles sends a signal to your spinal cord that is then relayed to your bladder muscle causing it to relax. This should buy you about ten minutes to walk calmly to the bathroom before another urge hits. The key is making sure your Kegel muscles are strong enough, so regular exercise is important!

Keep reading our blogs for other helpful tips for a healthy pelvic floor!

Find more articles on Bladder Problems, Kegels, Overactive Bladder, Pelvic Floor Solutions