Traveling for the Holidays this year? Anxious about sitting in traffic or on an airplane as you are unsure when your pesky bladder is going to “give you the signal” . Or. . .. wondering if your bladder is going to interrupt the moment when your child or loved one is going to open the present you KNOW they will love . . . and then you have to put EVERYTHING on hold until you run to the bathroom?
This is a reality for many women. The symptom is known as bladder urgency and can stem from overactive bladder. The great news is that you can effectively DELAY that urge and feel confident doing this until you can get yourself to the bathroom at a more convenient time for you. Even better news is that you don’t have to exercise for weeks before you start to notice a difference in your symptoms . . .. you can actually quiet that bladder spasm effectively starting right now!!
Some of you may be thinking: “I know, I know . . . kegels right?” and my answer is . . . . “sort of”. You see, many women when they have the urge to go will do a kegel and try to “hold back the urine” to prevent bladder leakage. However, when you do a kegel to prevent this from happening, your pelvic floor muscles become fatigued and they can no longer do their job of holding back the urine and you end up with leakage on the way to the bathroom or as soon as you start to pull down your pants.
INSTEAD – the strategy should be 5 kegels in a row to send an “SOS” signal to the bladder to stop the bladder spasm. Once the spasm is stopped (within just a few seconds of the 5 quick kegels) – then you can successfully make it to the bathroom on time. This bladder “quieting” technique buys you more time to make it to the bathroom. If the urge “strikes” as you get closer to the bathroom – stop – and do 5 more quick kegels to regain control and then proceed on your journey to the bathroom.
You want to be sure you are lifting your pelvic floor muscles (imagine “winking” down there or “sucking up on a straw” with your vaginal muscles) and then completely letting go 5 times quickly. The timing of the quick kegels is key. If you go too fast or too slow – the bladder doesn’t realize you are trying to send it a signal to calm down. If you think of the song “We wish you a Merry Christmas” – the idea would be to Kegel on “Wish” and “Happy” and relax in between. . . Ready.. “We WISH you a Merry Christmas, We WISH you a Merry Christmas, We WISH you a Merry Christmas, and a HAPPY new year” and then do one more kegel and relax for a total of 5. Within just a few seconds – the bladder will be calm and you can continue along with enjoying the festivities of this Holiday Season. (Side note: alcohol and caffeine will intensify your bladder urgency and frequency . If you are wanting to enjoy opening presents in the morning with bladder peace – maybe wait until after the presents are opened before having your coffee).
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!