Originally posted on Pelvic Guru ™:
Parents can relate to the fact that we spend a lot of time potty training children. However, that’s likely the only time we experience “toilet talk”. When I provide basic bowel and bladder tips to my adult patients, I am always surprised when they say “why didn’t anyone tell me that?”. So, here’s a list of of some of the best tips that every person should know about toilet talk.
- Don’t force your children to go to the bathroom “just in case” or just out of convenience too often. This presents two challenges: 1. The bladder and nervous system are very sensitive. If your child goes to the toilet without an urge regularly, the bladder will become sensitive to that threshold; and they will feel the urge to go more often. 2. This behavior is easily carried with them into adult years with potentially unnecessary episodes of urinary urge, frequency, and hassle. * There are obviously times when the decision to use the toilet early is advisable.
- Did you know that the average healthy adult should be able to wait 2-4 hours to urinate? Can you wait that long? The most common thing I hear “but you don’t understand, MY bladder is so small. I have to go every 30 minutes…”. Generally, there are easy ways to train your bladder to wait longer. As indicated in the prior point, you may have had habits for many years that predisposed you to believe your bladder was small and unruly. Remember, don’t go to the bathroom just in case (NO JICs). Your bladder is constantly storing urine. So, if you go early, you will likely urinate, but this does not mean it was time to go yet.
- Urinate when you wake up in the morning. Your bladder needs to get “flushed” out. The rule of waiting 2-3 hours to urinate does not apply here.
- Don’t sit on the toilet for greater than 10-15 minutes at a time. This increases risk for hemorrhoids, worsening of pelvic organ prolapse, and more pelvic floor issues! On a related note, NO STRAINING with bowel movements. When you strain, there’s a significant amount of pressure placed on the pelvic floor and surrounding structures. So, sitting for greater than 10-15 minutes + straining = unhappy and unhealthy pelvic floor.
- Women- remember to always wipe front to back (after urinating or having a bowel movement). This reduces the risk of introducing bacteria and other bad elements into the vagina and urethra.
- If you feel a bulge or a “golf ball” at/near your vagina or rectum or you need to use your hand to help with bowel movements, you possibly have some form of a pelvic organ prolapse. Other symptoms can include increased urinary or bowel urge, constipation, and a pressure feeling worst with standing up or straining. You can discuss this with your gynecologist, family physician, or pelvic physical therapist. You are NOT alone. This is common, but patients feel very embarrassed to share. But there is help for this.