BACK TO THE OFFICE? HERE’S SOME HEALTHY BLADDER HABITS
The “end” of the pandemic has allowed many of us to settle into a normal routine again. For some, that means returning to the office. It’s been a while!
Working from home over the last two years has conditioned us to settle into a comfortable and predictable routine. But working in a new environment offers a new set of challenges: how will we manage to balance our meetings, respond to emails, scroll Instagram, eat enough food and drink water, while having constant interruptions from our co-workers?
For my pelvic health patients, the office can be a scary place... With pelvic floor dysfunction affecting 1/3 Canadian women, many will be asking questions like –
“Should I go pee before my next meeting, or can I hold it until after?”
“What if Chris goes off on a tangent again… will I be able to hold it an extra half hour?”
“I know my boss Joe is going to have me laughing with his dad jokes... am I going to pee myself?”
“I have 500 emails to respond to and I NEED a 3rd coffee… but is it worth me needing to pee every 20 minutes for the rest of the day?”
With the following simple bladder habits, we can set our pelvic floor muscles up for success to avoid unwanted symptoms like incontinence and urgency. These tips will allow individuals to avoid both stress and urge incontinence (peeing when you sneeze, cough, laugh, or REALLY just need to pee) and urgency (feeling like you need to pee all the time).
HERE WE GO:
- Stop peeing when you don’t have to.
This is really hard... and not always realistic. But convenience peeing makes our bladder confused about when it is actually supposed to notify you to pee! Don’t be the person that pees every time they walk by the office washroom. Only pee when you have the urge to pee. Listening to your body is the key to success here. If you are worried about leaking at work, and feel this is a risky thing to try out, start the habit at home and slowly implement into the workplace.
- SLOW DOWN in the bathroom.
Make sure you are completely emptying your bladder when you pee. Take an extra 10 seconds at the toilet after you have urinated to take a few breaths and assess if you have more urine in your bladder to void. A great time to inspect those Bumble matches. And remember to relax those muscles!
- Be careful with bladder irritants.
My patients hate me for this! But substances like coffee, tea, (even decaffeinated), sparkling water (can we blame Michael Buble for this?), pop, juice and citrus fruits (lemon water) irritate our bladder lining and lead to A LOT of peeing throughout the day. You don’t have to eliminate these substances from your diet completely, but reducing the volume or number of substances you have per day can make a big difference. I usually tell patients to start with a 25% reduction daily and see if you can notice results! Keep in mind - the *gold standard* of urination frequency is 1 pee every 3-4 hours. If you are peeing more than once every 2 hours - some changes to your bladder should really help.
- Drink more water.
The more concentrated your urine is, the more you will need to pee. DILUTING our urine with water will actually make us pee less, even if you are drinking more water. Avoid the bladder irritants, and replace them with plain water (no sparkling water, no artificial sweeteners). If your urine is dark and/or stinky - start chugging the H20!
- Check your desk set-up
Sitting with good posture is super important to set your pelvic floor up for success. The pelvic floor muscles get to be lazy when you are slouching or leaning back to far. Follow these simple tips:
- Adjust your computer so that the top of the monitor is eye level
- Ensure your feet are resting on the floor
- Elbows should be bent at 90 degrees when typing
- Ensure you are close enough to your computer to avoid a “chin poke” position. Using a lumbar roll for support behind the small of your back can make this easier.
These tips are a good start for developing positive bladder habits and keeping your pelvic floor muscles healthy!
Remember, if you are having any pelvic floor symptoms including leakage or urgency, an assessment with a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist is recommended. In addition to education and advice, your Pelvic Floor Physio will set you up with an individualized treatment plan after conducting a thorough, personalised assessment.
Jenna graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor's degree in Kinesiology in 2014. She then went on to complete her Masters in Physiotherapy in 2016 from Glasgow Caledonian University. During her education, Jenna gained valuable knowledge and practical experience working with patients suffering from pelvic floor dysfunction. She worked on the maternity ward directly with new moms and taught pre- and post-natal pelvic health seminars. Jenna completed her thesis on 'The Effectiveness of Pelvic Floor Muscle Training for the treatment of Urinary Incontinence in Post-natal Women'. This research led her to pursue a specialty in Women's health to treat patients with incontinence, diastasis recti, pelvic organ prolapse, overactive bladder, lumbopelvic pain and dyspareunia. In addition, Jenna has a passion for treating all musculoskeletal injuries and is certified in Functional Dry Needling and Spinal Manipulation. In her spare time, Jenna enjoys travelling, hiking, playing badminton, pickleball and soccer!
You can book online with Jenna at our Westbrook location.