Two weeks ago you were all "OMG I pee too much!" Or maybe you timed yourself and realized you're nowhere near the 8 second mark. And then you were like... wait now what.
Don't worry, I won't leave you hanging. Here's how you can work on increasing the length of time between pee breaks.
(Psst- if you're confused then read about the bathroom do's & don'ts first!)
A little review
You make about 15 drops of urine per minute. Once the bladder reaches ~150mL or 2/3 cup, it sends a casual "Hey, I'm starting to fill up a little bit here" message to the brain. This is your first urge to pee. As it continues to fill, these urges become more intense, and your bladder starts sending messages like teenage girls in a group chat about Taylor Swift.
If you have a strong urge, its been between 2-5 hours since you last went, and you're able to get to a bathroom- do it!
If you are going within that target range, then you don't need to increase the time.
Longer is NOT better.
These tips are for delaying the initial urges if you are someone who goes too frequently.
First, start a bladder diary
Hear me out! The best way to make a change is to know what to change. A bladder diary helps you to identify habits and patterns. Pelvic floor physical therapists use this tool frequently when working with patients who have incontinence, urgency, etc. If you are experiencing other symptoms such as painful sex or leaking, find a therapist near you.
You can go old school pen & paper, use a note app or this bladder diary template as your "diary". Jot down what time you pee, how many seconds it lasted, and what you drank before (including type of beverage and amount).
Do this for 3 days or up to a week if you want to be extra thorough.
The Quick Fix
In many cases, this will lead you to an obvious solution. Maybe you'll realize that you pee so frequently because you're drinking the equivalent of four Venti lattes at work... Remember, caffeine is a bladder irritant, which means it makes you produce more urine.
No, you don't need to cut out coffee forever. Without the almighty cup of joe, I believe the world would come to a screeching halt. So have the coffee, but try cutting back.
Protip: alternate sips of coffee with H20 to dilute the irritating effect of coffee on your bladder.
How to delay the urge
Stop Peeing For Routine
This goes back to finding trends from the bladder diary. In college I got into the habit of peeing before every exam or presentation. This probably started as a genuine urge once and soon just became something I "had to do."
This is a case of the brain creating urges instead of the bladder. It might be tough to resist the first few times, but stay strong.
You were once potty trained. You can be retrained!
Relax and Breathe
This is the polar opposite of what we typically do right? Your legs start bouncing like crazy and you try to think about anything other than waterfalls or leaky faucets. And then you become stressed about peeing!
Well it turns out that anxiety and nerves actually increase the urge. Take a couple of deep, slow breaths.
Mind Over Bladder
Your brain is the head honcho in this relationship and it can override urges. Try to stay busy.
Another tactic is to tell yourself you are going to wait. If you pee every hour on the hour, make it a conscious decision to wait an extra 5 to 10 minutes before you go. Or on a car ride you might think to yourself "I am going to wait 20 more minutes to reach my destination before I find a bathroom."
If all else fails, you can override the urge to pee by doing a kegel. A strong contraction of your pelvic floor muscles sends a signal to your spinal cord which overrides the urge that your bladder is trying to send to your brain.
Not sure how?
Sit down, place your hands under your butt and find your sit bones, then move your fingers in about an inch. Gently squeeze your pelvic floor muscles so that you feel a small "lifting" movement under your fingers. Hold for 5 seconds, relax, and take a couple deep breaths. The urge should be gone.
This is a subtle motion. If you're bouncing around on your hands then you are probably using other muscles.
I leave this tip for last because doing a kegel exercise without hands on instruction from a qualified professional is tough! Not to sound like a broken record but if you are struggling with peeing too frequently after trying some of these tips, head to a pelvic floor physical therapist!