How to fully empty your bladder

tip two

Today’s article is the second installment in the FemFusion® Fitness Healthy Bladder Series! This is a follow-up to our first article, about the problems associated with “hovering” over the toilet seat to urinate. It’s a no-no! Click here to find out why.

toilet

How To Fully Empty Your Bladder

One of the main culprits behind urinary urgency and bladder control issues is the fact that many women do not fully empty their bladder when they use the restroom. There are many possible reasons for this. Here are just a few:

1) They “hover” above the toilet seat. As stated in this article, “hovering” can lead to incomplete bladder evacuation due to tense pelvic muscles.

2) They do kegels while urinating. At some point in the history of “kegeling,” word got out that a good time to do kegels is while urinating (spoiler alert… This is NOT TRUE!). The logic behind this theory is that you use your pelvic floor muscles to voluntarily stop the flow of urine, hence if you can stop the flow while urinating, you will know whether or not you can successfully contract and relax your pelvic floor muscles. Here’s the deal: it’s okay to try a kegel or two while you urinate in order to “check in” to see if you are doing kegels correctly (i.e. if you can stop and re-start the flow of urine). But this is not something you should do on a regular basis. Doing kegels regularly while urinating can lead to incomplete bladder evacuation, which can make your bladder feel like it’s always full. You might think your bladder is the size of an acorn… But really, it’s simply the fact that it’s never fully empty! To fully empty your bladder, practice your kegel exercises when you are OFF the toilet.

3) They rush. We, as women, are busy creatures. But we MUST allow ourselves 30-60 seconds to fully empty our bladders! Two negative things can happen when you rush the toileting process. First, you probably aren’t allowing all of the urine to release. Again, this leads to incomplete bladder evacuation and the feeling that you “always have to go.” Second, if you’re trying to release all of your urine, but doing so in a hurry, you’re probably STRAINING. This applies to urinating and to having a BM. Try your hardest to let things flow out naturally! When you strain (i.e. if you bear down to make yourself urinate more quickly or to make sure you’ve emptied your bladder all the way) it puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the pelvic organs and the pelvic floor. Frequent straining can lead to problems with prolapse and pelvic floor weakness, which often contribute to incontinence. We don’t want that! When you’re on the toilet, don’t worry about getting the deed done quickly. Take your time.

Here’s a tip if you feel like your bladder doesn’t fully empty without a little “push” from you: rather than pushing, try rocking your pelvis back and forth slowly. This tips your bladder back and forth and uses gravity to help siphon out every last drop.

Summing It Up

The next time you use the restroom, sit comfortably on the toilet (no hovering!) with your legs relaxed and knees comfortably apart (not pressed together!). Do not do your kegel exercises right now. Take your time and allow the urine to come out naturally, without pushing or straining. When you think you’re done, rock your pelvis forward and wait a second. A little more might dribble out. Then rock your pelvis back and wait a second. A little more might come. Keep rocking forward and back SLOWLY until you don’t notice any more dribbling. Your bladder is now fully empty, and you didn’t have to push to make it so! This trick has helped many of my patients (and myself)… Give it a whirl.

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3 Comments

  • Reply September 25, 2013

    Alice

    Really! I know I did a few things wrong! Mainly push to get it over with. So nurses and teacher must all learn how to urinate right!

    • Reply September 25, 2013

      Brianne

      It’s SO common for women to push to move things along! Nurses, teachers, and moms are all “guilty” of it since we tend to feel rushed by the needs of others.

      But — if you put it into perspective — taking a few extra seconds to pee isn’t a big deal… Other people can wait a few extra moments so that we can take care of our bladder and pelvic health!

      Thanks for reading, Alice — I love hearing from you. :)

  • Reply October 6, 2013

    Lilly M. Pollard

    In women, the urinary bladder rests in front of the vagina, suspended above the urethra by ligaments and held in place by pelvic muscles. Weakness of the support structures of the female urinary bladder due to pregnancy, childbirth, obesity or prior pelvic surgery can lead to drooping of the bladder into the vagina. This condition, termed cystocele, can cause incomplete bladder emptying, as the bladder is no longer properly aligned over the urethra. The degree of urinary retention correlates with the severity of the cystocele. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises that pelvic floor exercises, or Kegel exercises, may strengthen the muscles sufficiently to correct small cytoceles. A pessary, a vaginal device similar to a contraceptive diaphragm, can also be used to hold the bladder in place. Large cystoceles that bulge through the vaginal entrance typically require corrective surgery.

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