9 Bladder Control Tips for Women

January 04,2022 |
Woman laughing and drinking water.

Both men and women suffer from bladder problems, but women are disproportionately affected. Urinary incontinence is one of the most common problems in women and it can occur at any age. Pregnancy, changing hormones, and anatomical differences are some of the biggest causes of bladder control issues in women, but they can be treated and managed. While you might be nervous to bring up any problems with your doctor, doing so will allow you to formulate the right treatment plan. Luckily, most treatment plans are non-invasive and only require small changes to your lifestyle habits. To help you get started, here are nine bladder control tips for women.


  1. Incorporate Pelvic Floor Exercises

    Pelvic floor exercises are one of the best bladder control workouts for women as they can help improve support of the bladder and reduce accidents or incontinence. One of the most popular pelvic floor exercises are Kegels. To perform a Kegel, you’ll need to squeeze your pelvic floor muscles. This is the same contraction you’d perform if you were to stop your stream of urine while going to the bathroom. Hold the contraction for about three seconds and then relax for three seconds. Repeat this process about 10 to 15 times and then rest. Try to do about three sets of 10 to 15 each day.

    If you’re not sure that you’re performing Kegels correctly, consider working with a physical therapist who is trained to help you with biofeedback. Biofeedback involves placing sensors near the muscles to highlight exertion levels and send them to a computer for analysis. This is an immediate process, which allows you to make adjustments and learn how to activate the correct muscles. There are also options for biofeedback tools that you can use at home.

    Thanks to ongoing developments in these types of issues, women also have the option of using vaginal weights to increase the intensity of Kegel exercises. This involves inserting a special, cone-shaped weight into the vagina and contracting your pelvic floor muscles to keep it in place. You can build up intensity and strength with increasingly heavy weights, which can help you improve bladder control substantially.


  2. Control Liquid Input

    Drinking an excessive amount of liquids means that your bladder will need to be emptied more frequently. However, that doesn’t mean that you should restrict yourself. Dehydration can increase the concentration of your urine, which can irritate your bladder and intensify symptoms of urgency or frequency. Hydration is just as important as avoiding excessive liquid intake, so try to pay attention to your body and maintain a steady intake throughout the day.

    When you drink a high volume of liquids too quickly, your bladder gets overwhelmed and can increase urgency. Instead, try to use a system that allows you to track your liquid intake and provides you with reminders throughout the day. Aim to drink about 16 ounces of water at each meal and 8 ounces between meals. You can use a water bottle with time markers written on the side or a helpful hydration app on your phone. As the day gets later, try to slowly decrease the amount you’re drinking to avoid problems with nocturia. However, if you’re thirsty don’t completely restrict yourself from liquids. Your body needs to stay hydrated to function its best.


  3. Utilize a Bathroom Schedule

    Creating and utilizing a bathroom schedule is a part of bladder training, which can help you improve control of your bladder over time. This includes using the bathroom at predetermined intervals, even if you don’t feel like you need to go. This works by creating timed intervals where you use the bathroom, then gradually working to increase the time between urination. This is not a quick fix, but it will help you change your habits to control your bladder in a more effective way.

    To begin, you’ll want to get a strong understanding of your current bathroom habits and schedules. Take a few days and record every time you use the bathroom. You don’t have to include a lot of detail but recording the time you went is essential. This can help you get a baseline understanding of the amount of time that you usually wait between using the bathroom. From this information, you’ll create a bathroom schedule. Your doctor can help you create your first bathroom schedule if needed, but you’ll want to try and extend the schedule you usually follow by about 10 to 15 minutes to make an impact. The goal is to extend time between urination to two to four hours. After achieving this, continue to stick to your schedule to solidify these new habits and strengthen bladder control.


  4. Consider a Wearable Device

    There are a few different types of wearable devices that can be utilized in women to help improve bladder control. Vaginal pessaries are one option for a wearable device. These are flexible, silicone-based products that can be inserted into the vagina and worn to help reduce or eliminate stress incontinence. Vaginal pessaries are meant to be worn for about a week or two before being cleaned and reinserted. One vaginal pessary lasts for about three to six months and then needs to be changed. Other therapies include an implantable sacral neuromodulation device, and some doctors even recommend using intermittent tampon insertion to avoid leaks during activities like running.


  5. Manage Weight

    The more you weigh, the more pressure and stress your bladder is under throughout the day. Several studies indicate that weight loss is particularly effective in reducing stress incontinence, which can drastically improve a woman’s quality of life. Even losing just a few pounds can help improve bladder control. Try to make changes to your diet so you’re eating more whole fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Not only will this help you manage your weight and improve bladder control, but you’ll also reap the health benefits with improved organ function, longevity, and a stronger immune system. Pair a healthy diet with regular exercise to get the most out of your efforts.


  6. Seek Help

    Some women don’t seek professional help or treatment because they’re embarrassed. Bladder control issues are extremely common and nothing to be ashamed of. With the proper diagnosis and treatment plan, you can alleviate your symptoms and live a long, healthy life. Remember, bladder problems are treatable and often originate from a deeper problem or even infection. By visiting a urologist, you’ll get a better idea of what’s going on so you can get things taken care of quickly and easily.


  7. Eliminate Bladder Irritants

    Another way to improve bladder control is to identify foods and beverages that are irritating your bladder and eliminate them from your diet. Some common bladder irritants include spicy foods, citrus fruits, apples, tomatoes, coffee, caffeinated tea, alcohol, and bananas. Smoking cigarettes is also extremely irritating to your bladder and can cause an array of problems within your urologic system and beyond. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about possible cessation tools to help you quit for good.


  8. Avoid Artificial Sweeteners

    Artificial sweeteners are a bladder irritant that often go overlooked. This is especially true with sodium saccharine, acesulfame K, and aspartame. These can cause increased problems with urgency and frequency as they often act as a diuretic. Instead of using artificial sweeteners, try to increase the sweetness of foods with honey, pure maple syrup, or fruits. If you’re going to use artificial sweeteners, stick to stevia-sweetened products as they don’t seem to cause bladder irritation. 


  9. Discuss Surgical Options

If the above ways to treat urinary incontinence in women without surgery fail, there are still options that you can discuss with your doctor. Surgery is more commonly used for women who have experienced pelvic organ prolapse, as it can address both issues at once. Some different surgical options include sling surgery, vaginal mesh surgery, artificial urinary sphincters, and more. However, surgery for bladder control carries certain risks. Always discuss your unique situation with your doctor to get a better idea of the risks and benefits of undergoing surgery.

There are several different ways that women can improve the control of their bladder. For additional support, Byram Healthcare offers a range of urology supplies and educational material to keep you informed about the latest product innovations. We carry one of the largest urologic catheter selections from all top manufacturers. Get started today by browsing our urology product catalog and learn more about the importance of maintaining good urologic health.