Summer is here, the kids are deep into their out-of-school mode, and it’s time for some good outdoors family time! If you plan to go hiking, or otherwise spend much time outdoors, you know not to set out for the day without at least 1 liter of water per person per 2 hours in the heat of the day. Does that sound like a lot of water to you?
True, this really is more water than many women are drinking, from my experience. The common reason given for being conservative with drinking water, is that they know that when they drink, they’ll have to stop to relieve their bladder quite soon, and may need to cut the hike short. These women who are so good at planning ahead, don’t want to be bothered with restroom breaks, trouble anyone else in their party, or risk the embarrassment of bladder leaks.
If this sounds like you (or someone you care about) please realize what this means: That urinary urgency and frequency, and fear of not being able to control a full bladder, is nothing to brush off as “not a big deal,” or even “a normal part of” motherhood, womanhood, or of aging. Whether a minor annoyance, or a major part of how you plan your day, limiting your water intake due bladder control trouble is either preventing you from being as active as you would like, or worse, causing you to run the risk of dehydration and even heat exhaustion while out in the summer sun.
More, when you don’t drink enough fluids for the activity that you’re doing, your urine becomes more concentrated. So what seemed like a logical thing to do if you want to avoid needing a restroom, can in turn increase the feeling of bladder urgency, or even make a painful urinary tract infection (UTI), or bladder infection, more likely.
The whole situation may sound like you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. It is enough to make you just give up and stay indoors. So, what should you do in order to stay as active as you’d like and enjoy time with the kids during the Summer break?
Here is what you should know about normal bladder function: What’s normal, is to urinate every 2 to 4 hours during the day, easily releasing at least 8 ounces of very light colored urine each time - for most people that’s at least a 10-second long pee - and not getting up at night at all to urinate, if you are younger than about 70 years old. If any of this is not true for you, and you don't have any infection going on, then you are witnessing the effects of either habits that have crept in over the years, and/or trouble with your bladder, pelvic floor muscles, or pelvic nerves. The good news is, this is all highly treatable! If you urinate frequently in small amounts in order to prevent episodes where you may leak urine, you may have a problem that a pelvic health physical therapist is perfectly suited to help you solve. If this has been going on for more than 3-4 weeks, it probably will not just go away on its own. It is actually more likely to worsen over time, limiting your activities or even mobility and independence more and more over the years. It’s common when you have pelvic floor dysfunction, to feel like you have a UTI or even a yeast infection, when you really don’t. So, if any of this sounds like you, and you’re ready to be the one running your own life instead of your bladder calling the shots, get in touch with us. We’ll listen to your situation carefully and let you know whether we can help.
Helping health-oriented people overcome pelvic health problems, and live the life you love!
Deborah S. Cohen
Specialist Pelvic Health Physical Therapist