What is Bladder Retraining?

While bladder control isn't something that most people like to discuss, it's something that affects everyone. Almost all people at some point, forego at least some of their bladder control with time, injury, or with age. Bladder retraining is a very commonly recommended step by urologists that can help people at any age.

Bladder retraining can be an important medical recommendation, or it can be a step that you take yourself to ensure better bladder control (and thus better health) for your future.

What is Bladder Retraining?

Here's a quick guide to bladder retraining, how it works, and why experts say that it can help.

The Basics of Bladder Retraining

Bladder retraining is exactly what it sounds like. It is a several-step process that strengthens the bladder and pelvic floor muscles. It enhances the level of control someone has and gradually increases the amount of time between bathroom breaks.

If you've never heard of bladder retraining before, this is an excellent place to start.

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about bladder retraining.

Why Bladder Retraining?

Do you wish that you had more control over the urges of your bladder? If you have ruled out other causes like diabetes, consider a bladder training program to address urinary incontinence.

There are many reasons why bladder retraining is useful, and many different things can lead to a lack of bladder control. Pregnancy, injury, or getting older can affect your urge to urinate, but there are other factors too.

We could recommend bladder retraining for you for the following reasons:

  • After catheter use
  • With incontinence
  • After pregnancy
  • Post-surgery or injury
  • With an overactive bladder
  • Age

How Long Does It Take?

Bladder training can take anywhere from eight to twelve weeks. Under some circumstances, proper bladder training can take longer. There is no need to rush most types of physical therapy, including bladder training.

Bladder training might sound like a rigorous exercise program for your bladder. While it can be, bladder retraining is not as much physical work as the name makes it appear. Bladder training (or sometimes called retraining) doesn't require fancy exercise equipment like you might need to exercise any other body parts.

Usually, it is a combination of scheduling bathroom visits, relaxation techniques, and pelvic floor exercises. Remember, it is best to have supervision from a medical professional throughout the process.

It is recommended to be done with medical oversight especially if you are doing it for health or recovery reasons. A medical professional can make sure that bladder training is done correctly to ensure the best possible results. Talk to your doctor about your specific needs.

The Value of Muscle Exercises

Pelvic muscle exercises are the start of bladder training. The muscles in the pelvic floor control urine flow and strength in these muscles affects incontinence.

You should do a few minutes of simple kegel exercises daily and typically continue for a couple of weeks.

Pelvic floor exercises aren't just part of bladder training. In fact, Kegel exercises are also recommended for people who would like to retain the same strength – or improve their ability to have an orgasm.

Create a Bathroom Schedule

Using a bathroom schedule makes bladder training easier. This schedule is not the same for everyone. Each person will have a tailored bathroom schedule depending on their own daily agenda and personal needs.

A schedule sets the time to empty your bladder and helps both the body and brain settle into a healthier routine. You have to control fluid intake at the same time. Keeping the intake of diuretics (like caffeine) to a minimum is best.

Technology makes bathroom schedules easier with bladder training apps or a bladder diary on your phone.

Additional Information: Physical Therapy Guide to Urinary Incontinence


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From screening and prevention to treatment and recovery, our health professionals will be there for you. Our team of dedicated physicians has been serving residents of Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota for more than 25 years.

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