Should you go to the toilet “Just in Case”?
The answer = A BIG NO!!
A bladder, when functioning normally, gives us two signals to go to the toilet. The first is the “gentle warning” that gives us a vague sensation that we need to go and you can think of this as your “warning system” that within the next hour or so, you will need to find a toilet. We can resist this first urge if our bladder is healthy. The second signal is a stronger and urgent feeling low in the abdomen, that tells us we need to find the nearest toilet asap.
If you go to the toilet “just in case”, you are emptying the bladder before either of these signals have occurred. If you do this frequently, and over an extended period, the bladder becomes used to this lower threshold for capacity and the “I’m full” signal will be sent sooner and sooner. Hence, it becomes a vicious cycle of you emptying when you don’t actually need to, and your body telling you that you need to empty when the bladder is at low levels.
What you should do if you feel your bladder control is not what it should be:
Seek help: A physiotherapist with pelvic floor experience can give you the education you need and discuss your individual circumstances!
When you feel the urge to go….ask yourself if it is a “warning” and if you can, try to hold or distract yourself and the urge may pass. A legitimate “I’m full” signal will NOT pass. When you empty your bladder, always sit down and fully relax (close the door because the you know the kids are going to come in with a crisis the minute your pants are down!). No hovering in public toilets by the way! Ensure that you fully empty your bladder by relaxing your tummy and pelvic floor.
Caffeine, alcohol and fizzy drinks are all bladder irritants so you may want to cut back on these.
And please, let’s not teach the next generation of little girls to go to the toilet “just in case” before they leave the house. You will be doing them a huge favour!
Kate Boucher is a physiotherapist with over 14 years’ experience and mother of 3. She is a strong believer in a comprehensive, integrated approach to health. Kate enjoys working with mothers both pre and postnatally – whether it be to treat back and pelvic pain and instability or in addressing pelvic floor and core strength. She also understands the desire some have to return to high level sport and exercise and has intricate knowledge in establishing safe pathways for these goals to be reached.
You can find Kate at Go2 Health at Everton Park.