Are You Good At Peeing?
Just How Much Do You Know About Going #1?
Welcome to this video on peeing!
What exactly should normal peeing look like? How should your bladder work?
Peeing is something we have all been doing since the moment we were born (and even before in the womb!) – but outside of our initial potty training, we don’t talk a lot about peeing. I think this would be a great topic to cover in Jr or Sr high health class, but chances are you didn’t learn about your bladder health in school. No worries! We are going to talk about everything you need to know now.
Plus, it can be SUPER bothersome when we are having problems with peeing (like bladder leakage; urinary frequency – peeing all the time; or urinary urgency – when you gotta go NOW).
Check out the video below to get all the details on good peeing (or read on below for the transcript).
***Below this video you can also sign up to get our free bladder diary. Keeping a bladder diary can really help you get to know the habits and patterns of your bladder! This is the first step to getting control of pesky bladder leaks and endless trips to the bathroom.
So how often should you pee?
On average, healthy people pee approximately every 2-3 hours. Ideally we shouldn’t go more frequently than every 4 hours. Now this depends a little bit on your fluid intake, but with a normal amount of fluid, it shouldn’t be a problem to go at least 2 hours between your pees.
We also don’t want our bladders controlling our lives… Many of us know someone who goes pee all the time (it might even be you). Those people know where every bathroom in the mall is, where every gas station or Tim Horton’s is on their drive around town. But it is seriously not fun to have to plan your trips around where the bathroom is. When we pee more often than every 2 hours, we call this urinary frequency. If this is something you are experiencing, it might be a good idea to visit your friendly neighbourhood pelvic floor physio to get a check and some help in this area.
Oppositely, however, it’s not a good idea to hold your bladder too long either.
Remember, optimal voiding is every 2-3 hours. On the other end of that, ideally we shouldn’t hold longer than 4 hours.
This is a boundary that is sometimes easy to miss. Sometimes with a newborn we are so busy and half the day has passed and you might realize that its the afternoon, you are still in your pajamas (totally, right?), but that you haven’t been pee! Uh-oh.
Others amongst us may have had careers or professions where it wasn’t so easy to go regularly to the bathroom… I’m looking at you: all the nurses, teachers, surgeons, truck drivers, etc. out there. But you have to remember that the bladder is a muscle; as a result we can train it and we can learn and train different habits and patterns with it. Holding it too long might have seemed necessary for work, but it really isn’t a pattern we want to continue whenever possible and here’s why.
The bladder has a certain maximum capacity it can hold.
It regularly fills and expands, and then empties and shrinks down. If we are constantly forcing the bladder to fill and then hold, or hang out at its max capacity, its possible that it could become permanently over stretched. This likely wouldn’t happen over a couple of occasions, but that kind of repetition can definitely add up over time. And sometimes, we don’t realize this is a problem until our elder years after we’ve spent a lifetime with a pattern of holding. A person can develop what we call an overflow bladder where the bladder becomes overly full, but you stop getting the urge to go and empty it (remember the involvement of the nerves and the brain with our urinary system?). Then it can just spontaneously fully empty on you without warning, or it can seep out while you are sleeping. This is not something you want to have to deal with in your golden years!
I believe we need to optimize our bladder and pelvis function so that we can age gracefully. I’ve seen research that says in Canada, the number #1 reason elders are admitted to care facilities is due to alzheimers, dementia and mental health concerns. But the #2 reason is the inability to toilet independently. We don’t want that! Taking care of yourself well in the postpartum period and setting up healthy bladder habits now can be one of the most important things you do for your life-long health.
Now, in the early postpartum period (usually the first 4-6 weeks), the bladder can actually be a little disorganized.
If you think about it, the bladder goes from minimal real estate at the end of pregnancy, and being squished by an ever-growing uterus and baby, to living with lots of extra space and room for movement after we give birth and our abdominal wall and pelvic floors have not returned to their regular length. Sometimes the signalling to and from the brain and bladder hasn’t fully come back online. If you feel like the signalling from your bladder isn’t quite back to normal or the most reliable yet (for example… you don’t have to go, you don’t have to go, you don’t have to go…. And then suddenly its an emergency! Or, if you aren’t feeling a strong urge so you are going longer than 3 hours between voids) then I have a tip for you:
Try timed voiding. What this means is you just set a timer for anywhere between 2-3 hours – in this example I will say 2.5 hours. Set the timer on your watch, or your phone – and then make sure you go every time it rings. Alternatively, if you are feeding your baby every 2-3 hours, make it a habit to go pee every time you feed.
The small caveat here is unless it’s overnight – peeing every 2-3 hours is normal during that day, but most people are not up at night to pee, or are only up once. If you are up feeding and go pee because you are up, that’s totally fine. I would just hate for your baby to finally give you a longer stretch of sleep, and then you need to wake up to pee. If that is happening and bothering you, pelvic floor physio can help with that too.
So, I encourage you to get curious over the next couple of days… How often are you peeing? Might it be helpful to set yourself a timer and start cultivating some healthy bladder habits?
P.S. Download the bladder diary below so that you can easily track how often you are peeing. Get to know the habits and patterns of your bladder! This is the first step towards awesome bladder health…. stop planning your day around where the bathroom is, and get control of those bothersome bladder leaks!
P.P.S. To be good at peeing, you also need to be good at pooping! Want to be a better pooper? Check out this blog.