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  • Janette O'toole

Five tips to help stop your bladder waking you up at night

Both men and women can develop problems with waking up at night to go to the toilet. Some may leak before they get to the toilet at night, even if they do not have any problems during the day.

Bladder problems are more common as we get older, but for some people they may have had this problem since childhood.

If you are having any bladder problems, here are some steps that you can try that might help.

Step 1:

You are what you drink!

We should aim to drink 1.5-2L of fluid in total per day.

Some things that we drink really do irritate the bladder.

Alcohol, all caffeinated drinks (including tea, coffee, energy drinks and green tea), fizzy drinks (this includes sparking water) and diet drinks that contain artificial sweeteners (such as aspartame and acesulfame) can aggravate bladder symptoms.

It’s best to limit these things as much as possible. It is not always possible to cut these things out completely, but cutting them down will often help. Water IS best.

Step 2:

Teach your bladder who is boss!

It is possible to train your bladder to learn to hold more, reduce the feeling of rushing to the toilet and reduce leaking. This is done by holding off going to the toilet and increasing the time between trips to the bathroom. However, it is also important that you don’t put it off too long and still go to the toilet every 3-4 hours during the day.

Step 3:

Stop drinking late at night!

Be aware of how much you drink in the last two or three hours before you go to bed. Try to drink little and often during the day and then limit how much you drink before bedtime.

Step 4:

Feeling stressed?

We know that stress has an impact on our body in many different ways. Stress can also affect the bladder.

Finding ways to relax and reduce the stress in your life may help. This might be yoga, meditation or practicing mindfulness.

Simple, regular exercise, such as going for a walk may also help.

Step 5:

Infection- don’t ignore!

A urinary tract infection (UTI) can also cause bladder symptoms at night. There are many reasons why someone may develop an infection. Symptoms can vary from a strong and frequent need to pee, passing strong smelling or discoloured urine, pain in the lower tummy or a burning sensation when going to the toilet. It is important to get this checked by your doctor as you may need medication to clear it.

If you have any specific concerns or are experiencing any bladder problems, such as urinary frequency, urgency, waking up several times a night needing to void, incontinence or difficulty emptying your bladder, a pelvic floor physiotherapist may help you with this. This is a physiotherapist who has undertaken specialised training in this area and is able to provide specific advice to help. They can also assess your pelvic floor and may give you exercises which can help with this problem.


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