4 myths about your bladder and bad habits

It seems that some myths are passed from generation to generation among women. Innocent tips and hints given to you by your parents or teachers may unwittingly cause you to perform incorrectly, thus contributing to pelvic floor problems. 

Example 1. Pee as a precaution!

Just in case. Do you have a habit of always taking a quick pee before you leave the house and going everywhere you go? If that habit becomes a routine, you rarely listen to your bladder. It can interfere with your normal bladder function and feeling.
Maybe you're also putting too much pressure on yourself to quickly squeeze out that just-in-case pee?
Try to avoid that; a healthy adult bladder can easily hold 500 ml. As your bladder gradually fills, the urge to urinate may increase. So don't give in immediately to those first feelings but learn to understand the signals from your bladder. It is only when you feel the urge getting stronger and you are more likely to have 350-500ml in your bladder that you should start urinating. Keeping track of what you have drunk and eaten (e.g. fruit and vegetables also contain a lot of fluid, which may help you to refill your bladder more quickly) can help you to understand your body. 

Example 2. Public toilets are dirty

Better not sit on those seats, as you might come into contact with nasty bacteria and get a bladder infection. Are you one of those people who always hover above the toilet, preferably with your trousers safely high up to avoid contact with the dirty floor?
Well, this habit can actually cause more problems.
The muscle tension you build up to assume that uncomfortable position, hovering over the toilet, makes it harder for your pelvic floor muscles to release and relax. This is probably why you don't empty your bladder enough. The small amount of urine that remains is a breeding ground for bacteria and can cause a bladder infection. So always sit comfortably on the seat, lower your clothes sufficiently, relax your abdomen and pelvic floor and empty your bladder slowly.

Example 3. Pee well, a strong jet of urine is the sign that you are peeing heavily

Do you always press on your bladder to empty it with a strong jet of urine? This is another thing you should not do. If you sit quietly and properly on the glasses and let go of your pelvic floor muscles, your brain will unconsciously direct your bladder to empty itself. So let your bladder do its job. It is a muscle that will empty itself in a calm and controlled way.

Example 4. Pelvic floor muscles are important, they are best trained with the urinary stopper

"If you can pee in little streams, you know it's all right under there." No, urine stop is not a good pelvic floor muscle exercise at all. With the urine or so-called pipi stop, you first let your urine flow and then squeeze your pelvic floor muscles to hold your urine up proudly. If you succeed, you know that your pelvic floor muscles are contracting properly. But if you do it several times in a row, you upset that nice balance between your bladder and pelvic floor. This, in turn, can cause you to urinate too little. Another pee-pee left in your bladder? Another increased risk of infections!
So it is best to avoid it.
Pipi-stop once as a test for yourself whether you can tighten your muscles well enough? Of course, no problem!
But don't make it a daily habit.

All examples actually come back to one important principle: your bladder action, controlled by reflexes.

Let us explain it with a difficult word: the detrusor (bladder muscle) inhibitory reflex.
The **** -what reflex?
Well, it's actually quite simple.
Your pelvic floor muscles are transverse muscles. If you want, you can squeeze and release them.
But your bladder is also a muscle. A smooth muscle, a muscle you cannot control consciously, but which is controlled by your brain. Compare it to your heart muscle: that is also a muscle that you cannot just stop or shut down.

So how does it work in practice?
Your bladder fills with urine, sends a signal to your brain and you get a feeling of urgency to urinate.
Not yet on the toilet?
Then you tighten your pelvic floor muscles, which you can do consciously. By doing so you are squeezing your urethra.
Your brain notices this and sends an inhibitory signal to your smooth bladder muscle. Your bladder gets the order to relax, not to squeeze too much yet and to wait quietly.
You find a suitable toilet, sit down and... You relax your pelvic floor muscles.
Your brain notices this relaxation and sends a signal to your bladder: "the gates are open at the bottom". It is now up to your bladder to squeeze, your bladder muscle squeezes itself empty.

Beautiful, isn't it!

Learn to understand your body.
Feeling the urge to pee? Use this trick!
Tense your pelvic floor muscles vigorously, and you will soon notice that your bladder calms down and your urge to urinate diminishes.
more practical examples and tips?

Read and learn more in The Pelvic Floor Book, published by Lannoo.
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