Emptying your bladder shouldn’t be difficult, right? It’s a skill that our body, like breathing, doesn’t need to learn; it just happens from the time we are born. But what happens when this skill, which is so engrained into our unconscious behavior and innate need, suddenly becomes different, difficult or even painful.
Incomplete bladder emptying can cause us physical and emotional discomfort. It can feel unsatisfying, uncomfortable, and draw all of our attention to our bladder. It can interrupt our lives, having to get up from our desk more often and thus taking more time to complete a task, interrupt our favorite movie, or even limit how far of a run we wish to go on due to fear of not having a restroom near by.
If this sounds like you, no need to worry or cause any more pain or suffering, as there are some strategies you can try to help assist in feeling that relieving “empty” feeling, as well as physically emptying most of the urine out of your bladder.
Regardless of how long your symptoms have been hanging around, other comorbidities, and your diagnosis, these techniques are generally safe and appropriate to use, regardless of what may be the root cause of your symptoms.
The first thing you can try doesn’t take much effort at all. Deep breathing is a tool that comes in handy in so many situations, but essential for us to be and feel relaxed. Taking deep breaths through the belly, feeling the belly rise and fall as you inhale and exhale, allows the pelvic floor to relax. This is essential during and after you void to ensure your pelvic floor is as relaxed as possible. Sitting on the toilet correctly can also assist in complete voids. Use a small stool or trashcan to prop your feet on, and try to avoid hovering, standing, or crouching on the toilet (men, I’m talking to you, too!). You can bring your elbows to your knees to lean forward, or even press on the bladder gently after you feel finished to make sure nothing else comes out. You can even stand and sit back down, or rock front/back or side to side after finishing to give your bladder every opportunity to empty.
If you are still having difficulty emptying, in addition to these techniques above, pelvic floor PT may help to gentle release tension and/or restriction around the bladder, urethra and pelvic floor that may be the culprit to your symptoms. Talk to your doctor about pelvic floor PT to see if these techniques are right for you.