Strategies for Optimal Urination

There are certain activities we do day-to-day that feel so natural that they don’t require much thought or effort. One of these activities for a lot of people is likely urination – how we urinate is so engrained and automatic that we might not consider that there are some things we could be doing better for our bladder. With this blog post I hope to share some tips and tricks that anyone can use to achieve optimal urination and bladder function. 

Firstly, we can’t discuss bladder function or optimal urination without considering what we’re putting into our bodies – fluids and foods!  Some beverages and foods are thought to contribute to bladder dysfunction, and can play a role in things like increased urinary urgency/ frequency and bladder leakage. This can happen by certain foods and fluids causing an irritation to the lining of the bladder.  Individual sensitivities may vary, but common bladder irritants include: alcohol, coffee/tea (even decaf), carbonated drinks, acidic fruits and their juices, tomato based products, spicy foods, and drinks with artificial sweeteners.  Water is an excellent bladder friendly fluid, and it’s important to also consider the amount of water you drink each day.  Not drinking enough water results in a decreased volume of urine that is more concentrated and can be irritating to the bladder – therefore causing increase urgency and frequency.  Drinking too much water can overwhelm the bladder and cause increased urinary frequency.  Water intake needs are individualized, but a good rule of thumb is that if you’re drinking the correct amount of water, your urine should be pale lemonade coloured and have no odour.  

Next, it’s important to consider how often you’re urinating. Again, there’s lots of health and lifestyle factors that contribute to this, but as a general guideline you should be urinating every 2.5-3 hours, or 5-8 times a day.  It can be tempting to go “just in case” or at the slightest urge, but this creates a habit for your bladder to go more frequently and over time you will experience stronger urgency more suddenly.  On the other hand, you don’t want to be in the habit of holding too long either, as that can lead to straining the bladder muscles and other potential side effects. 

When urinating, you can think about your posture and positioning to optimize emptying your bladder as fully as possible.  Ideally you should be in a relaxed position while urinating, so the muscles around the bladder and pelvic floor can allow for complete emptying. Additionally, you should not rush to finish or strain. If you sit to urinate, you should sit fully down and not hover over the seat so that the muscles can relax. Also, you should sit up tall with good posture and tilt slightly forward from the pelvis, to optimally position your bladder for emptying.

Finally, there are some additional lifestyle factors that can affect bladder function: avoiding smoking, maintaining good bowel health and avoiding constipation, staying active, and maintaining a healthy weight are all helpful for keeping the bladder functioning well. 

Following these simple steps can you achieve optimal urination so that your bladder stays happy for years to come! If you have bladder dysfunction already, these strategies can actually improve bladder function, but it’s important to see your doctor and a pelvic floor physiotherapist to make sure your specific symptoms and needs are addressed. 


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