Toilet Talk: Things You Should Know, But Probably Don’t.

Parents can relate to the fact that we spend a lot of time potty training children. However, that’s likely the only time we experience “toilet talk”.  When I provide basic bowel and bladder tips to my adult patients, I am always surprised when they say “why didn’t anyone tell me that?”.  So, here’s a list of some of the best tips that every person should know about toilet talk.

  • Don’t force your children to go to the bathroom “just in case” or just out of convenience too often. This presents two challenges: 1. The bladder and nervous system are very sensitive. If your child goes to the toilet without an urge regularly, the bladder will become sensitive to that threshold; and they will feel the urge to go more often. 2. This behavior is easily carried with them into adult years with potentially unnecessary episodes of urinary urge, frequency, and hassle. * There are obviously times when the decision to use the toilet early is advisable.
  • Did you know that the average healthy adult should be able to wait 2-4 hours to urinate? Can you wait that long? The most common thing I hear “but you don’t understand, MY bladder is so small. I have to go every 30 minutes…”. Generally, there are easy ways to train your bladder to wait longer. As indicated in the prior point, you may have had habits for many years that predisposed you to believe your bladder was small and unruly. Remember, don’t go to the bathroom just in case (NO JICs). Your bladder is constantly storing urine. So, if you go early, you will likely urinate, but this does not mean it was time to go yet.
  • Urinate when you wake up in the morning. Your bladder needs to get “flushed” out. The rule of waiting 2-3 hours to urinate does not apply here.
  • Don’t sit on the toilet for greater than 10-15 minutes at a time. This increases risk for hemorrhoids, worsening of pelvic organ prolapse, and more pelvic floor issues! On a related note, NO STRAINING with bowel movements. When you strain, there’s a significant amount of pressure placed on the pelvic floor and surrounding structures. So, sitting for greater than 10-15 minutes + straining = unhappy and unhealthy pelvic floor.
  • Women- remember to always wipe front to back (after urinating or having a bowel movement). This reduces the risk of introducing bacteria and other bad elements into the vagina and urethra.
  • If you feel a bulge or a “golf ball” at/near your vagina or rectum or you need to use your hand to help with bowel movements, you possibly have some form of a pelvic organ prolapse. Other symptoms can include increased urinary or bowel urge, constipation, and a pressure feeling worst with standing up or straining. You can discuss this with your gynecologist, family physician, or pelvic physical therapist. You are NOT alone. This is common, but patients feel very embarrassed to share. But there is help for this.

  • Do you like to wear Spanx, shapewear, girdles, or pantyhose?  They are totally slimming, right? Guess what? They can also impede your pelvic floor muscles from fully relaxing when you urinate or have a bowel movement. When you sit down on the toilet with your slimming designer fashion, make sure to slide them all the way down as close to your ankles as possible. This way you can relax your pelvic floor and allow for best chance of fully emptying your bladder or bowels.
  • Have you ever read a magazine that told you to try to stop your flow of urine to check to see if your pelvic floor muscles are strong? Well, it’s technically one way to check, but it’s not good for you! Some of my patients thought they were supposed to do this every day on the toilet as part of a Kegel exercise program. No, no, no. This can cause all sorts of issues.
  • If you experience bowel or bladder issues- such as constipation, irritable bowel, painful bladder syndrome/interstitial cystitis, urinary urge or frequency- there’s hope!  There’s a high likelihood that you can modify your diet or fluid intake and make significant changes. For example, did you know that caffeine and alcohol can increase urinary urge? I have also seen many cases of constipation drastically improve with proper diet modifications. Take this seriously!
  • As a general rule, adults should not need to get up in the middle of the night to urinate. As we age and get to 60+, urinating one time during the night is normal. Oh, and pregnancy is also an exception. Two easy tips: 1. Limit fluid intake to little or nothing 2 hours before bedtime. 2. If you feel an urge to go in the middle of the night, see if you can fall back asleep and resist that urge to get up. On a safety note, if you do wake up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, please make sure you have a well-lit, clear path without furniture, uneven rugs, or toy soldiers in your path.

If you found these tips helpful or want to share more, please leave a comment and sign up to follow us. Pelvic Guru also welcomes and receives great comments and updates on the Facebook page.

Blog post by: Tracy Sher, MPT, CSCS. – Pelvic Physical Therapist, Faculty and Founder of Pelvic Guru, Consultant and National Speaker.

 

No Comments

  1. Amy Wagner November 6, 2012 at 9:26 am - Reply

    Great article!

  2. Pelvic Guru November 6, 2012 at 11:33 am - Reply

    On a side note, did you know that the diamond toilet featured here costs $75,000!?

  3. incostress November 6, 2012 at 12:06 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on Healthy Solutions.

  4. […] Toilet Talk: Things You Should Know, But Probably Don’t.. […]

  5. incostress November 6, 2012 at 12:27 pm - Reply

    Great advice especially on stopping msu flow. People should know it can cause back flow if you do it too often.

  6. […] Toilet Talk: Things You Should Know, But Probably Don’t.. […]

  7. […] Toilet Talk: Things You Should Know, But Probably Don’t.. […]

  8. […] ( yes believe it or not there is a technique for this too) My friend Pelvic Guru did a recent great post on this subject and included this lovely example of a […]

  9. Pelvic Guru November 9, 2012 at 8:24 am - Reply

    Thanks to all of those who have re-blogged this on to your sites! Spreading important info! Love the collaboration!

  10. Pelvic Guru November 10, 2012 at 3:49 pm - Reply

    This article was just featured on the Women’s Health Foundation blog. Check that site out too! http://womenshealthfoundation.org/blog/?p=3678

  11. […] here’s a interesting list of things you should know about toileting, but probably don’t.  (I’ll remind you, I am obsessed with pelvic health!)  Can I […]

  12. Amanda Little November 24, 2012 at 8:58 pm - Reply

    Is it super terrible that I still want to wear spanx :X

    • Pelvic Guru November 24, 2012 at 9:01 pm - Reply

      No! It’s still okay to wear, but pull them all the way down when you use the toilet. And don’t wear them all the time. Give your body a break. :).

  13. Toilet talk | Marnie Tocheniuk August 21, 2014 at 12:53 am - Reply

    […] Let’s talk toilet talk. No, no, no…not what you are thinking. More so literally about the toilet and some things you may not know about toilet habits. The following is a link to an informative article about some tips about visiting the toilet. For instance, do you know how often is ‘normal’ when it comes to peeing? Do you really just have a small bladder? And what about getting some reading done on the toilet…that’s ok right? Hmmm…you might like to read on… […]

  14. Anonymous January 21, 2015 at 7:52 am - Reply

    DO WEMAN RELEASE SPERM LIKE MEN

  15. Lisa Heitman May 3, 2016 at 7:16 pm - Reply

    What are the “proper diet modifications” for chronic constipation? BTW, thanks for the article.

    • Pelvic Guru May 4, 2016 at 11:40 am - Reply

      There are many different resources for this. I will try to post something about this as soon as I can. Thanks for your interest.

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