Do your friends and family comment on how often you go to the bathroom?
Do you tend to always run to the bathroom right before you leave to go somewhere, even
if you just went in the last hour (or less)?
Are you unable to get a restful night’s sleep because you are waking up to urinate?
Are you always scoping out your environment to know where the nearest toilet is?
Although all of these scenarios are extremely common, it doesn’t make them “normal”.
In fact, these learned habits are dysfunctional. When we consistently act in this way, we
are conditioning are bodies to frequently urinate.
Our bladder is a muscle and if it isn’t getting the chance to expand and hold an appropriate amount of urine, it will become accustomed to holding less and less fluid and perhaps send you the ever-annoying signal of having to urinate frequently. This is also the reason why frequency goes hand in hand with urgency (see the blog on urinary incontinence).
What is normal for our bladder?
Our bladder is meant to hold about 400-600 mL of fluid. This equates to about 16 oz, or
2 cups. We will tend to feel the first sensation that we need to void after about 150-200
mL or 5-7 oz. As you can see, this first signal is just that – a signal. We still have time and
potentially more fluid that can accumulate in our bladder.
The well-studied norm is voiding every 2-4 hours, or 6-8 times in a 24-hour day. Within
each of these voids, most people are excreting 200-300+ mL or 10+ oz.
Sleep is so important and is a way our body can “reset”. We may need to get up in the
middle of the night, but we shouldn’t getting up more than 1-2 times.
We are trained from an early age that we should always go to the bathroom before we
leave the house. This technique is fantastic when we are being potty trained, however we
don’t need to subject ourselves and our (presumably) adult-sized bladder to this same
technique now that we can hold more fluid.
Frequency of urination is a diagnosis that can be dealt with fairly easily. It comes down
to bladder training and establishing new habits. These are things that you can learn
from a pelvic physical therapist and would recommend making an appointment in order
to assess what your pelvic floor muscles are doing and make sure there isn’t any other