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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Tame Your Bladder When You Have MS

Take charge of your "urge to go" by trying some simple tips.
Don't sip. Drink a small glass of water (about 6 to 8 ounces) all at once every few hours during the day. That's better than sipping drinks throughout the day, which might give you the urge to urinate more frequently. You'll know when you get enough to drink because your urine will turn light yellow.
Stop drinking before bed. Stay hydrated, but don't drink too close to bedtime or you could wake up during the night to use the bathroom. Have your last drink of water or other fluid at least 2 hours before you go to bed.
Limit caffeine and alcohol. Cut back on coffee, soda, beer, and wine. Caffeine and alcohol can irritate your bladder and increase the urge to go. Alcohol also affects the way your kidneys absorb water, and it can make your bladder fill up more quickly than usual.
Don't smoke. Nicotine is another bladder irritant. If you smoke, ask your doctor for advice on nicotine replacement products, medicines, and other methods to help you quit.
Do Kegel exercises. Just like you tone your biceps and triceps, you can strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that support your bladder. These muscles hold urine in your bladder so it won't leak when you sneeze, cough, or laugh.
To find the right muscles, squeeze like you would to stop the flow of urine, hold for about 4 seconds, then release. Do these exercises a few times each hour. You don't have to set aside a special place or time. Do them wherever and whenever you like.
If you have trouble finding your pelvic floor muscles, see a nurse or physical therapist for help.
Retrain your bladder. Go to the bathroom on a regular schedule, such as every 2 hours. Do this even if you don't feel like you need to. That way you'll prevent your bladder from filling up too much and overflowing.
If you feel the urge to go before the full 2 hours are up, try to hold it in for just 5 minutes more by tightening your pelvic floor muscles. Over time, you should be able to have longer and longer periods of time between bathroom visits.

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