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Quick! Where is the toilet? If you are someone who needs to know where toilets are, at every location, please read on…

Being human, you probably have experienced that busting-to-go feeling before. Have you ever experienced that feeling coming on very suddenly, without any warning. For some people this happens frequently and can be very difficult to control. This is Urgency.

Urinary urgency is a common condition affecting many women and men. It can occur when the detrusor, the muscle in the bladder wall, contracts. This muscle usually contracts to help empty the bladder, when we are sitting on a toilet, however sometimes this muscle contracts at other times. This condition is known as overactive bladder and can occur with or without leaking. Overactive bladder significantly affects the quality of life of many people worldwide, regardless of whether it actually causes incontinence or not.

Urgency can be successfully treated with physiotherapy. This can include lifestyle advice, pelvic floor strengthening, strategies to defer the urge, trigger retraining, bladder drills as well as other strategies.

So, what are the first steps to take to help manage your symptoms?

Step 1: Manage any constipation:

If you’re experiencing urgency, firstly make sure your bowels are healthy. Constipation or sluggish bowels can contribute to and worsen urgency.

Step 2: Use urge deferral strategies and stay calm when you experience urgency.

Try sitting down, putting pressure on your perineum or rising onto your toes. Stimulation the nerve in the perineum by sitting or the posterior tibial nerve in the ankle by using your calf muscles works to calm the bladder down.

Contract your pelvic floor muscles. For most people this will help, however for some people this will make their symptoms worse. If you have a history of pelvic pain, or if this makes your symptoms worse, skip this step.

Stimulate your brain! Using the logic centre in your brain has also been shown to dampen that urge. So counting backwards from a large number by 7s for example.

Keep breathing and try to relax your tummy. Tensing your tummy or holding your breath increases the pressure on your bladder.

Once your bladder has calmed down, you can then walk to the toilet normally.

Step 3: See a pelvic floor physio or your GP.

Pelvic floor physios have a large toolset for treating urgency.

Your GP can also help by prescribing medications that may help your symptoms (if these are suitable for you). As with all medicines though, make sure you ask your GP about any potential side effects.

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