How to Completely Empty Your Bladder in One Trip to the Bathroom
Not Completely Emptying Your Bladder Can Lead To UTI
Your frequency and urgency symptoms won't always be due to a urinary tract infection (UTI).
Recurrent UTI's are very annoying.
Getting up often during the night to urinate is annoying, too.
Usually, frequent urination has some kind of infection at its cause, but not always.
Sometimes it is just lifestyle ruts we get into — holding urine in, not wanting to use a public bathroom (or the bathroom in someone's house), body positioning, frequently using over-the-counter-sanitary wipes to cleanse, or maybe some unusual health habits (incorrect wiping, unclean hands, or, maybe no wiping!)
Assuming your doctor has ruled out other causes for your frequent urination (such as kidney disease, dropped bladder, UTI, cystitis, kidney diseases, etc.), I may have some useful suggestions for you.
Here Is My Own Personal Method That Works!
Okay, now I know that after you read this, that you may think this method may sound silly and look absolutely absurd, but who cares? It works!
I moderate several health-related websites, and many people have written to tell me they used to get up to go to the bathroom 5 or 6 times during the night, interrupting restful sleep. After I share this method with them, they write back, telling me of their amazement of getting 4 to 6 continuous hours of sleep — all at one time! — just by following these instructions before going to bed.
My Personal Method For Completely Emptying The Bladder
Important: Always sit down on the toilet. That is the only way this method works efficiently.
First, relieve yourself as normal in an upright (non-slouching) sitting position.
Then, position your upper body straight (not rigid), and again relieve yourself in sitting position.
When you think the stream is done... don't get up yet.
Keeping upper body straight (but not slouched or rigid), bend forward to a 45-degree angle and hold the position for 60-90 secs in relax mode.
Let any urine release. Don't forcefully push it out. It will come out naturally when you are relaxed.
When done, come back to center position.
Now keeping upper body straight (not slouched), lean back against toilet lid like you are going to put your head on a headrest — about a 30-degree angle — and let any urine release, then when done, go back to your center position on the toilet.
Now keeping upper body straight (not rigid), lean to your left side, lifting just your left buttock off the toilet seat about 2-3 inches.
Hold the position for 60 seconds in relax mode and release any urine.
When done, come back to the center position on the toilet.
Note: Urine usually starts about 15 seconds after you get into the positions — you have to allow time for urine to get adjusted to the new positioning.
Starting from the center again, keeping upper body straight (not rigid), now lean to your right side, lifting only the right buttock up about 2-3 inches.
Hold for 60 seconds in relax mode and release any urine. Again, urine may not start for 15 seconds — so be patient. The right lean usually doesn't produce as much urine as the left lean, but do it anyway.
Now keeping upper body straight (not rigid), repeat the lean to your left side, lifting only the left buttock off the toilet seat about 2-3 inches. When done, come back to center.
Sit for about 30 seconds in the center in case there is any more urine to release.
- Always wipe from front to back. Make sure you do not use scented toilet paper or toilet paper holders that have a freshener or deodorizer in the holder.
- Men — if you see dribbles, blot, don't wipe.
- Wash hands after each time.
- If your toilet is stained from Pyridium laced urine, spray with Lysol or any bleach spray, but cover up the toilet paper!
Believe me, this works!
Pain and Burning Can Be A UTI (Urinary Tract Infection)
1. Usually drinking more water will help with burning and pain. Stick to bottled or filtered water so you know you are getting pure water with little or no risk of ameba, parasites or chemicals coming from using faucet water.
2. Cranberry (juice or tablets) is an excellent remedy and has been used for decades. Check with a doctor to make sure it doesn't contradict with any other medication you are taking.
3. Some people find relief from cool sit down baths. However, it only feels good for as long as you are in the bath!
- Any one of the above remedies needs a companion remedy in order to help relieve any abdominal pain, burning, and discomfort. None work alone to totally get rid of the symptoms.
4. For the pain and burning, you can use any over the counter (OTC) remedy (Cystex, etc.) for burning. But many doctors prescribe Pyridium in addition to antibiotics. If your doctor does not do so, you might want to ask for a prescription, especially if you have a prescription plan where you can get it for free. Ask if he has free samples.
- Pyridium eliminates bladder spasms and that twingy-pain while urinating. But, it also turns your urine orange. It will stain your underwear and your toilet bowl (try to spray the bowl with any Bathroom Cleaner with added bleach after each use to remove orange tinge from the bowl). And, with continuous use, it is also toxic to the liver and kidneys - but, it is fine if used for two to four days.
- For that reason, doctors usually only order a small amount of Pyridium - usually 10 to 12 pills - so the patient can't overdo it or misuse the product. Rarely do they allow refills of this medication because a patient can get to self-prescribing every time they feel a twinge.
5. Pyridium should always be used with an antibiotic since Pyridium can't get rid of a UTI on its own. It only helps you over the hump when the pain is at its worse. You need the antibiotic (along with lots of water) to flush out the Pyridium and any infection.
- Usually by the second day of UTI, the antibiotic has kicked in, and Pyridium is no longer needed. If your doctor gives you enough Pyridium for three days, take it for the three days. If you stop Pyridium before the antibiotic has had a chance to work its magic, you will be calling the doctor for a Pyridium refill and will possibly have to endure a second round of antibiotics to kick the UTI.
- To determine if you need (or want) Pyridium, on your next UTI, go through treatment using only antibiotics and keep some notes on how you are feeling with twingy-pain and amount of urine output for the first two days.
- Then, the next time you get a UTI, ask for a three day supply of Pyridium 200mg tabs and take it as prescribed - one every 6 hours just for two days and then stop.
- Again, keep some notes on pain and urine output. Then compare.
- I don't think you will even have to look at your notes because you will know after the first day of Pyridium that the comfort it provides is far preferable to using antibiotics alone.
6. The trick to moving UTI's out of your body quickly is to drink plenty of water — not just any liquids — regular water, preferably bottled or filtered water!
- By drinking more water, yes, you will urinate more frequently, no doubt about it. But you will be assured to know that the infection is moving out of your body that much quicker.
- With Pyridium, if you are still burning and painfully letting out a short stream or just a few drops of urine after the first day of use, it doesn't mean the medication isn't working. It means you are not getting enough water.
- So, increase water intake, but stop drinking 2 hours before bedtime.
- Avoid citrus juices when treating a UTI. The acid will increase the burning feeling — but other juices are fine.
How many times do you get up during the night to urinate?
Out of Desperation Came Relief
Because I have Multiple Sclerosis, all my urine didn't always come out completely each time. As shown on an ultrasound, sometimes as much as two tablespoons would remain in the bladder, stubborn to come out, and causing me many more trips to the bathroom than desired.
Because of this lack of output, the remedy was to use self-catheterization several times per day and night, so my bladder would be completely empty.
Getting up 6 to 8 times a night to go to the bathroom, I was always tired. Something had to give.
Leaving residual urine inside caused me many a urinary tract infection and to take more prescriptions, which I'm not a fan of.
When I learned to use ergonomic tricks 30+ years ago, it was so I wouldn't have to self-cath any more than was necessary. I worried about getting more infections from self-cathing, not because it was unclean, but because it was invasive, often scraping the urethra (no matter how much lubricant was used) and causing irritation.
This method I am sharing with you was the answer to my prayers of getting a good night's sleep.
- Body positioning is key for this to work. You will be good and comfortable for minimum two hours (usually it's four hours or more) because you are empty.
- From dinner time onward, try to limit your intake of caffeine: tea, coffee, juices (especially citrus), alcoholic drinks, or energy drinks, since they stimulate your bladder more so.
- Stick to drinking just water — bottled OR filtered water (Brita, PUR, etc.). Normal use is about three bottles of sixteen ounces each, spread out over your day.
- Stop drinking everything about 2 hours before your bedtime. Make the bathroom your last thing you do before going to "sleep" for the night.
- I promise — You will sleep.
- Don't keep a glass of water on your bedside table. Just because it is there, you will be inclined to drink during the night, causing you to get up to go to the bathroom.
- If you have dry mouth, keep moistened Q-Tip type swabs on your bedside table to swab the inside of your mouth or your lips. But no water containers.
- Keep the moistened swabs in a closed Ziploc plastic bag on your bedside table. Pre-moistened lemon swabs also are available at your pharmacy or at the link to the right of this text.
- If you also do this when you get up in the morning, you can be assured of at least 3 to 4 hours of bladder comfort during your waking hours.
- During the day, you move around more, and the bladder is more active than at nighttime. I, myself, use this method every single time I go to the bathroom so that I only relieve my bladder four times a day when it used to be 10 to 15 times a day. And I still drink the same 6 to 8 bottles of water per day, mostly because of dry mouth from my medications and to stay hydrated.
Empty Your Bladder Before And After Sexual Intercourse
There is nothing worse than frequent urination to put a damper on your sex life.
But, even worse, if you get a UTI shortly after having sex, you might blame it on your partner, and think you "picked up" something from them.
It might not be that way — but rather just a case of poor planning.
- Make this a habit! Always empty your bladder (go to the bathroom, following the steps in my method) before sex and, just as importantly, again after sex.
- This helps to eliminate the re-occurrence of that "Oh I think I'm getting a UTI" feeling on the morning after sex.
- There is no sense treating what you "think" is a UTI coming on, when in fact, it is just an irritated bladder from sexual intercourse.
- Follow the method as noted above, drink more water throughout the next day and you should be fine.
Burning Feeling After Sex
Have you ever felt that "twinge" the morning after sexual intercourse?
Constipation or Bowel Urgency
If you are constipated and have urinary urgency (or retention) problems, you might feel that little twinge making you think a UTI is starting, but in fact, after you move your bowels, the twinge goes away.
Make sure what you are feeling is really a UTI brewing and:
- not the result of having to move your bowels,
- not relieving yourself before and after sex, or
- from holding your urine (or stool) inside you for whatever reason (bathroom location/cleanliness, no opportunity to stop on a car trip, etc.).
- If you have to go, go.
- Don't hold it in.
- Use Depends, a Johnny or Jane bottle, or products like the ones listed to the right of this text. There are also other remedies mentioned in this article to help you on car rides, especially if you have a driver who won't stop often for you. (Have "the" talk so they understand the importance of your situation!)
- In matters of constipation or long periods of inactivity, a stool softener may help.
- A stool softener does not make you go — it just makes it easier to go.
- It also protects rectum, vagina, and urethra from the irritation of hard stool pressing down on their mucous membranes. Softened stool waiting to evacuate doesn't cause as much pressure as a hard stool.
Printed or Scented Toilet Paper and Cleaning Sprays
So many items are scented these days that sometimes we don't even notice it.
- We press the air freshener nozzle every time we exit the bathroom.
- We keep a deodorizer inside the rim of the toilet.
- We use bleach blue tablets in the tank to keep the bowl and water clean.
- We spray the bathroom just before guests come (and it drifts down to land on the once sanitary toilet paper!).
Keep track of the hygienic paper products you use.
- Are your bathroom paper products perfumed?
- Are they stored in an area of the room where you store cleaning products where the scent can carry over?
- Do you use scented feminine products (douches, pads, paper products)?
- Are you a powder user? Does it get all over everything when you use the powder?
- Do you wear nylon clothing next to your body without the benefit of cotton barrier underwear or inserts - scented or unscented?
- Do you skip wearing underwear altogether so that now your peri-area is right next to your pants? If you also use fabric softener, this can cause as much irritation as using scented bathroom paper products.
- Do you use fabric softeners in your laundry? That means your bathroom towels are scented and you can transfer scent to your hands. If fabric softener is a must, then for the duration of your "episodes" with UTI and irritations, use a paper towel, but protect it from the bathroom environment of smells, sprays, and other airborne culprits.
- Do you use a scented toilet paper holder (with those little crystals inside) to roll out pleasant smells when someone uses the toilet paper? That scent remains on the toilet paper and your hands when you go to wipe!
- Do you use toilet paper that has a decorative colored print or funny advertising on the sheets? Some are very pretty, especially holiday art, but the ink can be toxic when in contact with body fluids.
- Do you store your kleenex tissues in the bathroom? Are they near any scented products? Sometimes people will use a kleenex in the place of an empty toilet paper dispenser. If it has aloe, scented hand lotion or other scents, it is the same as using scented toilet paper.
Note: If you spray Lysol, your perfume, aerosol deodorant, hair spray or other products, in the bathroom, cover the toilet paper so you don't transfer the scent to the paper! Cover the towels, too.
When You Flush, Put the Lid Down
- The water vapor and spray from flushing can reach as high as six feet in the air, contaminating toilet paper, towels and everything else you are trying to keep clean. Why is that lid up anyway? You don't need to watch your duty go down the toilet. Only children feel the need to watch.
- All these suggestions are something to consider if you want to get well and stay well.
- If your only cleaning products storage place is in the bathroom, start looking around nearby the bathroom for other places. Maybe you can store everything under the kitchen sink and only keep one bottle of spray bleach on the toilet tank (or on the shower floor) to use after each toilet use.
- If you continue to store your cleaning products in the same area as your toilet paper and kleenex tissues, you will never get the benefit of this information.
Suggested For Those With Frequent UTI's Who Already Don't Use Scented Products
- After scented products, foods are often the biggest culprit for irritation and infections. I found that cinnamon was my personal culprit.
- It seemed that when I treated myself to homemade chocolate chip cookies, cheesecake (cinnamon in the crust), or anything that had cinnamon as an ingredient, within a few days I had a urinary tract infection, as verified by a laboratory urinalysis.
- It took more than three months for me to figure this out, because of the many ingredients in foods.
- For you, it could be anything from caffeine products to citrus fruits. You have to keep track of your diet to figure it out.
- So read your labels, keep a food diary (write down everything!) and see if your UTI trigger is food related. A food diary may be the only way to narrow this down. Click link for printable diary.
Intermittent and Self Catheterization or Self Cath
- Neurogenic bladders often do not empty and that is the reason why most people with Multiple Sclerosis and other diseases that affect bladder control must self-cath.
- Self-cathing the first time will be hit or miss until you get to know where YOUR urethra is located in your anatomy.
- The position you assume to self-cath can be awkward and (if in the company of others) sometimes embarrassing. But sometimes you need another set of hands to help you, so don't hesitate to ask a special someone.
- Self-catheterization is the last resort....you don't want to go there if you don't have to.
- But if you do, positioning to self-cath is the hardest part. Experiment with what works best for you. It will certainly require some getting used to also.
- Men do not seem to have a problem because of their anatomy being visible and easily accessible. Women, on the other hand, may run into some challenges.
- Some women can put a bent leg up on the toilet, use a hand held a mirror in one hand and the lubricated catheter in the other and insert. Other women can squat down to within 10-12 inches of the floor, place a handheld mirror on the floor and insert.
- Some women can sit on the toilet and bend back far enough and insert.
- Still, others can lie down in bed, bring knees up to the chest and use a hand held mirror (or not) to insert. Once you get to know where your urethra is located, you can actually stand, spread your legs and insert, but that takes a while of practicing to get the hang of it.
Self-Cathing Has Its Pros and Cons
- The cons, of course, are possibly re-infecting yourself by using less than clean conditions and reusing catheters. Self-catheters should be used once, and then thrown away.
- The pros are endless but include hours of comfort, extra sleep during the night, and reducing embarrassing moments.
- The new small self-catheterizing devices which are advertised to go in your pocket or purse are ideal when away from home on short outings. They can get expensive because you are paying for the convenience. They are about the size of your thumb and come in packs of six. They work only for urine that is on its way out, right down at the exit, not for urine that is actually way up inside the bladder.
- If the new small devices are to your liking, use them.
- Otherwise, using intermittent catheterizing with a straight cath has been the age old practice in place for patients to feel completely empty.
- Using the ergonomic toilet method in this hub should eliminate, or cut down, the use of straight cath'ing or any kind of intermittent catheterization.
Catheter vs. Johnny or Jane Bottle
Catheters In General:
- At some point, many of us won't be able to go to the bathroom on our own because the urine will just trickle out by itself, requiring us to find ways to keep dry. Many patients resign themselves to the fact that they need a catheter in place all the time. Catheters can be intra-urethral or super-pubic (inserted through a tube in the belly).
- Some people find that a catheter in place during a long car ride, plane ride, etc. assisted by a leg or belly bag can be most comfortable and reduce stops thereby making the driver happy! A Johnny or Jane bottle is also handy.
- As for sleeping, catheters assisted by a bed bag (drop bag), most certainly will eliminate bathroom runs and allow for a full night's sleep.
- I use a bed bag every time I get a UTI so that I don't get up, run to the bathroom and only eek out a few, sometimes painful drops. The catheter is very helpful during treatment for a UTI - usually for two nights - then I go back to my ergonomic method above.
- Restful sleep is paramount when you are sick like that. You can choose to take the catheter out each morning ie leave it in for the two days/nights.
Important: About Detrol, Lasix, and Antibiotics
- A reminder to ANYONE who takes bladder medications to restrict urine output and to cut down bathroom visits (ex: Detrol LA, etc.).
- I'm talking about the drugs that slow or cut down urine output. I'm not talking about medications like Lasix which promote urine output because of fluid retention, etc.
- When you get a UTI, the last thing you want to do is restrict urine output.
- Consult your doctor first; ask if you can discontinue Detrol LA (or similar) while you are treating the UTI, then resume when you are recovered.
- Detrol LA (and newer drugs like it) restrict the number of times you go to the bathroom as well as the amount of urine output. While on a physician prescribed antibiotic treatment plan for a UTI, suggest if it would be best to stop all drugs that cause you to hold or retain urine.
- Always, consult your doctor first before you make changes in your medication schedule.
Remember -— if you like scented toilet paper, and want keep it in your bathroom, just put it out when you have company or for the holidays.
For yourself, keep your own roll of unscented, unprinted toilet paper in a special place where you can access it. Only you will know you are using it. Again, do not store it in areas where soaps, air fresheners and cleaning fluids are stored.
If you go visiting to other people's houses and are not sure of what kind of toilet paper they have in their bathroom, keep a supply of unscented tissues in your pocket or purse (in a baggie, if possible).
Tissues can serve the same purpose as toilet paper and are far safer than taking a chance on what kind of paper is being supplied in other people's homes. Check aloe content and other lotion additives - you want plain unscented, untreated tissues or toilet paper.
I hope you find some useful information here. Leave a comment of your experience or results. Thank you for answering my polls, it genuinely helps others to know they are not alone in this battle.
Questions and comments are welcomed.
Although I no longer work in the medical field, I have to put up a disclaimer that while this article may seem like medical advice, it really is not.
It is not meant to replace your doctor's medical advice.
Always consult your physician first. After following his treatment plan, if you still are having frequent urination, you might want to follow the steps in this article. Don't be surprised if you find that you want to share your results (AND this method) with your doctor — and please do.
What you will read in this article is what has worked for me and countless others whom I have shared this method in 30+ years. I know it will work for you, but please don't replace your doctor's advice with anything you read here. Use it "in addition" to his advice. You can use the ergonomics with any doctor's treatment and not have any ill effects.
With this lifestyle change, I promise you that you will have less trips to the bathroom (day and night) and less Urinary Tract Infections.
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