Bladder Irritants Holiday Addition

After what feels like the longest year in the history of the world, the holiday season is right around the corner and 2020 is coming to a close. When I picture the holidays this is what immediately comes to mind; sitting around the living room laughing with family after we’ve gorged ourselves on wonderful food and maybe a glass or two of red wine. Thinking about this gives me that warm fuzzy feeling; but it also makes my bladder and pelvic floor cringe just a little bit. Ladies, you know what I am talking about; you’re two glasses of wine in and old Uncle Charlie says something that has you spitting out your wine with laughter and then subsequently running to the bathroom because you feel like you’re going to pee your pants!

The Holiday Season may look a little different this year and old Uncle Charlie might not actually be at your house due to the pandemic. But I still hope your holidays are full of good food, good wine, and lots of laughs (just minus the leaking). How do we accomplish that you ask? You’ll have to refer to food and wine magazines regarding the first two things. And give Uncle Charlie a call for the laughs. But, for not peeing your pants?, I can help with that! 

Let’s talk about leaking and bladder irritants and what we can do to help decrease those symptoms. Leaking can be caused by many things; dysfunction in your pelvic floor muscles is the main reason (which can be treated easily with pelvic floor physical therapy) but what we eat and drink can also change the way our bladder reacts. There are a handful of things that we classify as a “Bladder Irritant”.  Let’s discuss those commonly found at the holiday table. 

  • Alcohol 

  • Foods with acidic properties (think cranberry sauce)

  • Coffee 

  • Chocolate

  • Milk/dairy products (many holiday dishes have milk, cream or cheese added to them)

Generally, I suggest that people try to limit the quantity of these bladder irritants in their diet; but I bend the rules some for the holidays. Overall you still want to be aware of what you’re ingesting and keep track of how many bladder irritants you’re consuming; but it’s the Holidays so go ahead and have that second glass of wine! Because many bladder irritants are also diuretics, that extra glass of wine can lead to dehydration. 

I suggest you are also increasing the amount of water you are drinking. This can seem counterintuitive. Women think, if I drink more water won’t I have to pee more? Won’t I actually leak more because my bladder is fuller? That actually isn’t the case.  Dehydration in and of itself is a bladder irritant. Very dark concentrated urine is irritating to the bladder surface and may cause you to go to the bathroom more frequently than when you are properly hydrated.

The take home is: enjoy your holidays! We all deserve a little rest and relaxation at the end of the long year that has been 2020. Just make sure to drink a little more water and maybe take a smaller portion of that cranberry sauce for dinner. And as always, if you are struggling with any sort of leaking, pelvic floor physical therapy is a very helpful tool to help you get back on track! Feel free to give us a call or shoot us an email if you have any questions about it.

-Kate Dolan, DPT

GNPT Welcomes Rita Pascoe

Great Northern Welcomes Rita Pascoe!Great Northern is excited to announce that starting mid- September we are hiring a new Physical Therapist, Rita, who specializes in neurological rehab! Rita was born and raised on a farm and ranch near Red Lodge, Montana, where she...

Physical Therapists Help Active People Live Better

Physical Therapists Help Active People Live BetterPhysical therapy has a lot of benefits for active people. Athletes, weekend warriors, and people who work in physically demanding jobs can all benefit from the expertise of a physical therapist. Here are 3 ways...

Change in Weather…Change in Exercise

Great Northern Physical Therapy Ph: 406-586-4678 Fax: 406-586-4670 Changes in the Weather Mean Changes to Your Exercise Bozeman, MT March 2023 When the weather gets cold, you should make some changes to how you exercise. We're not talking about...

Breathing and Your Pelvic Floor

The pelvic floor is certainly a hot topic of conversation for many men and women. Specifically, people begin to focus on their pelvic floor when they are having incontinence, urgency/frequency, prolapse, or pain associated with going to the bathroom or having sex. These are all issues related to pelvic floor dysfunction. But, what many don’t realize, is that your pelvic floor is also integral in one of our most basic functions: breath.

The diaphragm, our respiratory muscle, is located at the bottom of the ribcage. At rest, the diaphragm is a domelike shape, and with inhalation the diaphragm muscle contracts and drops downward toward your pelvis. This downward motion is followed by a shifting downward of internal organs, into the pelvic bowl. The pelvic floor muscles and fascia make up the bottom of the pelvic bowl. So, with this downward force during inhalation, the pelvic floor muscles also descend or stretch slightly downward. Immediately following inhalation and pelvic floor descent, is exhalation, and similarly, the pelvic floor follows the diaphragm as it rises upward to a resting position. This synchronous rising and falling of the diaphragm and pelvic floor is often referred to as the “piston effect”.

Not to be left out, the lower abdominal muscles (transverse abdominis) also contribute to this synchronous movement pattern. Working together by relaxing and stretching with inhalation and a “belly breath”, and tightening and drawing inward slightly with exhalation. In this way, the diaphragm, abdominals, and pelvic floor make up an abdominal cylinder that modulates intra-abdominal forces and pressure changes.

When this cylinder isn’t coordinating well together, or if there is tightness or weakness within the system, we see common musculoskeletal complaints: low back pain, SIJ pain, poor stability through the back and pelvis, hip pain, pelvic pain, incontinence, urgency/frequency of urine or stool, prolapse, poor posture, balance issues, and intolerance to exercise.

Our pelvic floor physical therapists can help evaluate these movement patterns and coordination of these systems, and create a treatment approach specific to you and your individual challenges.