Behavioural Modification

Bladder Drills

These exercises are indicated if you are urinating more frequently than every 3-4 hours and if you experience a sudden urgency to urinate which is difficult to defer. You need to retrain your bladder to hold more urine.

The first week: Empty your bladder every hour during the day, whether you need to or not. Try to avoid going more frequently than that. Try to sleep through the night.
The second week: Empty your bladder every hour during the day, whether you need to or not. Try to avoid going more frequently than that. Try to sleep through the night.
Increase the time between toilet visits by 15 minutes to one and a quarter hours.
The third week and beyond: Continue to increase the time by 15 minutes every week until you can last for up to 3-4 hours between trips to the bathroom. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK: Be careful to continue with good bladder habits!

If the urge comes too often or strongly, do NOT run to the bathroom but rather try the following:


  • stop what you are doing and stay still
  • squeeze the pelvic floor muscles repeatedly; after a few squeezes the urge will diminish or go away
  • relax the rest of your body
  • walk to the bathroom at a normal pace or wait until later to go
  • focus on something else, like counting backwards
  • wait until the urge goes away
Avoidance of bladder irritants

Certain foods, drinks and smoking affect your bladder. They can irritate your bladder to the point where they cause a frequent, sudden need to urinate, as well as frequent urination. Smoking also increases your risk of developing bladder cancer.

If there are any items from the following list that you consume regularly, try to stay away from them for a few days to see if you notice any improvement. You may want to cut back gradually, as in the case of coffee, rather than go cold turkey.


  • Acidic foods
  • Citrus (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit)
  • Pineapple
  • Apple
  • Cranberry
  • Vinegar
  • Spicy foods
  • Mexican
  • Cajun
  • Asian
  • Marinated foods
  • Tomato products
  • Juice
  • Cooking sauce and paste
  • Caffeinated products
  • Tea
  • Cola
  • Coffee
  • Chocolate
  • Energy drinks
  • Artificial sweeteners (aka aspartame, nutrasweet, sorbitol etc)
  • Diet drinks
  • Chewing gum
  • Certain yogurts
  • Many no sugar, low calorie products
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
Healthy bowel habits

This information applies to you if you experience constipation or if your bowel movements are too loose, possibly resulting in leakage of stool.
Do not make all these changes at once but rather slowly modify your dietary habits to avoid pain, bloating or diarrhea


  • Fibre
    You need 25-35 grams of fibre per day. Please read the labels of foods you consume and count your fibre grams. Fibre gives your stool adequate consistency and helps your large intestine to move the stool through
    Use high-fibre cereal and sprinkle extra fibre over it (wheat bran, ground flax seeds etc).
    Go up on your fibre intake slowly by about 5 grams more a day per week until you reach your goal of 25-35 grams per day
  • Water and other non-irritating beverages
    You need 6-8 cups per day for adequate hydration and good bowel health; that does not include fluids you ingest through your food intake (ex: soup or milk with cereal)
  • Fruits and vegetables
    They are good sources of fibre and they contain plenty of water
    Eat whole fruits with peels instead of fruit juices
    Snack on raw vegetables instead of chips, crackers or chocolate bars
    Grate or puree vegetables if you have trouble chewing them raw
    Eat more beans, peas and lentils
    Add fruit to cereal, muffins or oatmeal
    Enjoy dried fruit and stir-fried vegetables more often
    Mix 1 cup raisins, 1 cup pitted dates, 1 cup pitted prunes soaked in water overnight and 1 cup natural bran; puree in a blender along with liquid from prunes and enjoy as a delicious, nutritious fibre-laden fruit spread
  • Carbohydrates
    Replace white rice, bread and pasta with brown and whole grain alternatives
  • Exercise
    Believe it or not, it helps food digest and keeps it moving through your bowels
    Take stairs instead of elevators
    Walk 30 minutes per day
    Park at the end of the lot instead of close to the entrance
  • Please talk to your doctor if you experience distressing abdominal pain, bloating, fatigue, blood in your stool, diarrhea, a change in the caliber/diameter of your stool, fever, or if you have family members with cancers of the colon, uterus, breast or ovary.
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