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Bladder 101

Keeping your Bladder Happy

  • A normal bladder can hold up to 2 cups of urine comfortably

  • For women, bladder voids are 6-8 times per day, men maybe slightly less.

  • As we age, bladder capacity may reduce and we may need to empty more often, but every two hours should still be sufficient

  • Nocturia, or waking to empty the bladder at night, is when you get up more than 2x a night (we like zero wakings at night to void)

  • You should never strain or push to empty the bladder. Be relaxed, lean forward to help empty.

  • Urgency happens when the bladder is stretched during filling. An urge is a signal to go to the restroom but is not a command. You can be taught to control urgency.


  • Drinking water may actually reduce urinary leakage. Maintain good hydration habits. Drinking half your body weight, in ounces of water, herbal tea, non-caffeinated and non-carbonated beverages reduces the acidity of the urine and helps keep the bladder healthy.

  • Alcohol and coffee may sabotage your bladder. But good news, hydrate with water a full glass prior to enjoying your cocktail or java and the irritating substances will be reduced.

  • Constipation may also irritate the bladder. Maintain a balanced diet of dietary fiber and drinking enough water will help maintain good bowel emptying habits.

Optimal Bladder Habits

  • Do not rush emptying your bladder, sit down and/or lean forward, breathe deeply and relax the pelvic floor muscles to signal a release of the bladder. Be sure to get a full emptying of the bladder prior to leaving the toilet. For men who prefer to stand, lean forward when releasing your muscles to urinate.

  • Try not to go “just in case” or empty the bladder prior to 2 hours after last void. This may teach the bladder to not fill all the way. It is ideal to ignore urgency prior to the 2-hour interval to retrain the bladder to fill normally and empty normally. This reduces strong urgency sensations.

  • Waiting more than 3-4 hours to empty the bladder may not be good for the bladder either. This is a major cause of leakage and urinary incontinence. Do not set yourself up for failure!


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