How Mindfulness & Meditation Can Help an Overactive Bladder
9 May 2023 | Admin
Whether it's urge incontinence as soon as you approach your front door key in hand, or whether you can't jump on a trampoline for fear of little leaks, living with an overactive bladder can be challenging which is why our range of Cheeky reusable incontinence products were developed.
However, there are alternative approaches which can offer relief and improve the quality of life for anyone facing this condition.
One such approach is the practice of mindfulness and meditation. I've been trialling for the last few weeks and it definitely helps with my urge incontinence.
In this blog post, we will explore what mindfulness is and how it can benefit anyone with an overactive bladder, urge or stress incontinence. We will also provide practical tips on including meditation in your everyday life to help manage your urinary incontinence effectively. Although our reusable incontinence pants and pads are great, you shouldn't need to wear them all the time 'just in case'.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the practice of being present in your body at this moment in time. Being aware of where you are and what you're doing but not reacting to or being overwhelmed by what's going on around you.
It's awareness and acceptance of one's thoughts and feelings, and bodily sensations in the present moment.
Mindfulness practices can take various forms, such as meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises. These techniques aim to cultivate a state of calmness and inner focus, which can be really helpful for anyone managing an overactive bladder.
I've been interested in mindfulness / hypnotherapy / breathing for around 18 years now, since I was pregnant with my eldest son. I listened to hypnotherapy CD's in the run up to his birth in preparation for labour.
When things went pear-shaped during labour and the team filed with people in scrubs ready to do a C-section, being able to reconnect to that mindful breathing saved me from surgery. That's because it helped me relax and disengage from the 'fight or flight' state that my body was in.
I've used that technique of conscious breathing to relax in other stressful or uncomfortable situations, such as visiting the dentist, my smear test and having a coil fitted.
Being able to focus on the present and pay attention and relax my body right here, right now helped me with emotion regulation, reducing stress and stress anxiety.
It really helps, so I was keen to see how it could help my overactive bladder and latch key urge to urinate.
How Can Mindfulness Help with an Overactive Bladder?
Mindfulness can help with an overactive bladder by helping alleviate anxiety and stress, which are known triggers for overactive bladder symptoms.
Research has shown that it is is as effective as traditional drug treatments and bladder training in reducing urge incontinence and improving incontinence-related quality of life.
But what does that mean in real life? Why should it work?
Because practicing mindfulness based stress reduction / breathing / meditation helps focus awareness and control of your body's signals and sensations.
For me, when I got that 'urge' as soon as I reached home, it meant taking a deep breath and consciously relaxing my body from head to toe.
Releasing the tension in my pelvic floor muscles meant that the 'urge' to pee, whilst still there, was manageable, enabling me to get into the house without accidents!
Meditation for an Overactive Bladder
Meditation can help you get your overactive bladder under control. Here’s our top tips on how to practice meditation for an overactive bladder.
How to Meditate
Here's our top tips on how to meditate:
- Find a quiet and comfortable space where you won't be disturbed
- Sit in a comfortable position, with your back straight and relaxed
- Close your eyes or softly gaze at a fixed point
- Focus your attention on your breathing. Observe the inhalation and exhalation without trying to control or manipulate it
- When thoughts arise, acknowledge them without judgment, let them go and gently bring your focus back to your breath
- Start with shorter sessions, such as 5-10 minutes, and gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable
Enhance your meditation practice with the following meditation aids:
- Guided Meditation Apps: Apps like Headspace or Calm offer guided meditation sessions specifically designed for stress reduction and relaxation. I particularly like Matthew McConaghey's bedtime stories on Calm!
- Meditation Music: Find soothing instrumental or nature sounds that promote a sense of calm and tranquility during your meditation practice. Spotify have a few that I really like such as the sound of waves crashing on a shore. Or rainforest sounds!
- Essential Oils: Consider using essential oils such as lavender, chamomile, or frankincense, known for their relaxation properties. Apply them to pulse points or use an oil diffuser which is my preference.
Consistency is key when it comes to reaping the benefits of mindfulness and meditation and when I have been stressed I have found just 10 mins in the morning helps set me up for the day. Incorporate the following tips to establish a regular meditation practice:
- Set a Schedule: Allocate a specific time each day for meditation, such as in the morning or before bedtime, to create a routine.
- Start Small: Begin with shorter meditation sessions and gradually increase the duration as you progress.
- Be Patient: Meditation is a skill that takes time to develop. Be gentle with yourself and embrace the process.
By incorporating mindfulness and meditation into your daily life, you can potentially find relief from overactive bladder symptoms and enhance your overall well-being. If you're seeking reusable incontinence products or kits, Cheeky Pants can help. Our team all use the products themselves and are happy to help - nothing is TMI!
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About the Author: Helen Rankin is founder of Cheeky Wipes, the original environmentally sustainable baby wipes kit, founded in 2008. Fast forward a few more years and having 4 children meant that internal period protection was no longer an option, so Helen developed the range of Cheeky Pants & Pads. The Cheeky Team pride themselves on helping people make the switch to reusables EASY, nothing is TMI! Cheeky Wipes were awarded the Queens Award for Enterprise for their sustainable development goals in 2021.