Wednesday, August 17, 2022
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The best way to relieve yourself

“Do you pee in the shower?”

This is kind of an awkward question, which very rarely is addressed by medical professionals to patients, parents to children, or friend to friend. 

Yet a study shows that millions of people are in the habit of taking a leak in the shower without ever having a second thought on the detrimental effects it might have on your health.

 

Read on to understand a few home truths —

 

The correct way to empty your bladder —

 

For women —

The perfect pee posture for women: 

Sit on the pot versus squatting, remember: females were not created to pee standing up.

Feet flat on the ground (to promote relaxation of your thigh muscles and your pelvic muscles and floor)

Elbows on knees so you lean forward (as if you are reading a newspaper on the floor)

This position helps empty both your bowel and bladder fully.

Professor Ajay Rane

 

For men —

Standing and peeing, empties your bladder correctly and fully.

While the position of standing and peeing is correct (for men) when you are under the shower, it is important to note that its time to get rid of the habit as soon as possible.

As Dr. Teresa Irwin explains —Peeing in the shower trains your brain to believe that you need to relieve your bladder every time you hear the sound of running water, it becomes a trigger for the bladder. So if you are washing your hands, washing dishes, in a swimming pool splashing around, on a trek watching a waterfall, or in Rome at the Trevi fountain, the sound of moving water is going to trigger the peeing sensation, aka your bladder is going to want to be emptied. 

It is an association created between the brain and the sound of running water and the urge to pee.

With this habit, of peeing in the shower, come on-going problems or side effects too —

  • The pelvic muscles and floor lose their strength and cause ‘leak issues’ every time you hear the sound of running water. Very embarrassing.
  • You will hold back on peeing at public toilets if you feel the urge, this is a sure shot invitation to bladder infections.
  • Wearing of sanitary pads or adult diapers becomes necessary on long trips outside your home.

 

The solution to this habit and the way to kick it is very simple; attempt to pee before you turn on the shower. Initially it may take a few minutes, but do not give up until you have emptied your bladder and then turn on the shower, with repeating this practice time and again, you will find that the sound of running water will no longer be a trigger and if by chance you do feel the urge, ignore it. You now know your bladder is definitely empty.

 

They say — it takes the human brain twenty-one days to make or break a habit. Consciously follow the steps — 

  1. Undress
  2. Pee
  3. Turn on shower
  4. Ignore the urge

You will be doing your body a bigger favour than saving the one flush of water.

It could happen that this habit gets difficult to kick, and turns into something more complicated, especially if you are the kind of person who puts off far too long heading to the doctors office when something is amiss.

Look-Listen-Feel for the following signs —

-Discomfort, pain or burning while urinating.

-Pain when urine passes out of the body, through the body, such as in the bladder, prostate (in men) or behind the pubic bone.

-Cloudy or overly smelly urine.

– Discharge from vagina or penis.

– Blood in the urine.

 

Urinary tract infection (UTI) — is a common infection caused by the build up of bacteria in the tract due to incorrect emptying of the bladder. It causes swelling and irritation, making urination painful.

Talk to your doctor —

Tell him —

– Your symptoms and for how long you have had them.

– Any pre-existing medical conditions.

– Medication you are currently on.

– Surgeries or procedures you have undergone in the past, especially in the abdominal area.

– Ask for the diagnosis, treatment, side effects and recovery period.

And some more home truths; not on peeing in the shower but keeping your ‘Pee’ areas clean at all times —

  • Never put off using the bathroom when needed, in fact intentionally go once every three to four hours. Holding urine for too long weakens your bladder muscles.
  • Take time to fully empty your bladder.
  • Wipe from front to back with non-scented toilet paper, better still use a spigot. This keeps gut bacteria from getting into the urethra.
  • Urinate after sex to lower risk of infection as bacteria can move from the bowel or vaginal opening to the urethral opening during sexual activity.
  • Wear cotton underwear.
  • Exercise – include pelvic floor exercises.
  • Watch your food, both what you eat and drink. Avoid; spicy food, artificial sweeteners, caffeine, alcohol, citrus/sour based food and drink. Drink a lot of water.
  • Quit smoking
  • Know your medication, some are diuretics and can cause leaks.

Don’t be a ‘head-in-sand’ type who puts off kicking habits that do not enhance your health anymore.

As you finish reading this article, have a conversation with yourself about your showering habits.

A way of protecting yourself from infections and doctors visits. 

Now that’s all we really want as older adults, isn’t it!

 

Vinita Alvares Fernandes
Vinita Alvares Fernandes is an Economics graduate, a writer and a Trinity College certified public speaker and communicator

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