Hydration is one of the simplest and most important steps you can take to maintain a healthy body, but most people don’t drink enough water.
All of us have made conscious attempts to up our water intake at some point in our lives; it goes well for about an hour. You’re 3 glasses down and feeling great — like you could take on the world! Like your skin is glowing! Like you could run a marathon… Maybe!
Then, reality sets in. Reality that feels a little like a small child tugging at your sleeve, bugging you in the middle of work, school, a party, telling you it’s time to go. And so you go. And then you go again. And again. And it never seems to end.
So you think, is it worth it? If my entire life is an endless stream of pee, do I even care to make that sacrifice for a healthier body, clearer skin, and better moods? Do I care that dehydration could mean more headaches, a flakier scalp, and lightheadedness?
Well, the truth is that you should care. Your body is approximately 70% water, so it is crucial to stay hydrated. However, it can get annoying having to interrupt your day to make extremely frequent bathroom trips.
Here are some tips and tricks to quiet your overactive bladder for when you’re on that hydration struggle.
Ditch the diuretics
Coffee and alcohol are the major offenders here, but tea, chocolate, and soda are also on the potential blacklist.
We know, it can be hard to separate from these beloved foods and drinks, but it may help you in the long run to ixnay on the offeecay. These substances are both stimulants and diuretics and may increase your gotta-go feeling.
No, we’re not saying that 20 minutes on the elliptical will give you a bladder of steel. Rather, specific muscle toning exercises may help you strengthen your core to the point where you can physically stop yourself from peeing your pants.
So, working your lower abs, back, and inner thighs and doing Kegel exercises won’t make you feel any less pressed to go to the bathroom, but it may help in your ability to hold it until a more convenient time.
Make it a habit
We can rattle off a list of rumored hacks telling you that eating 500 saltines per hour will quiet your bladder (Spoiler: It won’t), but the number one way to stay properly hydrated without having to live in the bathroom is simply to get your bladder used to it.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a small bladder. It can be helpful to think of a bladder as two objects. The first is a balloon, which is meant to expand and contract. By this logic, a bladder, no matter how anatomically small, can expand to hold copious amounts of pee.
The second object is a sponge; like a sponge needs to get wet to retain any water, a bladder needs to be constantly saturated with water in order to expand enough to hold onto it.
So, if you are not regularly drinking enough water, your “sponge” could be getting too dry, and your “balloon” could, consequently, not be stretched out enough to hold all that water.
There is, unfortunately, no easy way to skip the uncomfortable peeing-every-2-seconds phase, but the good news is that it is just a phase.
The exact amount of water needed varies depending on weight, diet, age, exercise routine, and many other factors, but the general rule is to drink whenever you are thirsty. Listen to the cues your body gives you, because it knows when it is in need of water.
And as long as you develop a habit out of staying properly hydrated, your bladder will grow accustomed to the intake, your sponge will start to hold onto the water, and your pee frequency will be back to normal.