A healthy urinary stream is continuous, effortless and feels relieving. If you’re not experiencing all of these, your pelvic floor may be the issue! When the pelvic floor isn’table to relax and open fully to allow urine to flow easily, symptoms might include the need to strain during voiding, a start/stop experience when urinating and a feeling of incompletely voiding.
The pelvic floor is a hammock-like group of muscles at the base of the pelvis. This diamond-shaped musculature runs from the front of the pubic bone to back tailbone and has side attachments to a deep hip muscle. It surrounds the urethra, a hose-like structure and has a sphincteric function, so it opens and closes to allow the exit of urine or to maintain continence. When the pelvic floor is closed around the urethra it squeezes the hose shut. Without the ability to relax your pelvic floor muscles, there is no hope of having urine pass through the tightly shut door.
To have a steady urinary stream your muscles of the pelvic floor need to relax, along with a very gentle contraction from your abdominal muscles.
If you find yourself struggling with initiating a steady stream, try some of the following tips for success:
- Sit on the toilet, do not squat over the toilet and hover! Doing the standard “hover-and-hold” like most women do when using a toilet in a public space, actually keeps the pelvic floor contracted. Use the toilet seat paper that most establishments offer in their restrooms and sit to allow best function.
- Turn on the faucet or listen to running water. Hearing the sound of running water will stimulate the urge to go. If you don’t want to waste water, listen to some free YouTube recordings of waterfalls, or rain.
- Do a few diaphragmatic breaths prior to peeing to activate the parasympathetic “rest and digest” nervous system to enhance your urine flow. Put one hand on your
- stomach and the other on your chest, with each inhale try to expand your stomach without moving the hand on your chest. Diaphragmatic breathing relaxes the entire body including the pelvic floor!
- Make a sound! When voiding make a low “shhhhhh” or “grrrrrrr” sound to activate the core which supports the bladder while lengthening the pelvic floor muscles and opening the urethral door.
- Apply gentle manual overpressure to the bladder region. Place your hands over your lower abdomen. As you exhale, gently press in and down towards your pubic bone.
Lean forward at the end of voiding, especially if you have a prolapse, to make sure all urine has emptied out.