Did you know that diaphragmatic breathing can help with that “gotta go” anxiety feeling that accompanies urinary urgency and incontinence? About 40% of women in the United States experience urinary urgency, the feeling of having to urinate right now, or urinary frequency, having to pee too often. Many also know the angst that accompanies wondering if we’ll make it to the bathroom in time. These are real worries associated with bladder health and create symptoms that affect the quality of people’s lives. In fact, bladder symptoms have been associated with conditions such as anxiety and depression.
Bladder angst has been substantiated in the scientific community. Recent research identifies the influence of stress and psycho-social factors on the development or exacerbation of bladder symptoms. A study of chronic psychological stress also shows that animals placed in stressful conditions experienced more bladder urgency, frequency and pain.
So what can be done to alleviate symptoms? Breathing!
Behavioral training has been used for overactive bladder syndrome (defined as frequent urination with or without urine leakage) and bladder pain symptoms. This technique focuses on improving voluntary control over bladder symptoms. One important area of control is using the breath. Breath control can be used as a “suppression” technique to gain control over the bladder symptoms of urgency and/or frequency.
There are actually several ways to breathe, but most of us aren’t conscious of the way we breathe, or how it may affect our bladders. Breathing into the belly takes thought and some practice to be tension free and expansive. Belly breathing is known as diaphragm breathing, and it helps decrease stress and anxiety associated with overactive bladder or painful bladder syndromes. Typically, when people are anxious they tend to take rapid, shallow breaths from the chest, and reversing this with belly breathing improves symptoms.
Tension free diaphragmatic breathing affects the autonomic nervous system which works to regulate bodily functions such as the heart rate, respiratory rate, and urination. In addition to reduced urinary urges, diaphragmatic breathing helps with a whole host of other stress-related symptoms and contributes to less angst all around.
Please enjoy and share the free download on how to perform tension free diaphragmatic breathing. Your bladder will thank you.