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Sunday, November 11, 2007

How to avoid "Nurse's Bladder"

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What is thie phenomenon called "Nurse's Bladder"?

In 1991 A.L. Bendtsen, MD, coined the term "nurse's bladder" when his research revealed that 70% of nurses in a Danish study suppressed the desire to void during working hours. "Nurse's bladder is probably not due to the workplace provind inadequate facilities for work breaks but the fact that nurses are too busy," he wrote. Ignoring the bladder's need to empty can lead to overdistension, urinary incontinence and urinary tract infections. Since most nurses, regardless of work setting, experience high patient loads, heavy demands, and long workdays that may interfere with regular bathroom breaks, new behaviors focusing on bladder health must occur.

Women of all ages may have bladder control problems. Stress incontinence, the most common form of urinary incontinence in women, is causes when abdominal pressure is exerted on the bladder by coughing, sneezing, bending or some other physical activity. It is not causes by a defect in the bladder but is a result of weakness in the pelvice floor or urethra. Younger working women may find that they have stress incontinence when they are pregnant or after child birth, owing to the weakening or stretching of the pelvic floor muscles.

The following may help:

Drink six to eight glasses of water daily. Drinking adequate amounts of fludes will help your bladder function correctly and prevents constipation.

Maintain regular bowel function. Constipation and straining during a bowel movement increase pressure on the bladder. Increase your fluid and fiber intake and exercise to promote reqularity.

Void at appropriate intervals. Normal bladder function is characterized by a three- to four-hour interval between voiding.

Avoid being overweight. Obesity increase abdominal pressure and may result in urinary incontinence.

Quit smoking. Nicotine irritates the detrusor muscle and causes bladder contraction and urgency. A smoker's frequent coughing can cause urinary leakage.

Avoid bladder irritants. Some drinks and foods can make urine control harder, particularly foods with caffeine (coffee, tea, cola or chocolate). Alcoholic beverages can overload the bladder and citrus juices also can cause bladder irritation.

Perform pelvic muscle exercise. Kegel exercise (also known as pelvic muscle exercise) consist of contracting your pelvic floor muscles for three seconds and then relaxing them for three seconds. Perform theses exercises at least twice daily in sets of 10 while sitting, standing or lying down.

Avoid pressure on the bladder. Be aware of situations that increase bladder pressure such as lifting, bending, awkward positions, coughing, sneezing, and laughing.

Attend to the urge to void. It is important to avoid overdistention of the bladder. If you feel the urge to urinate, take a bathroom break.

Seek professional care if bladder control becomes a problem. Talk to a professional who specilizes in bladder health.

Maintain overall health and fitness.

REFERENCE: American Journal of Nursing
Bendtsen AL, et al. Infrequent voiders syndrome (nurses bladder). Prevalence among nurses and assitant nurses in a surgical ward. Scand J Urol Nephrol 1991; 25(3):201-4

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