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Bladder difficulties this holiday season? Check out these tips to help! 

Putting up a Christmas tree, stringing the lights, getting all your Christmas shopping done… This is just the beginning of the holiday festivities! The holidays can lead to big changes in our day-to-day routine – after all, this is a busy time of year with lots to do! These changes can bring joy, but they can also mean stress for people dealing with pelvic health problems, like pain, an overactive bladder, constipation, and more.

A few things that can cause bladder flare-ups around the holidays are:

  • Alcohol consumption:
    • The holidays are a great time to relax, but you should be aware of the effect alcohol can have on your pelvic floor. Drinking too much can increase bladder leaks. Alcohol often has the same effect on urine flow as caffeine does- so while it’s okay to enjoy a few drinks around this time of year, it’s best if you manage your intake mindfully, especially if you struggle with bladder leaks.
  • Dietary Changes:
    • Between a full Christmas dinner and all the delicious desserts you could want, our holiday eating habits tend to be quite different from our normal eating habits. This might lead to less fruits, veggies, and natural fiber in our diets, and often getting way less water too. These dietary changes can make us more likely to develop constipation. As you know, constipation affects our bladders too! These habits can also lead to dehydration, as we exchange water for holiday drinks and wine and forget to get the proper fluid intake in.
  • Stress:
    • The holidays are a joyful time, but also extremely stressful! Changes in routine, traveling, meeting families, attending different events, and the financial pressure to get gifts for everyone. All of this can lead to feelings of overwhelm. Our pelvic floor muscles are known to be threat responders, and your pelvic floor muscles can over-activate to guard and protect you from all that stress. However, your protective pelvic floor muscles can often worsen symptoms like constipation, pelvic pain, back pain, hip pain and incontinence if they become too tense.
  • Change in Routine
    • Did you know that our bowels love habits and consistency? Many of our patients make progress by building habits that support good pelvic health. Some great habits to build are staying hydrated every day, eating healthy, taking time to poop every morning, meditation, making time for exercise or could be anything else. It can, though, be really hard to keep these routines up over the holidays because it’s such a hectic time, which might lead to worsening of symptoms.

So let’s talk about how you can make it work during holidays without ignoring your pelvic health. Try these tips!

  • Prioritize yourself
    • With a little bit of discipline, you can still enjoy the holiday celebrations and not ignore your pelvic health. Prioritize what is important to you, and let go of the pressures of what you think “should” be happening. Prioritize joy, family, and quality-time, and remove any of the pressures and obligations that you have placed on yourself to make others happy.
  • Plan for healthy eating & hydration
    • I’m not asking you to forget all the delicious pies and cookies, but try to plan your day’s meals out to make sure you are eating fresh fruits and veggies, getting adequate fiber, and getting adequate hydration. Pick a meal or 2 to focus on eating well; for example, you can start your day with a healthy breakfast or have a satisfying and balanced lunch. Keep yourself hydrated before your fun evening.
  • Stress management
    • Stress makes your pain, bowel and bladder symptoms worse, which is why a lot of people notice their symptoms worsen during the holidays. Try to include your favorite stress relieving routine. It could be taking a warm bath, guided meditations/relaxation, some alone time with a cup of warm tea, journaling, yoga or exercises, breathing exercises, etc. Think about what feels relaxing and stress-reducing to you, then try to build that into your day.
  • Don’t miss your appointments.
    • If you have your doctor’s appointment, pelvic physio appointment, or exercise class booked, make yourself a priority. Make time to go for your daily walk or jog. Don’t forget about that self care.
  • Treat flare-ups with compassion
    • Despite trying everything, your symptoms still may worsen. You may have increased pain or constipation, bladder leaks, or find yourself waking up multiple times in the night to pee. This may compound into all those negative thoughts telling you that you are never going to get better, or that your body can’t handle busy holidays.

Take a slow deep breath and recognize what could have caused the symptoms: was it dehydration? Have you not been on top of doing your stretches? Is it stress caused by family members? Or maybe all those stressful conversations are getting to you?

Once you’ve identified the possible cause, gently make a plan to move forward. Get back on your self-care plan, book your pelvic physio appointment, do some breathing exercises, take some time to calm your system again. Build your plan, and start taking steps in the right direction. You will get through this!

For further advice and assistance with your pelvic health over the Christmas holidays, book an appointment with a caring and highly experienced Harmony Pelvic Physiotherapist! You can visit our online booking portal with the link below, and follow us on social media to keep up to date with everything we’re doing at the clinic!


Richa Rehan

Harmony Physiotherapy

"We Help Women Through Pelvic Pain, Pregnancy, Postpartum And Beyond So They Can Live Active, Confident, And Healthy Lives With The Help Of Conservative Management."