Top 5 Tips: How to Reduce Urinary Urgency
Urinary Urgency

Ask a PT: How to Reduce Urinary Urgency

People experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction and pain may also experience urinary urgency. This urgency often impacts their ability to do things we all take for granted, like attend social gatherings and parties. In this article, one of our Pelvic Floor Physical Therapists, Susannah Azofeifa, PT, DPT, shares her top 5 tips for reducing urinary urgency.

Here’s a summary of her list:

  1. Sip fluids throughout the day instead of all at once
  2. Diaphragmatic breathing
  3. Quick contractions of pelvic floor muscles
  4. Reduce bladder irritations in your diet
  5. Distract your brain

Below, Susannah shares details about each one of the techniques in this list.


5 Effective Ways to Reduce Urinary Urgency 

Let’s look at each of the tips listed to help reduce urinary urgency. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out. Maybe we’ll make a video or article to answer your specific question.


 1. Sip fluids throughout the day vs. all at once 

Hydrations for urinary urgencyI typically recommend drinking ~½ your body weight (lbs.) in oz. of fluid per day to stay properly hydrated. If you are very active, this should increase to ensure you are staying hydrated. If you sip throughout the day vs drink a lot at once, this can help to decrease a sudden urge to void. 


2. Diaphragmatic Breathing 

Pelvic Pain BreathingDeep diaphragmatic breathing can be performed anywhere (sitting, standing, waiting in line at the store, driving, etc.) and it is a very effective way to reduce urgency. During inhalation, the diaphragm dips down into the abdominal cavity and the pelvic floor can more readily relax. During exhalation, the diaphragm raises which is ideal for pelvic floor contraction. This allows the pelvic floor muscles to go through a full range of motion rather than being too tense or too relaxed and causing increased urgency or incontinence. 


3. Quick contractions of pelvic floor 

Pelvic Floor Urinary UrgencyAs with diaphragmatic breathing, quick contractions of the pelvic floor can help with urgency in the same way. This allows the pelvic floor muscles to move through an optimal range of motion vs. being “too relaxed” or “too overactive” – which can worsen symptoms. 


4. Reduce bladder irritants in your diet 

bladder irritantsBladder irritants are foods/drinks that can increase the urge to void. Some common, but not all inclusive, bladder irritants include: caffeine, coffee, tea, carbonated drinks, chocolate, tomatoes, citrus. Reducing the amount of these items day to day helps reduce urinary urgency. 


5. Distract your brain 

This may be the simplest, yet most effective way to decrease urgency. Your brain holds a lot of power when it comes to perception, pain and urgency (see one of our favorite books Why do I Hurt? to learn more). 

If you distract your brain and think of other tasks or something that is relaxing, it will take your mind off of the fact that you need to go to the bathroom. This can reduce the occurrences of leakage associated with urgency and increase void intervals if you are going to the bathroom often. 



Hopefully this list of 5 tips to reduce urinary urgency provides some insight and practical strategies you can implement in your daily routine. Pelvic floor dysfunction can be difficult to manage. If you live in the area and would like some help, check out our Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy page to learn how we can help.


Susannah Azofeifa, PT, DPT was born and raised in Owensboro, Kentucky but now calls North Augusta, SC home. She attended the University of Louisville and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology/Exercise Science in 2017. She then attended Breanu University where she received her doctorate of physical therapy in 2021. Susannah enjoys treating a wide range of orthopedic conditions and also specializes in treating pelvic floor dysfunction, and pre and post partum individuals. She enjoys spending time doing activities such as CrossFit, being outdoors, traveling, being with family, and spending time with her husband, Fabian. She heads up our Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy (PFPT) program here at ProActive.

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Rafi Salazar OT

Rafael E. Salazar II, MHS, OTR/L (Rafi) is the CEO & President of Proactive Rehabilitation & Wellness, as well as the Principal Owner of Rehab U Practice Solutions and the host of The Better Outcomes Show. He has experience in a variety of rehab settings, working with patients recovering from a variety of injuries and surgeries. He worked as the lead clinician in an outpatient specialty clinic at his local VA Medical center, where he worked on projects to improve patient & employee engagement and experience throughout the organization. He has experience as a faculty member at Augusta University’s Occupational Therapy Program, as a Licensed Board Member on the GA State OT Board, has served on several committees for the national OT Board (NBCOT), and as a consultant working for the State of Georgia’s DBHDD. He is also on the Board of Directors for NBCOT. Rafi also authored the book Better Outcomes: A Guide to Humanizing Healthcare