Getting Through a Round
An average round of golf takes about four hours to complete. That’s four hours with little or no access to a restroom — a problem for those who urinate frequently.
Frequent urination is when you need to urinate more than six to eight times throughout a 24-hour period. It is a problem that both men and women may face, and it is the symptom of many different conditions, including overactive bladder, prostate and bladder cancers and even diabetes.
In women, urinary frequency is often caused by pelvic floor dysfunction and can be accompanied by urinary leakage. In men, urinary frequency is usually associated with an enlarged, obstructing prostate.
Sometimes, golfers don’t drink while on the course — for hours — just so they can make it through a round, and that’s not the best solution, says Dr. Richard Frink, chief of Urology at Middlesex Health and a member of the Connecticut State Golf Association.
“Staying hydrated is essential to playing golf well and preventing heat stroke during the warm summer months,” he says. “When you are dehydrated, your muscles and mind don’t work as well.”
But what do you do if you frequently have to urinate, but want to play golf?
The best solution is to see a doctor. Dr. Frink says your primary care provider is a good place to start. They can review your medications and check for a urinary infection, or for blood in your urine. They can also check for diabetes and do cancer screenings, such as a PSA test. A PSA test is a blood test that screens men for prostate cancer.
Ultimately, you may be referred to a urologist who can usually make a diagnosis without any intrusive testing and determine how best to treat the problem. Most men and women respond to a combination of behavior modification, education and drug therapy.
Through the Middlesex Health Center for Continence & Pelvic Health, urologists work collaboratively with providers from other specialties to help those who deal with urinary incontinence and other pelvic health conditions.
“Most patients who are evaluated and treated notice significant improvement in their quality of life — and, hopefully, their golf game,” Dr. Frink says. “Golf is hard enough without feeling like you have to urinate all of the time.”
Possible medical solutions
- Both women and men can benefit from physical therapy to strengthen the pelvic floor. This helps to inhibit the urge to urinate and prevent incontinence.
- Medications are available to suppress the urge to urinate.
- Neuromodulation is a group of therapies that can damper nerve activity that is overstimulating a bladder, and these therapies can include posterior tibial nerve stimulation, Botox injections into the bladder and sacral nerve stimulation.
- For those who need it, there are in-office procedures and minimally invasive outpatient surgeries. Some women may benefit from pelvic floor reconstruction surgery, while some men may need a prostate artery embolization or a prostatectomy.
Actions you can take
- Make lifestyle changes like modifying what you eat and drink
- Stay away from alcoholic, caffeinated and acidic beverages that are stimulating to the bladder
- Stick with water and non-carbonated beverages
- Avoid spicy foods, which can irritate the bladder
- Lose weight (if appropriate)
- Stop smoking
- Prevent constipation
- Go to the bathroom before you start a round, and whenever a bathroom is available, regardless of whether you have the urge
- Know the location of the restrooms on the course to minimize the anxiety that leads to urinary urgency
- Wear bladder leakage protection, such as Depends, if needed
For more information on Middlesex Health Urology, click here.
Acupuncture, a form of integrative medicine, can ease pain and help with stress management. (This could ultimately improve your golf game.) Acupuncture can also help if you are dealing with long COVID!
Middlesex Health is proud to announce that Middlesex Hospital has earned its sixth consecutive nursing Magnet® designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center.