Bladder and bowel

Some people have problems with control of their bladder or bowels after mini stroke (TIA) or minor stroke. This can affect some people emotionally or mentally. Don’t feel that you are on your own. Talk to your GP about possible support and check out the resources below.


woman sat holding cup of tea talking to others
Bladder or bowel problems are nothing to be embarrassed about and it is important to seek help.


What can I do to help myself?

1. Seek help

Speak to your GP:

  • They may be able to refer you to a continence adviser.
  • They can provide information about what is provided free of charge through your local NHS and what you can buy.
  • They can give you bladder and bowel training tips and exercises.

Visit the Anxiety and Low mood sections for information on emotional support.


2. Drink more water and less caffeine/ alcohol

3. Do pelvic floor exercises

  • Pelvic floor exercises can help improve your bladder and bowel control.
  • Be patient, it takes time to strengthen muscles.

Download information sheets for more information and pelvic floor exercises for men and women.

4. Train your bladder

  • Gradually extend the time between toilet visits.
  • Bladder retraining can take months, so stick with it.

Download this leaflet with more information on bladder training.

5. Get the free “just can’t wait card"

This card which makes it easier to access toilets in shops, restaurants and other buildings, including those not normally available to the general public. Click here for more information.

6. Plan ahead

  • Know where toilets are and take supplies like absorbent pads or a change of clothes.

7. Have a regular routine

  • Have regular toilet visits.
  • Stay hydrated during the day.
  • Reduce how much you drink just before bed.

Useful resources


These apps are recommended by the NHS: