You use your bladder several times in a day, but have you ever thought of ways of keeping this organ working optimally? There is a high probability you don’t. Most people don’t even think about their bladder until normal functioning is altered. While this should not be the case, sadly, it is. Fortunately, this article will equip you with timeless tips for maintaining your overall bladder health now and later in life.
To help you take care of your bladder, it’s imperative you understand what it is and its function. The bladder is a flexible, sack-like organ located in the lower abdomen. The bladder’s elastic nature allows it to expand to hold urine and contract to expel urine through the urethra.
Why is your bladder health crucial as you age?
As you get older, your bladder wall changes. Your bladder loses elasticity, becoming stiff and rigid. A less-elastic bladder cannot stretch enough to hold as much urine as it used to. The result? Frequent visits to the toilet.
Furthermore, due to aging, your bladder wall and pelvic muscles may weaken, making it harder to empty the bladder. This dysfunction leads to leakage of urine, also referred to as urinary incontinence. Sometimes, urinary incontinence deteriorates to the point that urine leaks when you cough or sneeze.
Ways to keep your bladder healthy
While it’s impossible to control all the issues affecting your bladder health, there are some steps you can take to help maintain a healthy bladder as you age. These include:
Drinking enough water: You want a healthy bladder? Stay hydrated. Aim to drink at least six to eight glasses of water per day. If you have health conditions like heart failure and kidney issues, consult your doctor about the amount of fluids you should take.
Staying hydrated helps to dilute urine and prevent kidney stones. Too little water results in dark-yellow, foul-smelling urine that can irritate your bladder. Additionally, inadequate water intake could encourage the growth of bacteria that cause urinary tract infections. It also helps to add a lime or lemon in your drinking water to prevent kidney stones.
Practice eating a healthy diet: Food plays a vital role in maintaining your bladder in tip-top condition. Consider the intake of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) in your diet. EVOO not only averts inflammation in your bladder but also reduces the risk of high blood pressure and heart diseases.
Other foods to consider adding to your diet include:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Healthy fats like nuts and herring
- Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and turnips
Avoid sugary foods, carbonated drinks, alcoholic drinks, acidic fruits and spicy foods, as these foods can cause bladder irritation.
Keep a healthy weight: Being overweight comes with several health issues. And urinary incontinence is one of them. The more your weight increases, the more pressure you exact on your pelvic muscles that hold urine in the bladder. If the muscles weaken due to pressure, your urine may start leaking.
Practice good personal hygiene: Observing cleanliness down there is crucial, especially for women. Keeping your vagina dry and clean prevents bacteria that may make their way into your bladder. You can achieve this by keeping your underwear dry, wearing cotton panties and urinating after sex.
Exercise regularly: You could try Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic muscles. Regular exercises also reduce constipation and help you maintain a healthy weight.
Visit the bathroom as often as needed: Don’t wait too long to use the bathroom. Holding urine for too long can weaken your bladder muscles. It also increases the risk of infection.
Avoid constipation: Constipation builds up stool in your colon, putting pressure on your blood and restricts it from expanding as it should. Increase fiber intake to prevent constipation.
Visit your doctor frequently: Wrinkles and gray hair are some of the age-related signs that are obvious. But there are other changes happening in your body as you age. One is that your bladder changes with time and often in an unpleasant way. To keep your bladder healthy, talk to your doctor if you experience the following signs:
- Burning sensation or pain before and after urinating
- Urgent or sudden urge to urinate
- Bloody or cloudy urine
- Waking up several times to urinate at night
- Trouble emptying your bladder
Take control of your bladder health. You don’t need to shy away because of bladder problems. If you experience any of the signs above, make sure you visit your doctor. The good thing is that these bladder issues are treatable. With some medications or lifestyle changes, you can maintain a healthy, fully functioning bladder.