November is National Bladder Health Month, and we’re glad to provide some helpful tips to keep your bladder healthy as part of our efforts to spread awareness.
The bladder is an organ that often goes unrecognized in its impact on your body’s health until it stops working the way it should. However, it’s a crucial part of your urinary system as well as your overall well-being. Even your emotions can be impacted by bladder issues.
If you live with a condition that affects the way your bladder works, you’re not alone. In fact, urinary incontinence, for example, affects anywhere from 1/4 to 1/3 of all men and women in the United States. This is why it’s important to bring awareness about bladder health as a first step of getting rid of the stigma associated with issues like incontinence, neurogenic bladder, and more.
Top 5 Tips for Bladder Health
1. Stay hydrated and avoid potential bladder irritants.
Of course, drinking the right amount of water is necessary for your bladder’s health as well as your body’s health. Water helps your entire urinary system flush waste from your body.
However, caffeine and alcohol are both bladder irritants. Caffeine, which is often found in soda, coffee, and tea, acts as a diuretic. Diuretics can overstimulate the bladder and also dehydrate you. Discuss your diet with your doctor. They may suggest that you avoid or limit caffeine or alcohol, particularly if you’re living with urinary incontinence or a condition like Interstitial Cystitis.
2. Quit smoking.
Did you know that smoking or vaping tobacco actually increases the risk of bladder cancer? If you smoke, you are actually 2 to 3 times more likely to develop bladder cancer than non-smokers. The chemicals in tobacco are filtered through your lungs, out of your blood, and finally into the urinary system as waste. Eventually, these chemicals may affect the lining of the bladder. In turn, this increases the risk of cancer. Among the other many reasons to quit smoking, this is certainly an important one to consider.
3. Lose excess weight.
If you are overweight, working to lose weight can also help reduce symptoms of stress urinary incontinence. When extra weight presses down on the bladder and the supporting muscles, it makes it harder for your body to hold on to the fluid inside the bladder, which can cause leakage, especially when you laugh, cough, sneeze. Daily exercise and eating right can help you get closer to your fitness goals as well as improve your bladder’s health.
4. Do your daily Kegel exercises.
Just like lifting weights strengthens and tones your muscles, Kegel exercises are important for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles that support the bladder and the urethra, which can have a very positive effect and lessens symptoms of incontinence. Learn more about how to perform Kegels here.
5. Talk to your doctor.
If you are experiencing any unusual symptoms, such as urine leakage, an inability to void your bladder, or any pain/discomfort in the pelvic region or when urinating, be sure to schedule an appointment to see a healthcare professional that can best diagnose what’s going on as well as determine a proper treatment plan.
Some people avoid going to see a urologist or their general practitioner about their “bathroom troubles” because it can feel embarrassing. However, it’s important to remember that doctors will not judge or laugh. They are there to get you well again.
If you need to use intermittent catheters or incontinence supplies as part of your doctor’s treatment plan, we’re happy to help you find the right products. Contact us today to speak with one of our trained, friendly specialists.