The bladder is a muscular sac located in the pelvis, roughly the size of a pear when empty with a capacity somewhere between 400 and 600ml when full. It receives urine from the kidneys and stores it for excretion via the urethra.
It is a vital organ for keeping waste from building up within your body, and any disruption to this process due to poor bladder health can cause inflammation, bladder stones, infections, cancer, or incontinence, all of which can impact on your overall wellbeing.
There are a number of things that you can do to maintain bladder bladder health. Many of these are simple, lifestyle-related factors that can be easily monitored and managed throughout your day-to-day life, and there’s no reason why you should not be able to benefit from them all. Here are 8 helpful tips for bladder health.
It is a rule of thumb that you should drink 2 to 3 litres of water every day to stay in good health. Maintaining a healthy intake of fluids helps flush bacteria and toxins out of your body and can reduce the risk of bladder infection and UTIs. A healthy fluid intake also helps with constipation, which can cause your bowels to encroach on your bladder, causing inflammation and discomfort.
Smoking is a major risk factor for bladder cancer and should be avoided completely. Nicotine can also be an immediate bladder irritant.
Being overweight can place pressure on your bladder, causing irritation and discomfort. Getting plenty of exercise and maintaining a balanced diet is very important for your overall health and not in the least for your bladder.
There are many foods and drinks that are detrimental to bladder health and should be avoided as much as possible. Some tips for watching what you eat and drink to ensure a healthy bladder are:
• Avoid caffeine: caffeine is a diuretic, which means it increases the amount of urine you make. It also stimulates the bladder muscles, and thus the need to urinate.
• Avoid alcohol: alcohol is also a diuretic and has the same impact on the bladder as caffeine.
• Avoid artificial sweeteners: these are often found in diet soft drinks and other diet foods/drinks and are known to be bladder irritants.
• Avoid acidic fruits and juices: acidic food and drinks, such as citrus, tomatoes and apples can irritate the bladder. The same goes for spicy foods.
• Eat plenty of fibre: fibre helps reduce constipation, which we know can impact on bladder health.
• Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables: fruit and vegetables contain a plethora of goodies required for healthy bodily function, including the bladder.
• Reduce the amount of meat and gluten you eat: meat is acidic and can irritate the bladder, while lowering gluten intake can help to reduce irritation and decrease urinary urgency, frequency, and incontinence.
Kegel exercises help strengthen the muscles of your bladder that control urinary functions. Weak muscles can result in urinary incontinence, so doing kegel exercises every day can really help.
Urinating whenever you feel the urge and completely voiding your bladder when going to the bathroom can help reduce the risk or a urinary tract infection.
Urinating before and after intercourse helps flush any bacteria away, reducing the risk of a urinary tract infection for you and your partner.
Practicing good genital hygiene (especially before and after intercourse) will also help reduce the risk of a urinary tract infection.
If you have any further questions about bladder health and would like to book an appointment, please feel free to call today. Dr Arianayagam is one of the most respected urologists in Sydney, and is a one of the best urological surgeons in Sydney.