Bladder health is an important part of your overall health, as it helps prevent infection, promotes the health of your kidneys, helps your body get rid of waste, and even helps your blood pressure. Keeping your bladder healthy does not have to be difficult. Here are our top ten tips that will help you to keep your bladder as healthy as possible.
1 - Staying Hydrated
Staying hydrated is an important component of good bladder health. If you are dehydrated, your urine will become more concentrated, meaning waste in your urine will not be diluted by water, as it should be. This will irritate the lining of your bladder and may increase your risk for a bladder infection, also called a urinary tract infection or UTI. Staying hydrated will also increase the amount of urine that is produced, flushing out the inside of your bladder and helping to get rid of any bacteria that could be present. If you are not hydrated enough, your urine will appear darker and may be tea-colored or amber. Your urine may also be cloudy or have an odor. Properly hydrated urine will be almost odorless, clear, and a light yellow or straw color. Staying hydrated is an important part of keeping a healthy bladder.
2 - Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle
Healthy lifestyle choices help you to keep your bladder healthy. The two most significant lifestyle factors that affect your bladder are your weight and how much you smoke. Extra weight can put pressure on your bladder and affect how efficiently the kidneys work. Smoking can decrease blood flow to the kidneys, causing them not to produce urine as well. It also raises the risk for bladder cancer. The more someone smokes, the more the effects of smoking will increase. By reducing or avoiding smoking, your overall bladder health will improve.
3 - Staying Physically Active
Being physically active increases blood flow throughout your body and to your kidneys. Staying active can also help you to maintain a healthy weight and avoid the bladder health problems that can occur with increased weight. Staying physically active doesn’t mean that you have to join a gym and work out for an hour every day. Simple things like going for a walk or taking the stairs when possible can help to keep you active and improve your bladder health.
4 - Doing Kegel Exercises
Kegel exercises are a specific type of exercise where you flex and relax the muscles in your pelvis that stop urination. Kegel exercises will strengthen your bladder and improve your ability to empty and control your bladder. To do a Kegel exercise, simply flex the muscle that you would use to stop urination, hold it for three seconds, then relax. Doing this in sets of ten at least three to five times a day will help you to quickly strengthen these muscles and lead to improvements in your bladder health.
5 - Using the Bathroom When Needed
Holding urine in can cause it to back up into your kidneys, decreasing their ability to produce urine as they should. Holding in urine can also stretch your bladder beyond its optimal size and lead to irritation. You can avoid this irritation and potential damage to your kidneys and bladder by simply emptying your bladder whenever you feel the urge to pass urine.
6 - Urinating Before and After Sex
During sex, bacteria on your skin may be displaced into areas where it is more likely to travel into your bladder, causing a bladder infection. Urinating before sex will help to flush bacteria from around the opening of the urethra. Urinating after sex will help to get rid of any urine that has been displaced into the urethra or bladder. Following the practice of urinating before and after sex will help to prevent bladder infections, especially for females.
7 - Limiting Alcohol and Caffeine
Alcohol and caffeinated drinks can irritate the lining of the bladder and can lead to decreased hydration, causing the kidneys not to function as well as they could. Limiting the amount of alcohol and caffeine used will promote good bladder health, although this does not mean that you have to avoid them altogether-- just ensure you are drinking extra water to offset dehydration.
8 - Emptying Your Bladder Every Time
The bladder is designed to slowly fill, then completely empty. If the bladder does not completely empty it will fill more quickly than normal and expand beyond what is healthy. Not completely emptying your bladder can also cause urine to back up into your kidneys, affecting your body’s ability to make urine correctly. Taking the time to empty your bladder fully will promote your overall bladder health.
9 - Wiping From Front to Back
This tip really only applies to women, but it is very important for helping women to maintain good bladder health. Wiping after urinating can move bacteria. Wiping back to front can move potentially harmful bacteria that comes from the gut towards the urethra, increasing the risk of a bladder infection. Wiping front to back will help keep these bacteria away from the urethra and decrease the risk of a bladder infection.
10 - Letting Your Doctor Know When You Have Concerns
When something isn’t working right with your bladder or when you notice a change in the way you urinate, letting your primary healthcare provider know as soon as possible will help you to avoid long-term problems that could develop. Some people who notice changes will let them go unaddressed, hoping that things will get better on their own. This can lead to lasting problems, especially if it is something that requires medical treatment. Consulting your primary healthcare provider whenever you have a change or concern will help you to maintain a healthy bladder.
Improving your bladder health doesn’t have to be complicated, and many of these tips can be easily included in someone’s normal routine. While this list of tips is not exhaustive, our top ten tips for bladder health will help you in maintaining the best bladder health possible!