This is a guest post by Ren Williams.
The bladder is an overlooked but vital organ in the human body. Often we only think about its health when something goes wrong. But it’s important to look after your bladder now to avoid complications later in life.
There are many causes for over-active bladders and incontinence. Many women experience some bladder weakness post birth, and age is also a large factor in many health conditions. Incontinence is not inevitable though. Urinary Tract Infections are also a common problem for many people.
So what can you do to improve your bladder health now?
Lifestyle changes and natural remedies can keep your bladder stronger and healthier for longer. It doesn’t take much to make some changes that will improve the health of your bladder. Diet, exercise, and water are staples of good health and we’ll tell you how this applies to keeping your bladder healthy.
Cut Down On Caffeine and Avoid Alcohol
Caffeine affects the bladder in a couple of ways. Caffeine raises blood pressure. The increased blood flow in the body is part of how it keeps people awake and alert. Not commonly known is the fact that this rise in blood pressure causes the bladder to be more active than usual.
Caffeine also dehydrates the body. It reduces the body’s ability to absorb water and sodium. UTI’s are caused by bacteria in the urinary tract that spreads because of that dehydration. On top of this, coffee and tea’s acidic nature means they irritate the bladder. This leads to overactivity and increased likelihood of bladder infections.
Alcohol works in similar ways, as it too is a diuretic and a bladder irritant. Topped off with the fact that many alcoholic beverages are mixed with other things irritants (such as fruit juice). Avoiding or alternating alcoholic beverages with water will help keep your bladder healthy.
Tabacco is bad for the body in so many ways but its effects on the bladder are usually overlooked. A study of over 2000 women showed that the more they smoked, the more they needed to evacuate their bladder. The causes of this aren’t completely known at this point. Theories include toxins in tobacco that are an irritant to the bladder and the fact that tobacco also increases blood pressure much like caffeine. Bladder cancer is also a risk in smokers and an over-active bladder is one of the symptoms. Giving up the cigarettes is going to make a big difference to your bladder health.
Drink Plenty Of Water And Try Cranberry Juice
But not too much? Confusing right. Your body needs water and health professionals recommend drinking 6 to 8 glasses a day. This helps to flush out irritants, toxins, and bacteria out of your bladder. But, more than this and you are risking an overactive bladder for and over time this could lead to incontinence. Also, your body can only use so much water before it starts to retain it (causing bloating and swelling).
Cranberries have an ingredient that prevents bacteria from sticking to walls of your bladder and urinary tract, helping your body to flush them out of your system. It won’t help prevent UTIs all the time, it does help with the symptoms of those infections and it can’t hurt to drink it regularly.
Keep An Eye On Your Diet
As already mentioned, the acidic nature of tea and coffee will irritate the bladder and this is true for other acidic foods and drinks. Citrus fruits, while packed full of vitamins can cause you problems with your bladder. The Mayo Clinic also lists chocolate, spicy food, soda, even milk and sugar as irritants. Not everything on the list will cause you a problem, it’s worth making a note of what you eat and when you have problems with your bladder.
Knowing what causes you problems means you can cut down or cut it out of your diet.
Keep Active And Try Kegals
If you lead a more sedentary lifestyle, fluid retention is more likely, especially in the legs. A natural process of this is the body’s need to rid it of this excess water. Often medication used to counteract fluid retention and swollen legs will cause the same overactive bladder issue.
An easy way to counteract this is to keep more active during the day. Even adding a short walk to your daily routine can help. There are plenty of ways to introduce little bits of exercise to your work day too. Everything from parking a little further from work than usual, to exercise designed to be done at your desk will help.
Kegals are a perfect way to strengthen the muscles of the bladder. Kegal exercises aren’t just for women either, recent studies have found that men can benefit from them too. The best way to start Kegal exercises is to see your doctor and have them guide you through them.
Empty Your Bladder Completely And Don’t Hold On
The best way to avoid an STI is to completely empty your bladder every time you go. This may seem obvious but not everyone does this. Sometimes even a temporary tensing of the muscles can force urine to return into the bladder.
Holding onto your urine for too long will start to weaken the muscles of the bladder. This increases your chances of becoming incontinent in the long term. Not only does emptying your bladder when you need to improve your overall bladder health it also improves the health of your kidneys.
Incontinence and bladder weakness is a very common issue among the elderly, but it’s something that starts during your forties. Making the effort now to take care of your bladder will save you a lot of trouble in the future. As an added bonus much of this advice will improve your overall health and that is never a bad thing.
Medication can help too, but these simple tips can mean you avoid prescriptions, trips to the doctors and frequent trips to the toilet too.