The bladder, which is a hollow organ that holds urine, is one of those body organs that you do not really think much about until problems arise. For some lucky few, they go through life without facing urinary issues. But there are others who are either losing control of their bladder or are dealing with urinary incontinence.
Urinary incontinence is caused by a strong and sudden urge to urinate and the loss of bladder control. Urinary issues could also lead to painful urination, unwanted urine leaks, and mild to severe infections. The good news is, urinary issues are easily avoided as long as the problem is not caused by an underlying condition. Prevention, as they say, is better than the cure. In today’s post, let’s talk about ways to maintain a healthy bladder and avoid urinary problems:
Take Your Time
Rushing when peeing is one of the most common causes of urine leaks and urinary tract infection. When you are rushing while peeing, the muscles in the bladder tighten quickly. Two things can happen when you are not emptying your bladder properly. One, it can lead to leftover urine dribbling out of the bladder, causing urine leaks. Two, the leftover urine will return to the bladder along with other pathogens, causing an infection.
Women, in particular, are prone to rushing while peeing and this is the reason why females have a higher risk of developing urinary tract infection. Always take your time while you pee, making sure that the bladder has emptied itself completely to avoid urine leaks and urinary infections.
Avoid Alcoholic or Caffeinated Drinks
Alcoholic and caffeinated drinks have a mild diuretic effect that can lead to frequent urination and dehydration. If you have a weak bladder to begin with, drinking caffeinated or alcoholic beverages will enhance your bladder issues even more, leading to temporary loss of bladder control.
If you can, reduce your consumption of caffeinated or alcoholic beverages or avoid them completely. Coffee, tea, sodas, chocolates, and certain medications contain caffeine.
Avoid Artificial Sweeteners
Think artificial sweeteners are better than table sugar and other natural sweeteners? If you are vulnerable to urinary problems, you have to avoid artificial sweeteners! These sugar substitutes are just as bad as caffeinated drinks; they have a mild diuretic effect that increases the frequency of urination. Artificial sweeteners contain chemicals that irritate the bladder such as sodium saccharine, acesulfame K, and aspartame.
If you are watching your sugar intake, swap artificial sweeteners with natural sweeteners. Erythritol, Xylitol, agave nectar, Stevia, and Yacon syrup are just a few of the many low-calorie sweeteners you can use in place of artificial sweeteners.
Watch What You Eat
You may not know it, but even healthy wholefoods could irritate the bladder. If you have a weak bladder or if you are living with urinary incontinence, you need to avoid certain fruits and vegetables that stimulate urine production. These include tomatoes, apples, and citrus fruits. Spicy dishes and foods that contain corn syrup could also irritate the bladder, causing urinary problems.
Fortify your meals with garlic, yogurt, and other foods that are high in antioxidants. All types of berries are recommended for people who are suffering from urinary incontinence. Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, and blackberries are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals that promote better bladder health while stimulating muscle growth and repair! It also helps if you enrich your meals with fiber-rich foods for better bladder control.
Regular Kegel Exercises
One of the most common causes of bladder control problems is an overactive bladder. Women, in particular, are at risk of developing an overactive bladder due to pelvic floor muscle weakness. You can restore or maintain bladder control by doing regular Kegel exercises. That’s because the pelvic floor muscle controls the flow of your urine.
Kegel exercises tone the pelvic floor muscle. By simply contracting your pelvic floor muscle for five to ten seconds at a time, you’ll have better control of your bladder wall muscles. You want to perform 2 sets of 30 contractions per day to strengthen your pelvic muscles.
Consult Your Doctor
Doing something as simple as making better lifestyle choices could alleviate some urinary issues. But in cases when lifestyle changes alone aren’t enough to solve the problem, have yourself checked by your doctor. Depending on the severity of the problem, you might need to take medications to minimize nerve problems or muscle spasms that affect your bladder. Your doctor will present a treatment plan to ease an overactive bladder.
If you keep going to the bathroom to pee more frequently than normal, your doctor may recommend bladder training. The training is often done in conjunction with Kegel exercises and other treatments to reduce the number of times you need to go to the bathroom.
The training involves following a regular bathroom schedule to help you resist the urge to pee and regain control of your bladder. If you are feeling the urge to pee, try holding it off for at least 10 minutes. Once you are scheduled to pee, you have to empty your bladder completely. As time goes by, your doctor will gradually increase the length of time between bathroom breaks.
Certain types of dietary supplements aid in solving common urinary problems, including mild cases of incontinence. These health supplements are typically formulated with either cranberry extract or pumpkin seed extract (or both) to provide relief from urinary incontinence. Numerous studies show that pumpkin seed extract makes an effective treatment for an overactive bladder. When choosing the best supplements for your needs, always go for those made by trusted manufacturers.
Drinking at the Right Time
Drinking more water is important because the fluids flush out pathogens in the system. But don’t drink too much at certain times of the day if you have bladder control issues. For instance, if you are on the commute or you spend a lot of time outdoors, do not drink too many fluids an hour or so before heading out. This way, you will not deal with the intense urge to pee while out and about. If you hate getting up to pee at night, avoid drinking fluids two hours before bedtime. On your way home, avoid drinking beverages with a mild diuretic effect like coffee or tea before leaving the office.
A sedentary lifestyle increases your risk of developing heart disease and other serious medical conditions. When you are not getting enough exercise, fluids could also build up in your legs, causing edema.
At night, the fluids make their way to your bladder, which leads to an overactive bladder. Working out regularly is the best way to minimize your risk of developing urinary problems, among other health issues. You don’t have to work too hard either, a 30-minute walk is enough to keep those leg muscles moving! For seniors, it’s best to ask your doctor for fitness strategies.