November serves as a reminder in taking care of your bladder health.
The Urology Care Foundation, American Urological Association, and the Bladder Health Alliance – a group of physicians, patients, and veterans – have formed a partnership to raise awareness about bladder conditions and urge both men and women to take an active role in managing their bladder health.
Studies show millions of Americans every year struggle with bladder conditions, such as urinary incontinence, overactive bladder, interstitial cystitis, urinary tract infections, nocturia, bladder cancer, and neurogenic bladder. These conditions have a significant impact on an individual’s health and quality of life so it’s important to raise awareness about bladder health and encourage people to talk about their bladder-related symptoms.
The Function of the Bladder
The bladder is a very important part of the urinary system, which also includes the kidneys, ureters, and urethra. The bladder has two roles – to store urine and to empty urine. With an overactive bladder and urinary incontinence, the functions of storing urine and emptying urine are not as effective and can cause strong sudden urges to go to the bathroom as well as cause leakage.
As we get older, the bladder changes and the elastic bladder tissue becomes less stretchy. When this happens the bladder cannot hold as much urine as before, which may make you go to the bathroom more often. Furthermore, the bladder wall and pelvic floor muscles tend to become weak, making it harder to empty the bladder fully and causing urine to leak.
Signs of a bladder problem can include trouble holding urine, waking up several times during the night to urinate, sudden need to urinate, burning before or during urinating, and cloudy or bloody urine.
Bladder Health Tips
Many bladder conditions can be handled through simple lifestyle changes, medication, and bladder retraining. If you feel you may have symptoms of an overactive bladder or have urinary incontinence, it’s crucial to talk to your healthcare provider about a treatment plan.
It’s Important to Keep Your Bladder in Good Shape By:
- Drinking plenty of water. It is highly recommended to drink 6 to 8 cups of water each day.
- Limiting the amount of caffeine and alcohol intake as these can heighten bladder activity and lead to leakage.
- Being cognizant of foods that bother the bladder. Such foods that can worsen urinary incontinence include artificial sweeteners, and spicy or acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits.
- Keeping your pelvic floor muscles strong by doing pelvic floor muscle training.
- Quit smoking. Bladder problems are more common among people who smoke. Smokers are two to three times more likely to get bladder cancer than nonsmokers.
- Monitoring your weight. Research as shown that people who are overweight may be at higher risk for bladder problems.
The therapists and staff at San Simeon by the Sound are aware of bladder health and always ensure the residents are drinking enough water among other things to help keep their bladder in good shape.