You probably don’t spend much time thinking about your bladder until something goes awry. However, when you wake up with a searing hot bowling ball in your lower tummy that the restroom doesn’t ease, you recognise the significance of this vital organ. So, what can you do to keep it healthier?
Your bladder eliminates waste from the body. It helps to regulate your blood pressure by removing excess fluids, and it keeps electrolytes, like potassium, stable to protect your heart. The following seven habits can help this organ perform its job more effectively.
1. Try To Quit Smoking
Did you know that smoking and long-term exposure to secondhand smoke are two of the leading causes of urologic conditions known? The habit increases your risk of the following disorders:
- Bladder cancer: Smoking causes harmful chemicals to accumulate in the bladder, damaging it, and leading to cellular changes. It also increases your risk of kidney cancer.
- Interstitial cystitis: This painful condition feels like a continual bladder infection, although you’ll test negative for bacteria. Smoking exacerbates the symptoms.
- Incontinence: Because the chemicals in cigarette smoke weaken the bladder, you lose control more readily. Also, you may cough more often, prompting leakage.
2. Drink Ample Fluids
You know that you need to stay hydrated for optimal health, and not taking in sufficient fluids can lead to the buildup of harmful and irritating toxins in your bladder. What you drink does matter. Plain water is always a wise choice, but if you’re plagued with discomfort, sipping on antioxidant-rich Kohli tea may provide benefits. You can also down cranberry or pomegranate juice to decrease bacteria count, and use barley water to calm irritation.
3. Void When Necessary
The average human bladder’s full capacity holds about 16 to 24 ounces of urine; however, you can start feeling the urge to urinate when it’s just a quarter full! For optimal health, it’s critical to use the restroom when you feel the urge. Continually holding in your pee can weaken your bladder muscles, which can lead to urinary retention — a condition where you don’t empty completely, making you run to the restroom more often.
Furthermore, holding in urine can expose the lining of your bladder to bacteria, leaving you prone to frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs). Try to void completely each time you go. While women can’t “wait for the shake” you can wiggle a bit to get every last drop.
4. Keep Yourself Moving
Exercise improves your health in several ways. It helps you maintain a healthy body weight, which avoids putting excess stress on the bladder. It also promotes healthy blood flow to the area, which delivers oxygen to the muscles in the region. Get outside and take a 15 minute walk or practice yoga or Tai Chi. If you find exercise on land challenging due to arthritis or other pain conditions, try aquatic workouts and let the water take the pressure off your joints.
5. Improve Your Diet
Some foods benefit your bladder health by balancing the body’s pH levels and providing critical nutrients. Try adding more of the following into your diet:
- Bananas: These are rich in potassium, and they taste excellent in smoothies and cereal.
- Nuts: Cashews and peanuts are high in protein and minerals that support bladder health.
- Potatoes: All varieties are high in potassium, and the sweet ones offer a healthy dose of beta-carotene.
6. Wipe Front To Back
This advice is primarily for the ladies — the way you wipe matters. When you go back-to-front, you introduce bacteria like E-coli from your anal region to your urethra, germs that can lead to bladder infections. Instead, always wipe from front to back. This method keeps your “butt bacteria” where it belongs.
7. Go Easy On Drinks
Both caffeine and alcohol are diuretics, meaning they increase urination. While this sounds like a positive effect if you’re trying to flush your bladder, it only eliminates water — leaving the toxins behind to accumulate. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to the loss of muscular control, meaning you could have an accident if you insist on downing that entire bottle of bourbon.
Even too much morning coffee can have an adverse effect. Caffeine relaxes the muscles in your pelvis and urethra, making you need to go more often. It can also interrupt your sleep patterns, meaning you wake up to use the restroom at night.
Keep Your Bladder Healthy
If you want to keep your bladder healthy, follow a few simple tips. By making lifestyle changes, you can reduce your risk of infection and more severe problems.