All week we’ve been talking about bladder health. Today is the last day of Bladder Health Week so we wanted to leave you with a couple of tips for keeping your bladder as healthy as possible! Some are obvious, others not so much! Do you have other tips you think people should know? Share your health tips in the comments section!
Always, always, always drink enough water. Don’t know if you’re drinking enough water? A good hint is your urine – healthy urine is pale and watery. The darker it is, the more water you need to be drinking.
There are lots of foods that help support a healthy bladder including: fruits & vegetables, whole grains, yogurt, fiber and proteins. You can also avoid foods that explicitly irritate your bladder such as caffeine, chocolate and especially acidic or spicy foods.
Urinate and clean yourself before and after sex. Bacteria can easily travel up into the urinary tract during sex, causing urinary tract infections. Urinating shortly after sex and wiping yourself has been shown to reduce the odds you will develop an infection. Urinary tract infections are more likely to occur after sex in women; but men can get urinary tract infections too and they can transmit pathogens to women as well. The groin is a major source of bacteria so men should also adopt good personal hygiene, including cleaning their groin area.
Avoid alcohol and soda whenever possible as these can increase the frequency you need to urinate. This can exacerbate urge or stress incontinence and can disrupt your sleep.
Don’t strain to go to the bathroom. Don’t hold it when you don’t have to or force yourself to go when your body doesn’t want to. When travelling, don’t try and hold it until the next exit on the highway when you can get off now. A recent study by Peter Snyder, Ph.D. and his research team at Lifespan showed that driving while trying to ‘hold it’ can be as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol! His research suggested that when people are dealing with a strong urge to urinate, their cognitive functions are impaired, similar to what you might experience after a sleepless night or a few too many pints at the pub. Getting to your destination safely is more important than arriving quickly. Take the time to stop when you need to.
DON’T SMOKE!!!! Smoking increases your risk for lots of types of cancer including Bladder Cancer. According to the Society of Urological Nurses of America (SUNA), “smokers are two to three times more likely to develop bladder cancer than non-smokers, and men are three times more likely to be affected by bladder cancer than women.”