In honor of Bladder Health Week, here are answers to everything you never really wanted to know about your bladder (and some things you do!).
1. How many times is normal to urinate each day?
According to Dr. Oz, the average person urinates 4-8 times a day. In general, if you pee more than 10 times a day, he says, there may be something going on that you want to talk to your doctor about.
2. Why do I have to get up at night at least once, if not twice, to urinate?
As we age, our bodies make a lot of urine during the nighttime. It is perfectly normal to need to urinate once or twice during the night. Often, when you are young, you can sleep through the night without needing to get up.
It is normal for your kidneys to make as much as one to one and a half liters of urine a night. This is about half to three-quarters of a soda bottle! If getting up at night bothers you, you can try to cut back on fluids after you have dinner. However, do not cut back on daytime fluids.
Tea with caffeine also acts as a diuretic (makes you urinate more) and can irritate your bladder giving you the urge to urinate. As you get older, your bladder capacity can decrease, and therefore, you cannot hold as much urine.
3. How much fluid or water should I drink in a day?
There is a popular myth that everyone should drink eight glasses of water a day. For many people that is too much fluid, especially for those with a bladder control problem. On the other hand, if you are very active and perspire through exercise, you may need to drink more fluids. You should always consult your physician for appropriate guidance.
The color of your urine is a good indication of whether or not you are drinking enough fluids. If your urine is a dark orange/yellow, you may not be drinking enough. Concentrated urine is very irritating to the bladder and can worsen symptoms of urgency and urge incontinence. Conversely, if your urine is pale, almost water-like, you are taking in plenty of fluids.
4. How do I know there is something wrong with my bladder?
Common symptoms involve pelvic pain, blood in your urine or an unexplained change in your urinary needs. For example, if you suddenly need to go to the bathroom 15 times a day or start getting a sudden urge to void that you can’t seem to stop, then it is time to talk to your healthcare professional.
5. What causes incontinence?
According to the American Urological Association, urinary incontinence is usually caused either by an overactive bladder or by a weak sphincter muscle. Other causes can include: urinary tract or vaginal infections, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), pregnancy, childbirth and medications. In some cases, central nervous system failures and neurological disorders (like Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease) can cause urinary incontinence.
6. How common are Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)?
The American Urological Association estimates that UTIs are responsible for approximately eight million visits to doctors’ offices each year in the United States. Around 20% of women and 12% of men will have at least one UTI in their lifetime. There are lots of risk factors for developing a UTI including: using an indwelling or condom catheter to manage incontinence.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “Men become more susceptible to UTIs after 50 years of age, when they begin to develop prostate problems. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), enlargement of the prostate gland, can produce obstruction in the urinary tract and increase the risk for infection. In men, recurrent urinary tract infections are also associated with prostatitis, an infection of the prostate gland. Although only about 20% of UTIs occur in men, these infections can cause more serious problems than they do in women. Men with UTIs are far more likely to be hospitalized than women. [For more information, see In-Depth Report #71: Benign prostatic hyperplasia.]”