Healthy Bladder Habits
Your bladder is a hollow organ that holds the urine produced from your kidneys.
Urinary Tract Infections
Women are more prone to urinary tract infections than men, as a general rule, although men do get them and they can be very painful for the male. These infections can also involve the bladder.
You can reduce your risk by making sure that you urinate completely every time, says Gopal Badlani, MD, of the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C. and a specialist in bladder issues.
If you contract your muscles to stop urinating too soon, urine that didn't "get out" heads back into your bladder, which can bring bacteria into your system.
Keeping Your Bladder Healthy
Following are some general guidelines on keeping your bladder healthy - something many just don't give much thought to. Make these simple suggestions a habit and you won't have to ever think about your bladder!
Six to eight cups of fluids per day, more when it is hot or when exercising. If you become bothered by a constant need to urniate and you're drinking more fluids throughout the day than 6 to 8 cups, it's okay to cut back on your intake. Caffeinated sodas and coffee make you urinate more, so avoiding these beverages could help, as well.
Most already know that cranberry juice is considered very good for the prevention of urinary tract infections, so if you enjoy this beverage, get a glass or two in with your other liquids. Cinnamon is also helpful in fending off infections.
Sedentary or Suffer Heart Disease?
Those who are sedentary or suffer from heart disease, can develop fluid build-up in their legs during the day. At night, this fluid causes them to need to empty their bladders frequently. If you have fluid retention in your legs causing an active bladder during the night, try walking around more throughout the day. If you can't walk, flex your calf muscles and raise your legs to waist level. Ask your doctor for more tips.
Kegel exercises are done to strengthen the muscles that allow for better bladder control. Weak muscles can contribute to urine leakage, called incontinence. Most people, however, do Kegels the wrong way. Check out Kegels: A Brief History, which includes instructions on doing a kegel exercise properly.
- Most people empty the bladder about every 3 to 4 hours during the day (4 to 8 times in 24 hours).
- Getting up once at night to empty the bladder is not abnormal. Being awakened more than twice is abnormal.
- Don't strain to empty the bladder or bowel.
- Try to keep bowel movements regular:
- Don't ignore the feelings that the bowel needs emptying.
Seek professional help when:
- Any leakage of urine from the bladder occurs (incontinence).
- Pain is experienced when passing urine.
- Any blood is seen in urine.