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A Healthy Bladder

Becky McConnell, PT Becky McConnell, PT November 24, 2014 0 Comments General Health

Fort HealthCare Therapy & Sport Clinic is recognizing National Bladder Health Awareness Month and the importance of taking care of one's health for an array of benefits.

Your bladder is part of the urinary tract that stores urine. You may not think about your bladder until it begins to feel full or until it stops working properly. Bladder problems can include painful urination, frequent urination, or urine leakage at unwanted times.

Simple lifestyle changes and exercises can help ensure that your bladder keeps doing its job and doesn’t call attention to itself!

1)      Let It All Out-----Make sure you urinate completely by trying to relax and not rush.  Don’t tighten your muscles and you shouldn’t have to push or strain to empty. This will actually cause muscles to tighten and may lead to incomplete emptying.

2)      Drink Plenty of Fluids-But Don’t Overdo It-----Drinking plenty of water can help to flush bacteria out of your urinary tract, but if you are drinking a lot of fluids throughout the day and are bothered by a constant need to empty your bladder, you may want to cut back on your intake. Also, avoid caffeinated coffee and sodas, which will only make you urinate more.

3)      Avoid Tobacco-----Not only can smoking increase your risk of bladder cancer, but cigarette smoke and nicotine are known bladder irritants.

4)      Learn Proper Kegels-----Kegel exercises are done to strengthen the muscles that allow for better bladder control and can decrease or even eliminate urinary leakage. To identify the pelvic floor muscles, stop urination in midstream once. Empty your bladder, lie on your back, and tighten those muscles for a few seconds and relax. Many people do Kegels the wrong way and would see better results from proper instruction.  Others may not need Kegels and would benefit instead from instruction in pelvic floor relaxation. You may need to see a specialist to know what is right for you.

5)      Watch What You Eat-----If you are dealing with urinary urgency, frequency, leakage, or bladder pain, you may find that certain foods can be linked to your flare-ups. Some people find that spicy or acidic foods, such as tomatoes and citrus fruits, can worsen their bladder symptoms. Artificial sweeteners are also known bladder irritants.

6)      Stay Regular-----Constipation can contribute to urinary urgency, frequency, and leakage.  Adding fiber to your diet and getting regular exercise can help keep your bowels moving and decrease bladder irritation.

7)      Stop Drinking at the Right Time-----Spread your water intake throughout the day and if you are getting up too much at night to empty your bladder, try to limit what you drink after dinner.

8)      Keep a Diary-----If you feel that you are urinating too often, keep a bladder diary of how often you visit the restroom and how often you are drinking throughout the day.  It may help show you and your doctor what factors might be involved in the problem.

Stay healthy out there!

Your Fort HealthCare Therapy & Sport Team