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Ways to improve bladder health

Most people don't pay much mind to their bladders unless they find themselves in need of a bathroom while on the road or out and about. Responsible for holding urine for the kidneys, the bladder can be vulnerable to various problems. However, certain lifestyle changes can help the bladder function the way it should.

Bladder illnesses

The American Society of Clinical Oncology reports an estimated 81,190 adults (62,380 men and 18,810 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with bladder cancer this year. Bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer among men, though it is not the only condition that can affect the bladder. Cystitis, which is an inflammation of the bladder, overactive bladder and urinary incontinence are some of the more common ailments that can affect the bladder. Cystitis is typically caused by a bacterial infection and could be accompanied by urinary tract infection. However, interstitial cystitis (IC) is an often painful bladder syndrome accompanied by the urgent need to urinate, states WebMD. Overactive bladder is characterized by a sudden urge to urinate. Sometimes the urge can be difficult to control and involuntary loss of urine may occur, advises the Mayo Clinic. Urinary incontinence is the loss of bladder control. Severity can range from occasional leakage of urine to failure to making it to the toilet in time. The Urology Care Foundation says between one-quarter and one-third of men and women in the United States suffer from urinary incontinence.

Maintaining bladder health

Although not all bladder conditions can be avoided, there are many steps people can take to improve the health of their bladders and increase the likelihood of proper functionality. The following are some ways to do just that.

  • Drink enough fluids. Consuming plenty of water (six to eight 8-ounce glasses each day) can help flush contaminants out of the urinary system.
  • Void completely. Make sure to urinate completely and do not hold in urine for long periods of time. Urine that doesn't escape can head back to the bladder and bring bacteria with it.
  • Limit alcohol intake. Alcoholic beverages are diuretics and stimulants, which can produce symptoms of urinary urgency.
  • Eat adequate fiber. Constipation can put stress on pelvic floor muscles, eventually contributing to dysfunction that affects bladder control. Fiber decreases the likelihood of feeling constipated.
  • Perform Kegel exercises. These exercises work the pelvic floor muscles to strengthen them, which can prevent urine from leaking in various situations.
  • Quit smoking. Cigarette smokers have a two to three times higher risk of bladder cancer than nonsmokers, states the health guide Everyday Health. Quitting now can help the bladder.

By making certain lifestyle changes. people can improve their bladder function and health.

Feature image by Marcel Gnauk from Pixabay
Graphic image by andrebuhrer from Pixabay

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