When most people think about urinary tract conditions, their minds are immediately drawn to either urinary tract infections (UTIs) or kidney problems. In reality, many conditions affecting the urinary system occur in the bladder. South Carolina residents can follow a few simple steps to reduce the risk of developing Bladder Problems. Read on to find out how to get started.
1. Stay Hydrated
Experts recommend drinking at least eight glasses of water or other fluids each day. All that water gets filtered through the kidneys, then enters the bladder. When people don’t drink enough water, it can lead the urine in the bladder to become too concentrated, leaving them prone to bladder infections, kidney stones, and other urological conditions.
On hot, sunny days or during periods of strenuous activity, people should increase their water intake accordingly. They should also note that while other liquids can help with maintaining hydration, nothing beats a glass of water when it comes to improving bladder health. Aim for at least half of all liquid consumption throughout the day to come in the form of fresh, clean water.
There are a few exceptions to the eight-glass rule. Those who are prone to kidney stones or UTIs can benefit from drinking up to 12 glasses of water or other liquids each day, while people with heart disease or kidney failure may need to limit fluid intake. Anyone with an underlying heart, kidney, or bladder conditions should speak to a urologist before making changes to his or her hydration routine.
2. Reduce Caffeine Intake
Coffee drinkers know that caffeine can act as a diuretic. Drinking too much of it can increase the frequency of urination and lead to dehydration. What most people don’t realize is that caffeine can also be a bladder irritant, especially for those with interstitial cystitis. It’s also relevant to note here that coffee isn’t the only culprit. Tea, soda, and even chocolate also contain caffeine.
3. Use the Bathroom Properly Whenever Needed
Holding urine in the bladder for too long isn’t a good idea. It can weaken the bladder muscles and make people prone to infections. Aim for urinating at least every four hours, and take the time to make sure the bladder is completely empty. When urine stays in the bladder after using the restroom, that can also make people more prone to bladder infections.
Some people have trouble emptying their bladders fully, even in the absence of other underlying urinary tract conditions. Relaxing the pelvic muscles can make it easier. Women shouldn’t try to hover over the toilet seat, as that makes it difficult to relax those crucial muscles. Instead, they should sit down, try to relax, and take as much time as needed to ensure complete voiding of the bladder.
4. Choose the Right Underwear and Pants
It’s best to wear loose-fitting, cotton underwear. This choice of undergarments allows sufficient airflow to keep the area surrounding the urethra dry. Try to avoid nylon underwear and tight-fitting jeans, as both of these clothing choices can trap excess moisture and facilitate bacterial growth. People who are prone to UTIs should be especially careful when choosing undergarments and pants.
5. Urinate After Intercourse
During sexual intercourse, bacteria may enter the urethra. No one wants to think about this potentiality before engaging in sex, but it’s important to take proper steps to prevent this problem afterward. Urinating shortly after sex can flush out the bacteria and help to prevent UTIs. This piece of advice is just as applicable to men as it is to women, though women are more prone to UTIs since they have shorter urethras.
6. Wipe Correctly After Using the Bathroom
Women should always wipe from front to back after using the bathroom. This strategy helps to prevent bacteria found around the anus and rectum from coming into contact with the vagina and urethra, making it easier to prevent UTIs and other infections. It’s most important for women to remember this tip after bowel movements, but the best bet is to develop consistent wiping habits.
7. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise can help to prevent bladder issues by making it easier to avoid constipation, keeping people’s weight at a healthy level, and reducing stress. Just make sure to remember to drink plenty of water before, during, and after strenuous physical activities. Working up a sweat without replacing all that lost water can cause problems with dehydration, which raises the risk of developing a UTI or another bladder condition.
8. Cut Back on Alcohol
Like caffeine, alcohol can irritate the lining of the bladder and cause problems with dehydration. Try to consume alcohol in moderation, if at all, and make sure to drink plenty of water. Alcoholic beverages shouldn’t be counted toward daily fluid intake goals.
9. Quit Smoking
At this point, just about every American knows how bad smoking is for lung health. It can also impact other vital systems, though, including the bladder. In healthy people, it can irritate the bladder lining and increase the frequency of urination. People with interstitial cystitis, overactive bladder, or urinary incontinence may find that smoking worsens their symptoms, as well. Quitting smoking is hard, but it’s worth the effort.
10. Try Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises
Pelvic floor muscle exercises often referred to as Kegels, help people train themselves how to hold urine in the bladder. They’re most helpful for people who struggle with urinary incontinence which includes leaks when they cough, sneeze, laugh or lift heavy objects. However, strengthening the pelvic floor muscles can be beneficial for all women, and there’s no harm in learning the techniques. Ask a urology expert or a physical therapist familiar with pelvic floor muscle strengthening techniques for more information about how to perform Kegels properly.
Get Help Now
Already dealing with urinary tract problems? It’s time to contact the Atlantic Urology Clinic. These specialists are experts at diagnosing and treating a wide range of bladder conditions. They’re accepting new patients and have both in-person and telehealth visits available, so don’t hesitate. Call (843) 347-2450 to schedule an appointment today.