Is your bladder healthy? November is Bladder Health Awareness Month. There’s no better time than now to make sure that organ that holds urine from your kidneys is working hard and doing its job! When your bladder unhealthy, it can cause pain when you urinate, or even unwanted urine leakage. Here are some ways to keep your bladder in check.
How do you keep your bladder healthy?
- Urinate completely – Women are more prone to urinary tract infections than men. It’s a condition that can affect the bladder. Making sure that you urinate completely – or let it all out – is one way to prevent bladder infections. If you tighten your muscles and stop before your body is finished urinating, the urine that didn’t get let out will travel back to your bladder and could lead to bacteria.
- Drink enough fluids – Doctors recommend drinking six to eight glasses of water a day to flush bacteria out of your urinary tract and help prevent bladder infections. But a lot of people are drinking more than the recommended amount of water these days, which could mean you’re urinating too much. If you feel that you urinate too often, try cutting back on your fluids a little while still drinking the recommended amount of water. Also, try to avoid caffeine because it makes you urinate more.
- Exercise more – A lot of people who are sedentary (not active) or suffer from heart disease will develop fluid buildup in their legs throughout the day. When this happens, the body pushes that fluid out at night, causing people to have to urinate frequently. If you have fluid buildup in your legs and you’re urinating a lot at night, try being more active during the day. Even if you can’t walk, you can flex your leg muscles or raise your legs to your waist while sitting. Your doctor can help with more tips for physical activity to improve bladder health.
- No smoking – Did you know that smokers and tobacco-users are two to three times more likely to develop bladder cancer? The best way to get around that higher risk is to quit smoking.
How can kegel exercises help
Kegel exercises are a good way to build pelvic floor muscles and help you control your bladder more. It’s imperative that you do kegel exercises the proper way. Here are some tips on how to do kegel exercises:
- Find the right muscles – To find your pelvic floor muscles, stop urination midstream. If you’re able to do that, then you’ve found the right muscles. After you find your pelvic floor muscles, you can do kegels in any position, though many people find it easier to do them lying down.
- Practice – Tighten your pelvic floor muscles, hold the contraction for five seconds, and then relax for five seconds. Try to do it several times in a row. After that, move up to contracting the muscles for 10 second at a time, then relaxing them for 10 seconds in between each kegel.
- Focus, focus, focus – Try not to tighten any other muscles when you’re doing kegel exercises. It’s better if you can flex them without using the muscles in your abdomen, thighs or buttocks. Don’t hold your breath.
- Repeat – Try to do at least three sets of 10 kegels every day.