People rarely talk about bladder health, but everyone is affected by it. Each day, adults pass about a quart and a half of urine through the bladder and out of the body.
As people get older, the bladder changes. While you can’t control everything that affects bladder health, there are some steps you can take to improve bladder health. Follow these tips to keep your bladder healthy.
- Drink enough fluids, especially water. Most healthy people should try to drink six to eight, 8-ounce glasses of fluid each day. Water is the best fluid for bladder health. At least half of fluid intake should be water. Some people need to drink less water because of certain conditions, such as kidney failure or heart disease. Ask your healthcare provider how much fluid is healthy for you.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine. Cutting down on alcohol and caffeinated foods and drinks such as coffee, tea, chocolate, and most sodas may help.
- Quit smoking. If you smoke, take steps to quit . If you don’t smoke, don’t start.
- Avoid constipation. Eating plenty of high-fiber foods (like whole grains, vegetables, and fruits), drinking enough water, and being physically active can help prevent constipation.
- Keep a healthy weight. Making healthy food choices and being physically active can help you keep a healthy weight.
- Exercise regularly. Physical activity can help prevent bladder problems, as well as constipation. It can also help you keep a healthy weight.
- Do pelvic floor muscle exercises. Pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, help hold urine in the bladder. Daily exercises can strengthen these muscles, which can help keep urine from leaking when you sneeze, cough, lift, laugh, or have a sudden urge to urinate.
- Use the bathroom often and when needed. Try to urinate at least every 3 to 4 hours. Holding urine in your bladder for too long can weaken your bladder muscles and make a bladder infection more likely.
- Take enough time to fully empty the bladder when urinating. Rushing when you urinate may not allow you to fully empty the bladder. If urine stays in the bladder too long, it can make a bladder infection more likely.
- Be in a relaxed position while urinating. Relaxing the muscles around the bladder will make it easier to empty the bladder. For women, hovering over the toilet seat may make it hard to relax, so it is best to sit on the toilet seat.
- Wipe from front to back after using the toilet. Women should wipe from front to back to keep bacteria from getting into the urethra. This step is most important after a bowel movement.
- Urinate after sex. Both women and men should urinate shortly after sex to flush away bacteria that may have entered the urethra during sex.
- Wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothes. Wearing loose, cotton clothing will allow air to keep the area around the urethra dry. Tight-fitting jeans and nylon underwear can trap moisture and help bacteria grow.
TOP FOODS FOR HEALTHY BLADDER AND KIDNEYS
If you have a sensitive bladder, you will not have to miss out on tasty foods this fall. The key is to know which foods are more likely to irritate your bladder and which ones are more likely to soothe. In general, you will want to avoid coffee, alcohol, citrus fruits, tomato-based products, artificial sweeteners and spicy foods. Read on to learn about 10 bladder-friendly foods.
- Pears. They are good fall fruits that generally begin to ripen in September and sometimes October depending on the region. Pears are a good source of fiber and about 100 calories per serving.
- Bananas. Typically available in grocery stores year-round, bananas are great as snacks, toppings for cereals or in smoothies.
- Green beans. At about 31 calories per 1-cup serving, green beans will add some color to your plate. You can eat them raw, add them to salads or roast them with a little olive oil.
- Winter squash. Do not let the name fool you. Winter squash are available in both fall and winter. Squash varieties include acorn, butternut and spaghetti.
- Potatoes. Need a bladder-friendly comfort food when the weather cools down? Try white potatoes or sweet potatoes (yams).
- Lean proteins. Examples include low-fat beef, pork, chicken, turkey and fish. Especially when baked, steamed or broiled, they are unlikely to bother your bladder.
- Whole grains. Quinoa, rice and oats are just a few examples of whole grains. They come in many varieties and are generally not expensive.
- Breads. Overall, breads are bladder-friendly and a nice addition to meals. Bread is also great for delicious turkey sandwiches after Thanksgiving.
- Nuts. Almonds, cashews and peanuts are healthy snacks and rich in protein.
- Eggs. Also rich in protein, eggs are on several lists as one of the “least bothersome” foods for bladder conditions.