With every new year comes a new set of goals, and so many of us have one in common: to improve our health! This may manifest in different ways for different people. For some, quitting smoking is the best step for their health, while others may be starting yoga or eating more vegetables. While taking steps to better our overall health may seem like a how-to guide to losing weight and quitting bad habits, overall health and well-being means feeling good on the inside and the outside. That is even true when it comes to bladder and urinary health. When we neglect to take care of our urinary tract, complications like bladder infections, bladder leaks, and urinary tract infections can arise. Let’s take a look at some tips to keep our urinary health (and the rest of our bodies!) healthy and functioning properly.
Drink Your Water
It seems somewhat counterintuitive – if you are suffering from bladder leaks or increased urges to go, then drink MORE water? Actually, yes, especially if they’re linked to a UTI (urinary tract infection). According to the Mayo Clinic, “Women who added 1.5 liters of water each day to their regular intake of fluids were less likely to get another UTI, than women who drank less than that amount.” The extra fluid that you drink is processed by the body and able to flush out bacteria that are present in the urinary tract, which may cause infection. In the case of those with just urinary incontinence and not a UTI, not drinking enough water could also impact urinary health and leaks. Not drinking enough fluids can cause the urine to become ultra-concentrated which can irritate the bladder. Plus, the more concentrated the urine, the stronger the odor, making bladder leaks more noticeable to others. The amount of water you should be drinking in a day varies from person to person, but you can always turn to your urine for clues as to whether or not you’re drinking enough- the darker, the more concentrated your urine is.
Go When You Have To
We all lead busy, chaotic lives, and have learned to hold and control when we go to the bathroom as a result. While the ability to make it to the end of the movie to go to the bathroom may be a handy skill to have, it may also be impacting your urinary health (mostly your bladders’ ability to keep holding it in as it has been). In a Huffington Post article, David Ginsberg, professor of clinical urology at Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California explains that holding it is a danger to bladder capabilities later in life. Ginsberg goes on to explain holding urine like this, “I tell patients that your bladder becomes like a pair of outstretched sweatpants. Your bladder is a muscle. When you pee, the muscle contracts. If you’re chronically overstretched then, over the course of time the contraction becomes less strong, and as that evolves you might lose it altogether.”
Lead a Healthy Lifestyle
It’s kind of annoying to have almost every health issue we face be somewhat or entirely solved by simply living a better and healthier lifestyle. As annoying as it is, it’s true, even for our urinary health. There are steps you can take to improve your general health that, in turn, could benefit urinary health as well.
Cut Out Alcohol and/or Caffeine – Both alcohol and caffeine are bladder irritants, which give the feeling of having to go. Avoid soda, beer, coffee, and sugary drinks and see if there is an improvement in urinary health.
Manage Weight – Being obese or overweight adds extra pressure onto the bladder and urinary tract that can stress out and weaken them over time.
Quit Smoking – In addition to nicotine being a bladder irritant like caffeine, smokers coughing over years can weaken the pelvic floor and lead to urinary complications like Stress Urinary Incontinence.
Prevent Constipation – According to the Continence Foundation of Australia, “Constipation can affect bladder control and urinary continence. If you sometimes leak urine or feel that you need to frequently visit the toilet to pass urine, it could be that constipation is involved. An over-full bowel (due to constipation) can press on the bladder, reducing the amount of urine it can hold or making you feel the need to pass urine urgently. Constipation can also affect your pelvic floor muscles.”
Practice Good Hygiene Habits – Simple, every day practices can have a big impact on urinary health, especially if neglected. Keep clean, change undergarments, wear loose-fitting or cotton garments, wipe front to back, and always pee after sex. While these may seem like no-brainers hygiene tips, they’re vital to urinary health.
Trust Your Incontinence Products
If you do happen to be suffering from light bladder leaks, it’s important to know and trust the kind of products you use to deal with them. Revive® was designed specifically for women suffering from SUI to use internally to reduce leaks for up to 12 hours a day. The FDA-approved device is made of soft, flexible, and skin-safe silicone material for comfortable support that 90% of clinical trial participants felt was a good fit upon first use. Revive is available without a prescription at retailers nationwide!