Each day, adults pass about a quart and a half of urine through the bladder and out of the body. You use your bladder several times a day, but do you know what you should do to keep this organ healthy? The bladder is one of those body parts that you probably don’t think about much until it stops working properly. Women over the age of 65 are particularly prone to developing an overactive bladder, which can manifest as urinary frequency, urgency, and leakage. While you can’t control everything that affects bladder health, there are many things you can do to reduce your chances of developing an overactive bladder or lessen your symptoms if you’ve already developed the condition.
How to promote good bladder health naturally
We’re going to discuss general lifestyle tips to maintain a healthy, happy bladder. Putting the following tips into action will keep things flowing smoothly, reduce your chances of developing a bladder condition, and help you recover, should you develop an overactive bladder.
Drink plenty of fluids—but the right kinds
Drinking enough fluids will keep your urine from getting too strong. If your urine is too concentrated and appears darker in color, it can irritate your bladder, leading to more frequent urination. The best fluid to consume is water and should be prioritized, whereas certain liquids, such as alcohol, caffeinated drinks, soda, and tea, should be limited, as they can potentially irritate your bladder. Aim for six to eight (eight-ounce) glasses of fluid a day from bladder-friendly drinks such as water, fresh juice, or water-based soups.
Keep good bowel habits
Avoiding constipation is important for maintaining strong bladder health, as straining puts extra pressure on your pelvic floor muscles (which help with bladder and bowel control) and may weaken them. To promote healthy bowel function, aim to eat plenty of high-fiber foods like fruits, veggies, and whole grains, stay hydrated, and engage in activity for at least 30 minutes a day.
Practice healthy urinary habits
Avoid holding urine in your bladder for too long, as this can weaken your bladder muscles and make a bladder infection more likely. How often should you be urinating? Ideally, every three to four hours. Also, take your time when urinating. Rushing may not allow you to fully empty your bladder, which could also make a bladder infection more likely. Urinating in a calm manner will relax the muscles around your bladder, which makes it easier to empty it fully.
How to treat an overactive bladder naturally
All of the tips that we just discussed are not only preventative, but they can also help in treating your overactive bladder. However, if you’ve developed issues despite applying the above-mentioned tips, there are other natural treatment methods and lifestyle changes that have been shown to successfully treat the symptoms of an overactive bladder without medications, surgery, or injections. Here are four to consider:
Pelvic floor physical therapy
This is a specialized form of physical therapy that can improve or resolve symptoms of urinary urgency, frequency, and leakage, as well as pelvic pain, constipation, and difficulty emptying the bladder. At Arancia, we specialize in Pelvic Health and Chronic Pain Conditions. Most often what we see with our patients who struggle with bladder frequency that there is not a true “weakness” of the pelvic floor musculature, rather there is tissue tightness and spasms that contribute to leaking symptoms. Working with a Pelvic Health Specialist they can also suggest lifestyle changes you can make to facilitate your recovery process.
Electrical stimulation can be used by your physical therapist as part of your pelvic floor physical therapy plan. This treatment can be helpful in improving pelvic floor muscle coordination and increased pelvic floor strength.
Making a few dietary changes can have a substantial effect on your bladder control. Start by eliminating bladder irritants, including caffeine, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, acidic fruits (citrus, pineapple, and tomatoes), and chocolate. Then work to increase your soluble fiber intake by adding in healthy foods, such as whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies, legumes, and potatoes. These foods will help encourage healthy, smooth digestion, as well as gentle weight loss—two factors that have been shown to improve symptoms of an overactive bladder.
Mental stress can lead to an increase in autonomic nervous system activity, which can cause an increase in bladder activity. Try reducing your stress by engaging in relaxing activities, doing things you enjoy, making time to decompress, or seeing a therapist.
Regain bladder control
If you’re struggling with your bladder health, you’re not alone. According to the National Association for Continence, nearly 25 million Americans struggle with bladder control, 75 to 80 percent of which are women. Despite the high success rate in treating bladder symptoms with the above methods, only one out of 12 people affected seeks help. As we’ve discussed today, there are several natural treatment options and lifestyle interventions that can help you recover from your issues without the use of medication, surgery, or injections. You don’t have to live your life with these frustrating symptoms! Contact our office in Cranston, RI today and we can help you regain your bladder control!