Taking Care of Bladder Health in the New Year

Taking Care of Your Urinary Health

When it comes to looking after our physical health, we rarely think about the urinary tract and system. The health experts at Ridgecrest Regional Hospital are here to break down simple ways that you can show your bladder some love in 2021.

Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking enough water is essential when it comes to supporting the health of your bladder and the rest of your urinary system. Most healthy adults should aim to drink eight 9-ounce glasses of water each day to ensure that they stay adequately hydrated.

 

When your body is dehydrated, you’re at an increased risk for developing the following urinary health issues:

  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Cystitis
  • Kidney Stones
  • Kidney infection
  • More concentrated urine
 

Some people should limit their water intake due to certain health conditions, like chronic kidney disease and heart disease. If you’re uncertain how much water you should be drinking each day, be sure to consult your doctor.

Cut Back on Alcohol & Caffeine

While drinking more water can help to keep your urinary tract free of harmful-bacteria, drinking alcohol can have the opposite effect. Alcohol and caffeine are known to irritate the urinary tract and can lead to some uncomfortable health concerns.

Alcohol

Alcohol is a diuretic, which means that just having a few alcoholic beverages increases your urine production and your need to pass it.

 

Some of the ways alcohol negatively affects the bladder include:

  • Increasing urine production
  • Increases frequency of urination
  • Can lead to dehydration
  • Concentrated urine can irritate the bladder
  • High sugar content can irritate the bladder
  • Can worsen urgency for those with bladder issues
  • Increases risk of developing UTIs
 

While drinking alcohol can be relatively harmless (in moderation) for healthy adults, it is recommended to eliminate alcohol consumption if you have incontinence or a history of frequent UTIs.

Caffeinated Drinks

Whether you prefer coffee or tea, caffeine can be a cause for concern when it comes to your bladder health. Drinking caffeinated beverages can irritate your bladder, leading to the following:

  • Increased frequency of urination
  • Increased urgency when needing to urinate
  • Incontinence
 

If you have concerns when it comes to your bladder health, it is recommended that you reduce or completely eliminate your consumption of caffeine.

Get Regular Physical Activity

Leading an active lifestyle is an excellent way to look after various areas of your health—including your bladder and the rest of your urinary system. By engaging in low to moderate-intensity exercises, you help to tone your core, as well as take away unnecessary pressure on your bladder. Some excellent exercises that support your urinary health include:

  • Yoga and dynamic stretching
  • Tai chi
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Bike riding
 

It is also important to keep in mind that certain physical activities can put additional pressure on your bladder, leaving you at a higher risk for leaking during activity. These activities include:

  • Jumping jacks
  • Burpees
  • Lifting heavy weights
  • Running
 

Pelvic floor exercises, or kegels, also help to support the health and function of your bladder. By strengthening your bladder muscles, you’re better able to hold the contents of your bladder and prevent incontinence.

Avoid Holding Your Urine

Everyone has moments where they have to hold in their urine for much longer than they expected, resulting in a mad dash to the restroom as soon as it’s in sight. While holding your pee in every once in a while is okay, frequently holding in your urine for long periods of time is detrimental to your urinary health.

Weakens Your Bladder Muscles

While people who suffer from incontinence are encouraged to bladder train in order to give them more control over releasing their bladder, holding it in for too long actually weakens your muscles. The longer you hold in your pee, the more strain is placed on your bladder muscles—leaving you at a higher risk for incontinence and trouble emptying your bladder in the future.

Causes More Frequent Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

Though holding in your pee doesn’t directly cause a urinary tract infection (UTI), it does increase your chances of developing one. When you go too long without passing urine through your system, bacteria is able to thrive and multiply, leading to an infection.

Increases the Risk for Developing Kidney Disease

For those living with certain health conditions, holding in your urine for long periods of time can actually increase your chances of developing kidney disease. While this bad habit is relatively harmless for otherwise healthy individuals, it can be especially detrimental to people with the following health conditions:

  • Having an enlarged prostate
  • Other kidney disorders
  • Urinary retention
  • Neurogenic bladder

Quit Smoking

Smoking cigarettes and being exposed to secondhand smoke are two of the leading causes for many health conditions affecting the urinary system and urinary tract. Smoking cigarettes and using other tobacco products leaves you at an increased risk for developing the following urological health conditions:

  • Bladder Cancer
  • Erectile dysfunction (ED)
  • Kidney cancer
  • Kidney Stones
  • Interstitial Cystitis
  • Incontinence
  • Infertility
 

By quitting smoking, you can effectively reduce your risk for developing these conditions.

Urological Care in Ridgecrest, California

At Ridgecrest Regional Hospital, we have partnered with one of the nation's leading urology programs to bring you comprehensive urologic treatment close to home. With the support of Keck Medicine of USC, we are able to offer evaluation and treatment, as well as some surgical procedures.


To learn more about our urology clinic or schedule an appointment, visit our website or give us a call at (760) 446-3551 (Mon-Fri 8 AM-4:30 PM).