This month serves as a reminder to get the facts about common bladder health problems and to take an active role in your health.
Key Bladder Facts
- The bladder is a hollow, balloon-shaped organ, and is made mostly of muscle.
- On average, the bladder holds about 16 ounces of urine.
- Urine is produced in the kidneys. It flows through tubes called ureters into the bladder.
- It’s normal to go to the bathroom 4 to 8 times a day and no more than twice a night.
- Women have shorter urethras than men. Women are more likely to get a bladder infection as bacteria from outside the body can get into the urinary system easier.
- The bladder muscle helps you urinate by squeezing to force the urine out.
Bladder-Related Health Issues
- Interstitial Cystitis (aka Bladder Pain Syndrome), a feeling of pain and pressure in the bladder area.
- Neurogenic Bladder refers to a number of urinary conditions in people who lack bladder control due to a brain, spinal cord or nerve problem.
- Urinary Tract Infections occur when bacteria gets into your urine and travels up to your bladder.
- Bladder Cancer is the 5th most common cancer in the United States.
- Urinary incontinence is leaking of urine that you can’t control.
- Overactive bladder (OAB) is a common condition, affecting millions of Americans; the most common symptom of OAB is a sudden urge to urinate that you can’t control.
- Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) is when urine leaks out with sudden pressure on the bladder and urethra (such as from sneezing, laughing, or coughing), causing the sphincter muscles to open briefly.
- Bedwetting, aka nocturnal enuresis, is uncontrolled urination while you are asleep.
- Nocturia, or nocturnal polyuria, is the medical term for excessive urination at night.
Tips for keeping your bladder health at optimal levels
- Drink plenty of water. Strive to drink 6 to 8 cups of water each day.
- Cut down on the amount of caffeine and alcohol you drink – these may upset your bladder. Limit your intake of coffee, tea or cola as these can heighten bladder activity and lead to leakage.
- Women should sit to go to the toilet – they should not hover over the toilet seat.
- Take your time when on the toilet so that your bladder can empty – if you rush, and do not empty your bladder fully, over time, you could get a bladder infection.
- Stay away from foods that bother the bladder. Some foods can worsen incontinence. Skip foods like chocolate (also a source of caffeine), as well as spicy or acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits.
- Keep your pelvic floor muscles strong with pelvic floor muscle training.
- Stop smoking. It is of great value to stop smoking for your bladder health – using tobacco is a major cause of bladder cancer.
For more information about bladder health issues, including detection, symptoms, and treatment options, please call the Urology Group of Princeton, at 609.924.6487, to schedule an appointment.