If you leak urine or are prone to bladder infections, these tips can help.
Do you feel like you have to run to the bathroom more than you used to? Do you leak urine when you laugh, cough or sneeze? Are you prone to bladder infections? Many people find that as they age, they experience bladder issues. Although you can’t stop your bladder from changing over time, there are steps you can take to keep it as healthy as possible.
Here are 12 tips to keep your bladder healthier:
- Urinate often. Holding urine in your bladder for too long can weaken the bladder muscles and may make you more prone to bladder infections. Use the bathroom often – at least every 3 to 4 hours.
- Take your time. There are many things you may rush to do throughout the day but going to the bathroom shouldn’t be one of them. Take enough time to fully empty your bladder when you visit the bathroom.
- Sit when urinating. If you are a woman, crouching over the toilet seat makes it hard for the muscles around your bladder to relax. This makes it more difficult for your bladder to fully empty, leaving you more prone to urine leakage and infection.
- Wipe from front to back. You may have been told this as a kid, but don’t forget that it’s as important as ever to wipe from front to back when you go to the bathroom. This makes it less likely that bacteria from the bowel will get into your urethra to cause an infection.
- Urinate after sex. To lower the risk of infection due to bacteria from the bowel or vaginal cavity moving into the urethra, urinate shortly after sex.
- Do Kegel exercises. To strengthen the muscles of your pelvic floor, do daily exercises to help strengthen the muscles that keep urine from leaking and that help empty the bladder.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing. Wearing tight pants can trap moisture, which makes it more likely that bacteria will grow. Also opt for cotton underwear, which breathes, rather than nylon or another synthetic material.
- Drink enough fluids. It may seem like you should drink less fluid if you have bladder issues, but the opposite is true. Drink enough to urinate every few hours, preferably plain water. You may need to drink less if you have certain health conditions, such as heart disease or kidney failure.
- Steer clear of trigger foods. Some people find that certain foods and drinks irritate their bladders. Common culprits are spicy foods, citrus fruits and juices, tomato-based foods, soda, caffeine, alcohol and artificial sweeteners.
- Avoid constipation. If you’re constipated, it may stop your bladder from expanding as it should. To encourage regular bowel movements, eat plenty of fiber, drink enough fluids and be physically active.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight may increase your risk for urine leakage. Losing weight may help.
- Quit smoking. Think your smoking habit has nothing to do with your bladder? It may. Bladder issues are more common in smokers, so now you have another good reason to quit.
Urination can change as we age. To help maintain good healthy bladder it is important to drink plenty of water and watch out for caffeine, soda, alcohol intake as these can irritate the bladder. Try not to hold your bladder for an extended amount of time. Kegel exercises are easy to do so don’t forget to about them!
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Date Last Reviewed: September 21, 2023
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
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