If you want to keep your bladder healthy as you age, keep in mind this health advice from Dr. Howard Tay – a board-certified urologist in Arizona.
“Healthy bladder, healthy body.”
People are pretty in tune to the health and welfare of their bladders. For one thing, it’s hard to ignore bladder pain. Like backs and knees, bladder health impacts our daily life more often as we age.
Women approaching menopause or past it have probably noticed changes in the bladder. You might urinate more often or have trouble fully emptying it. A sneeze or hearty laugh can trigger leakage. UTIs, which many women get some relief from during early and mid-adulthood, crop up more often around and after menopause.
Don’t despair. Here’s how women can maintain healthy and happy bladders.
You’ve probably been hearing this advice for some time now. Everyone from the dermatologist to the gynecologist tells you to drink more water. Now, the urologist is telling you, too!
Women should generally drink six to eight eight-ounce fluid servings each day, and at least half that amount should be plain water. The reason? It’s the easiest fluid for the bladder to process and flush out bacteria that can lead to UTIs.
Bonus: The more often the bladder empties, the less likely urine will concentrate inside to develop into kidney stones.
Reducing daily intake of caffeine, alcohol, and sweetened beverages and replacing these with water can do wonders for the bladder – as well as your skin, which needs more hydration with age to maintain elasticity and glow. If you have heart or kidney disease, ask your doctor about how much water you should drink.
Head to the bathroom when you need to. Don’t try to hold it in. If you have to urinate, do it.
If you aren’t feeling completely empty when you finish, bend over while you’re still on (or hovering over) the toilet. This adds a little compression and can squeeze out a few more drops.
Many women start doing Kegel exercises to prepare for childbirth and it’s got a lot of benefits regardless of parental status.
Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic floor, which is obviously stretched to the max by pregnancy and vaginal delivery. Continuing or starting Kegels can prevent occasional urine and stool leaks that can happen with aging, as well as a sudden, urgent need to urinate that some women experience.
A constipated bowel uses up a lot of the body’s water reserves, so it’s a good idea to add more fiber to your diet along with more water. Add fruit, vegetables, and whole grains to your diet to up your fiber and improve bowel movements.
Exercise helps with digestion, so it’s good for both bowels and bladder. It also stimulates blood flow, which helps pretty much the entire body. If you can walk outdoors, you get the added benefit of Vitamin D.
The bladder is a pretty nifty organ. It stretches from two to six inches as it fills up and can hold up to 24 fluid ounces in some people! With all that activity, it’s understandable that it needs more care with age – just like our heart, backs, and knees.
Learn more about bladder health on Dr. Tay’s urology website. Dr. Howard Tay is a board-certified urologist in Arizona certified by the American Board of Urology. He is an active member in the American Urological Association. He has practiced urology in Arizona since 1996. Dr. Tay is recognized as a leading Arizona urologist, including several Phoenix Magazine “Top Doc” awards for urology. He is an active member in advancing urology in the state of Arizona and serves on several hospital committees as is past Department Chair of Surgery at Banner Thunderbird Hospital.