4 Things to Consider When Fighting Common Bladder Problems
Prevention & Treatment If you’re one of the millions of Americans living with a bladder condition, you might want to reach for a fresh papaya over a ripe grapefruit this summer. Here’s why.
Two common health problems affecting the bladder are urinary incontinence and overactive bladder.
Urinary incontinence touches more than 25 million people in the U.S. Its severity ranges from leaking urine when you cough or sneeze to having that strong "got to go" urge or feeling. For most, simple lifestyle changes or health care treatments can ease your symptoms or stop urinary incontinence.
Our bladder serves two roles: storing urine and emptying urine. With an overactive bladder (OAB), these functions are not as effective and can cause strong, sudden urges to go to the bathroom and, for some patients, result in urinary incontinence or leakage. With more than 33 million adults in the U.S. with OAB symptoms, it's very common.
While bladder health is not often top of mind, there are ways to keep your bladder healthier year-round. Below are a number of tips to help keep your bladder in good shape.
1. Drink plenty of water
Strive to drink 6 to 8 cups of water each day. Cut down on the 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.
2. Use good bathroom habits
It’s normal to go to the bathroom 4 to 8 times a day and no more than twice a night. 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.
3. Avoid 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.
4. Speak freely
Tell your health care provider about your symptoms. You may feel embarrassed; but keep in mind: your health care provider is used to hearing about all kinds of problems. They are very common and there are a number of treatments available.
Many bladder conditions can be handled through simple lifestyle changes, behavior modifications, medication, bladder retraining or surgery. If you feel you may have symptoms of OAB or urinary incontinence, be sure to talk to your doctor about which treatment is right for you.