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How to Ensure You Have a Healthy Bladder


Women in particular can suffer from bladder issues so it is important to do all you can to prevent such problems - and to give your bladder the best chance of staying healthy.

We share some diet, exercise and lifestyle tips to help you...

What are the typical conditions affecting women's bladder function?

The most common conditions affecting bladder function in women are:

  1. Urinary incontinence 
  2. Having an overactive bladder and
  3. Suffering from a prolapse

In addition, childbirth and then later the menopause can cause the symptoms to become worse.

Here is some additional information about these three conditions that can affect the bladder:

1.  Urinary incontinence - this is where you can suffer from leaking urine if you laugh, cough, sneeze, lift objects, carry out exercise or have a sudden but uncontrollable urge to urinate.  It is more likely to occur with aging, being overweight, giving birth, having an overactive bladder or during pregnancy.  Ways to help can include losing excess weight, carrying out pelvic floor exercises or in extreme cases, inserting a special device to prevent such urinary incontinence.

2.  Having an overactive bladder - this can lead to sudden and uncontrollable urges to urinate, even leading to leaking urine if you are unable to make it to the bathroom in time or meaning disturbed sleep as you need to wake up often to urinate (known as nocturia).  Again, there are ways to help including changing your drinking habits, pelvic floor exercises, bladder training and if absolutely necessary certain medications (examples include antimuscarinics or anticholinergics). 

3.  Prolapse - this is also known as pelvic organ prolapse and is the name given when one of your internal organs (it can be your womb or your bladder) slips down and part of it protrudes into the vagina.  Such a situation occurs when the muscles and ligaments of your pelvic floor weaken.  You could well feel a pulling sensation in your vagina - and if your bladder has slipped down -  you may feel that your bladder doesn’t fully empty when you urinate and/or develop urinary incontinence.  Ways to help include the very obvious pelvic floor exercises, using a pessary and, in severe cases, surgery. 

What are other ways to help?

1. Avoiding those beverages that actually stimulate or irritate your bladder

Top of the list is caffeine (found in drinks such as coffee, tea and certain energy drinks) as a bladder stimulant, increasing your urge to urinate.  At the same time, it is also a diuretic.  This means it increases your production of urine while dehydrating your body.  Another such bladder stimulant and diuretic is alcohol.  A further problem can be acidic drinks (including those carbonated fizzy drinks) which can also increase your urge to urinate while irritating your urinary system.   

2. Avoiding those foods that irritate your bladder

Acidic foods can irritate both your urinary system and the lining of your bladder.  Such foods include oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit and tomatoes.  If you can reduce your consumption of these foods, it will help to keep your bladder healthier. 

3. Losing excess weight and then maintaining a healthy weight

Being overweight can increase the pressure in your abdomen which can weaken your pelvic floor muscles while applying greater pressure on your urinary system.  These can lead to urinary incontinence and/or an overactive bladder.  Look at losing any excess weight but avoid crash diets.  Instead, lose with a healthy diet and regular exercise.  And once you have achieved your goal, keep it up to keep it off. 

4. Staying hydrated is important for so many reasons

Concentrated urine can also irritate your bladder.  Make the effort to stay well hydrated by drinking approximately eight glasses of water daily while keeping  caffeine and alcohol to a minimum because they can be dehydrating.  Even if you have an overactive bladder, it is still important to stay hydrated. Reducing your fluid intake too much will concentrate your urine, irritate your bladder and ultimately worsen your symptoms. 


5.  Doing pelvic floor exercises

These will strengthen the muscles that support your bladder, rectum and vagina. They are a recommended treatment for women with bladder problems, such as urinary incontinence, a mild to moderate prolapse or an overactive bladder.  It is said that correctly carrying out pelvic floor exercises can reduce symptoms of all these conditions in many cases.  They can also prevent the conditions from developing in the first place.

If you can follow these tips then you can help your bladder to stay healthy and prevent bladder problems developing.  However, if you are at all concerned or symptoms develop and become worse, it is advisable to seek medical help.



 The Best Pelvic Floor Exercises For Women To Strengthen And Relax (womenshealthmag.com

10 tips to keep your bladder healthy (bupa.co.uk)