The material provided below is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the diagnosis or treatment by a qualified healthcare professional. You should always seek medical advice before consuming any new medicines or supplements. AZO products referenced on this website are not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease such as overactive bladder, urinary tract infections, or vaginal infections.
Who knew? The urinary bladder is a multitasking organ. First, the bladder acts as a reservoir or “storage tank” for urine, which is the waste byproduct of blood filtration done by the kidneys every day. The bladder also has a role in the complex task of emptying; it contains muscles that aid in controlling voluntary urination. Most of us are typically unaware of our bladder’s inner workings—until we’ve finished an especially large cup of coffee. In other words, a happy bladder is one that you are not even aware of. They say, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This is especially true when it comes to bladder health. Since even a simple infection can wreak havoc on the genitourinary system, maintaining and promoting meticulous bladder health is vital.
Here are some simple pearls to help keep your bladder happy.
1. Maintain a healthy weight.
A healthy BMI (body mass index) will help prevent occasional bladder leakage and urgency. The heavier you are, the more weight will press on the bladder, making it more likely you’ll experience bladder control issues.
2. Look at the menu carefully.
Be mindful of dietary choices since some foods can be bladder irritants and worsen bladder control. Typical culprits include chocolate, spicy foods and acidic foods, such as tomatoes.
3. Urinate regularly.
Do not hold in urine for hours on end. Despite busy lifestyles that leave little time for a bathroom break, holding urine can distend the bladder, creating a reservoir for infection. Frankly, it’s also just really uncomfortable. Try to urinate regularly throughout the day and if you are prone to occasional loss of bladder control, consider regularly timed urination on the clock every two hours while awake.
4. Be smart during cocktail hour.
Alcohol can increase bladder activity, so as with most things, remember: moderation is key.
Try performing regular Kegel exercises. These pelvic muscle training activities can improve strength of the pelvic floor muscles and aid with good urinary health. An added bonus: Kegels may also enhance intimacy.
6. Consider a daily bladder control supplement.
Pumpkin seed extract appears to benefit bladder health.* Potential mechanisms include maintaining the strength of pelvic floor muscles, while increasing nitric oxide synthesis. Supplements like AZO Bladder Control® with Go-Less® contain pumpkin seed extract to support healthy bladder control.*
7. Drink up.
Adequate hydration, particularly with water, flushes bacteria through the urinary tract to optimize health. Six to eight glasses per day is a reasonable goal.
8. Be mindful of caffeine intake.
If you suffer from occasional urinary urgency, caffeine might worsen your plight. Caffeine, found in coffee, tea and even chocolate, acts as a diuretic and bladder irritant, and can aggravate these symptoms.
9. Pay attention to your medications.
Be on the lookout for medication side effects, since many drugs can influence bladder health and urinary habits, including those for hypertension and cardiac health. If you notice a correlation, speak to your healthcare provider about modifying dosage or changing medications to improve bladder complaints.
10. Get a physical.
See your healthcare provider for regular check-ups and obtain a routine urinalysis test. This test might detect excess sugar associated with diabetes, excess protein, a sign of kidney function, red blood cells suggesting a kidney stone or white blood cells consistent with infection.
And remember—healthy bladder, happy life.
About Dr. Alyssa Dweck:
Dr. Alyssa Dweck^, spokesperson for AZO, is a practicing OB-GYN in Westchester County, NY. She has been voted Top Doctor in New York Magazine and Westchester County. She is proficient in gynecologic surgery, has expertise in female sexual health and provides gynecologic care to women of all ages. Dr. Dweck has co-authored three books. "The Complete A to Z for Your V: A Women's Guide to Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Your Vagina—Health, Pleasure, Hormones, and More," tells women of all ages what they need to know about their own unique health as a woman.
^Dr. Alyssa Dweck is a paid spokesperson for AZO.