25 Bladder Health Tips for Middle-Aged Folks
Have you been noticing that your body doesn’t work the way it used to, especially your bladder? As you age, your bladder is aging too. Don’t worry, this may just mean that your bladder requires more care than it did when you were twenty.
Here are 25 helpful tips on how to maintain bladder health, divided into 12 general tips, 10 tips for people with urinary retention, and 3 tips for people with urinary incontinence.
12 general tips for bladder health:
- Keep your doctor updated on your bladder health: check-in frequently and communicate openly about changes and concerns
- Keep a healthy weight
- Quit smoking: nicotine is toxic to the bladder and increases the risk of bladder cancer; chronic cough also increases the risk of urinary incontinence
- Avoid constipation: exercise and eat a balanced fiber-rich diet with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Urinate after sex to push bacteria out of the urethra
- Wear cotton and loose-fitting underwear and pants as a moist environment promotes bacterial growth
- Cut down on alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated drinks since they irritate the bladder
- Drink plenty of water or other liquids such as cranberry juice
- Don’t hold off going to the bathroom
- Women should always wipe from front to back after using the toilet
- Avoid perfumed wipes
- Avoid spicy foods, citrus fruits, and caffeine
Do you have trouble urinating or completely emptying your bladder?
As men age, their prostate may naturally enlarge, resulting in a condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia(BPH). A common effect of benign prostatic hyperplasia is urinary retention, a condition that makes starting urination and completely voiding the bladder difficult. The enlarged prostate can block the bladder neck—where urine flows from the bladder into the urethra—causing hesitancy and incomplete voiding (of urine).
For both men and women, urinary retention can also be caused by physical obstructions such as severe constipation and urethra stricture, or nerve damage as a result of diabetes, stroke, or spinal cord injury.
Symptoms of urinary retention include:
- Difficulty starting urination
- Weak stream
- Straining to urinate
- Incomplete emptying of the bladder
- Frequent urination, including waking up at night more than two times to urinate.
10 Tips for when you have urinary retention:
- Sit comfortably on the toilet with your feet supported
- Males who stand to urinate may find it useful to sit on the toilet
- Leaning forward and rocking from side-to-side may help
- Tapping over the bladder with two fingers may stimulate the bladder to contract and empty
- Listen to running water
- Lightly rub your inner thighs, abdomen or lower back
- Pour a jug of warm water over the pubic region
- Double voiding: once you have finished passing urine, count to 10 slowly, or have a walk around the bathroom then sit on the toilet again to try and pass urine
- Scheduled voiding: set a schedule for your bathroom trips to keep your bladder emptied at regular intervals to avoid overfilling.
- Self-catheterization: use an intermittent catheter to help empty your bladder completely. Please note that this requires consultation with your doctor and often times a doctor’s prescription.
Do you have trouble holding it in?
If you have frequent urge to urinate, strong urge to urinate followed by an involuntary loss of urine, leaking of urine when you sneeze, exercise, or cough, you may have urinary incontinence.
3 Tips to help you hold it in:
- Pelvic floor exercise: it can strengthen the muscles around your bladder and can stop incontinence.
- Bladder training: it may involve scheduled voiding and deliberate delay of voiding. Resist the urge to urinate until it is your scheduled time to do so. Relax or distract yourself to help delay voiding. This strategy helps the bladder gets used to holding a larger amount of liquid, and the goal is to be able to delay voiding episodes to 2-3 hour intervals or more.
- Talk to your doctor about your condition to see if any medicine, therapy, or medical devices can help.
If you experience the involuntary leaking of urine, ask your doctor if you have overflow incontinence, which is when the bladder is overfilled and the increased bladder pressure exceeds the ability of the urethra to keep the urine from coming out. You may experience slow-flowing urine, dribbling, and a sense of incomplete emptying. You may lose a small amount of urine when walking, sneezing, or coughing as the result of the bladder being overfilled. It is dangerous to have the bladder be filled but not drained for an extended amount of time because urine can reflux into your ureters (tubes connecting the bladder to the kidneys) and send bacteria to your kidneys, causing kidney infections.
To treat urinary retention, your doctor might prescribe you with intermittent catheters.
CompactCath can help!
CompactCath offers discreet, compact and easy-to-use intermittent catheters in various tips and sizes. Try them out for yourself by clicking the pictures or the button below.
CompactCath emerged out of Stanford Design School (Stanford d.school), created by a team of mechanical engineers, physicians, and MBAs, CompactCath was FDA-cleared in 2014, holds six patents, was covered by CNN Money, won two grants (BioDesign Spectrum grant, LPCH Pediatric Innovation grant) and two iF product design awards (2016, 2017).