Although bladder health is rarely talked about, it affects everyone. On average, adults pass a quart and a half of urine through their bladder each day.
While you cannot control everything that determines your bladder health, taking these steps toward living a healthier lifestyle will lower your risk of developing bladder infections, bladder cancer, urinary incontinence, urinary tract infections and other medical issues.
“Hydration is key when it comes to keeping the bladder healthy. When the body is not getting enough fluids, the bladder becomes used to holding smaller amounts of urine and can become sensitive to more concentrated urine,” says Joe Bocanegra, MD, of Southwest General Medical Group Inc. Family Practice – North Royalton and a member of the Medical Staff at Southwest General.
Drinking 6-8 glasses of fluid daily, especially water, is recommended. If you currently drink less than this, try to increase your fluid intake gradually by introducing small quantities throughout the day. This slowly increases your bladder’s urine capacity, makes it less sensitive to irritation and reduces your risk of infection.
Drinking one or two glasses of cranberry juice every day can help those who frequently suffer from urinary tract infections. Cranberry juice acts as a biological, or chemical, an agent that stops bacteria from reproducing. It also helps to flush out infection and prevents bacteria from adhering to the lining of your bladder.
Avoid or Quit Smoking
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease in the United States. Tobacco use also is a leading cause of many types of cancer, including bladder cancer. “If you smoke, take steps to quit in order to lower your risk of developing bladder cancer as well as many other health complications,” advises Dr. Bocanegra.
Changes in Your Diet
If you’ve already received a bladder cancer diagnosis, it is possible to make positive changes in your diet to achieve a healthier lifestyle while living with or after cancer.
Limit or avoid these foods that are known to irritate the bladder:
- Citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, limes, etc.)
- Tomato-based products
- Artificial sweeteners
- Spicy foods
- Foods high in fat
- Foods high in sugar
To soothe a sensitive bladder, fill your diet with:
- Starchy carbohydrates like bread, pasta, rice and potatoes with the skin
- Lean proteins like fish, eggs, poultry and low-fat beef and pork
- Nuts like almonds, cashews and peanuts that are high in protein
- Green beans
- Milk and dairy products such as cheese and yogurt
At Southwest General Medical Group, Inc.
, our primary and specialty care physicians are committed to working closely to create specialized treatment plans specific to your overall health needs. To learn more about our services or schedule an appointment, visit our website.