Ways to Keep Your Bladder Healthy

Kevin Gioia, M.D.
Ocean Medical Center

It’s one of those problems people don’t like to talk about, but according to a study by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, millions of Americans suffer from chronic urinary incontinence.

Although incontinence can cause health issues such as odor, skin irritation, urinary tract infections, disrupted sleep, social isolation, depression and sexual dysfunction, according to urogynecologist Kevin Gioia, M.D. of Ocean Medical Center, there are lifestyle changes, exercises, medications, and surgical interventions that can help improve bladder control.

“Incontinence is a medical problem that can affect people’s social life and emotional well-being. Sometimes the fix for this can be as simple as a dietary change or pelvic floor strengthening exercises. Other times evaluation and treatment require additional testing in the office before deciding which type of procedure would be most beneficial.”

Simple ways to keep your bladder healthy and minimize trouble if you do have incontinence include:

1. Keeping hydrated. Drinking plenty of water every day and keeping hydrated has many health benefits, but it is especially important for bladder health. This is because it helps to flush toxins and bacteria out of the bladder and urinary tract. Once the kidneys have done their job of extracting toxins and waste products they pass them on through to the bladder.

2. Don’t hold it in. Whenever you need to go, just go! As urine contains all the waste products and toxins your kidneys have extracted from the body, the longer it is in contact with the bladder lining, the more damage it can do. Frequent or prolonged holding in of urine can lead to bladder and urinary tract infections and, in some cases, the development of bladder cancer.

3. Watch what you drink. Almost anything containing alcohol or caffeine can increase bladder activity and lead to leakage. Moderation is key.

4. Do Kegel exercises. Kegels involve squeezing and relaxing the muscles of the pelvic floor, which connects via nerves to the bladder. Kegels are a good way to maintain lifelong bladder control.

5. Maintain a healthy weight. Getting adequate exercise and eating a moderate diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables can help prevent incontinence.

How much do you really know about urinary incontinence? Take this urinary incontinence quiz and find out!