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Top 10 Strategies for Better Bladder Health

Your bladder is an organ that holds urine produced by your kidneys. Certain problems affecting your bladder can cause urine leakage or painful urination. However, simple lifestyle changes and exercises can help ensure that your bladder returns to optimal functioning.

1. Void completely. Women are especially prone to urinary tract infections, which can also involve the bladder. One way to reduce your risk is to make sure that you urinate completely. If you tighten your muscles and stop urinating too soon, the urine that didn't quite escape will head back to your bladder, which can bring bacteria into your system.

2. Drink enough, but not too much, fluids. Drinking six to eight glasses daily can flush bacteria out of your urinary tract and help prevent bladder infections. However, many people drink more than that these days because they've heard that drinking water frequently is healthy. If you're bothered by a constant need to empty your bladder and you're drinking fluids throughout the day, cut back on your intake.

3. Go for a walk. Some people may develop fluid build-up in their legs during the day. At night, this fluid causes them to need to empty their bladders frequently. Try walking around more throughout the day. Flex your calf muscles and raise your legs to waist level if you cannot walk.

4. Quit smoking. Over 50,000 people are diagnosed with bladder cancer every year, and using tobacco is a major risk factor. It's important to stop smoking for bladder health and other reasons, as well.

5. Learn proper muscle control. Kegel exercises firm the muscles and permit better bladder control. Weak muscles can contribute to incontinence. If you're having bladder control issues, learn how to properly do these exercises.

6. Take care when you’re having sex. Sexual intercourse contributes to female bladder infections. A woman's urethra is located where bacteria are found naturally. As a result, cleaning your anal and genital area before intercourse may help prevent the spread of infection. Also, urinate before and after sex to help flush any bacteria out of your system to avoid a sudden bladder infection. 

7. Watch what you eat. Interstitial cystitis is much more common in women than men. It causes urgent urination, bladder pain, and frequent incontinence. Some people find that acidic foods, such as orange juice and tomatoes, worsen the condition and may be linked to flare-ups. Write down your symptoms to determine if they occur in connection with any foods. If they do, avoid the foods to see if there is any improvement.

8. Stop drinking at the right time. If your urges to urinate at inopportune times are strong or if you experience incontinence, you may need to cut back on drinking fluids leading up to the event. For instance, if you need to go immediately upon arriving home from work, or if you're getting up during the night to urinate, avoid drinking beverages two hours before you leave work or go to bed.

9. Try cranberry juice. Tart cranberry juice may help protect your bladder from infections. Results compiled from previous studies involving cranberry tablets or juice indicate they reduce the occurrence of urinary tract infections. Also, they are most effective in women with recurrent infections. Ingredients in cranberries may keep harmful bacteria from remaining inside your urinary tract.

10. Keep a log. If you feel that you're urinating too often, keep a bladder diary of how often you go and when you drink throughout the day. Recording episodes of incontinence in this log will help you and your doctor discover if there are any mitigating factors involved in the problem.

Despite the fact that less than half of people seeking help for bladder health, more than 80 percent see improvement.

Natural Ways to Keep Your Bladder Healthy

If you want to support better bladder health, there are natural ways to do, starting with the types of food that you eat. The top three foods that can help you maintain a healthy bladder include:

1. Cranberries. Cranberries help regulate the bacteria that can then cause problems, such as urinary tract infections because of the high amount of natural antioxidants and acidic content that they contain.

2. Yogurt. The live bacteria in yogurt are highly beneficial for the health of your bladder. Its bacteria actually reduce the likelihood of getting bladder cancer by a significant percentage.

3. Bananas. A banana is an excellent source of potassium and fiber, both of which significantly enhance bladder health. The amount of potassium and fiber in a banana can work wonders for your bladder health. Potassium works to increase the strength of the bladder, therefore helping to stave off potential infections that could occur. Fiber keeps you regular and improves the flow of urine, which in turn pushes harmful bacteria through the urinary tract.

Your bladder is one of the most vital organs in your body, and working toward a healthy one is beneficial to your overall well-being.