Carol Savoie R.N.
Key Bladder Facts
· It's normal to go to the bathroom 4 to 8 times a day and no more than twice a night.
· The bladder is a hollow, balloon-shaped organ, and is made mostly of muscle.
· When the bladder is empty it looks like a deflated balloon. The shape of a bladder changes when it fills up.
· Urine is produced in the kidneys. It flows through tubes called ureters into the bladder.
· The bladder muscle helps you urinate by squeezing to force the urine out.
· Women have shorter urethras than men. Women are more likely to get a bladder infection as bacteria from outside the body can get into the urinary system easier.
· On average, the bladder holds about 2 cups of urine (about 16 ounces).
Bladder Health Tips
· Drink plenty of water. Strive to drink 6 to 8 cups of water each day.
· Cut down on the amount of caffeine and alcohol you drink - these may upset your bladder. Limit your intake of coffee, tea or cola as these can heighten bladder activity and lead to leakage.
· Women should sit to go to the toilet - they should not hover over the toilet seat.
· Take your time when on the toilet so that your bladder can empty - if you rush, and do not empty your bladder fully, over time, you could get a bladder infection.
· Stay away from foods that bother the bladder. Some foods can worsen incontinence. Skip foods like chocolate (also a source of caffeine), as well as spicy or acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits.
· Keep your pelvic floor muscles strong with pelvic floor muscle training.
· Stop smoking. It is of great value to stop smoking for your bladder health - using tobacco is a major cause of bladder cancer.
What is a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) in Adults?
A UTI is when bacteria gets into your urine and travels up to your bladder. UTIs cause more than 8.1 million visits to health care providers each year. About 10 in 25 women and 3 in 25 men will have symptoms of at least 1 UTI during their lifetime.
How Does the Urinary Tract Work?
The urinary tract makes and stores urine, one of the waste products of your body. Urine is made in the kidneys and travels down the ureters to the bladder. The bladder stores the urine until it is emptied through the urethra, a tube that connects the bladder to the skin, when you urinate. The opening of the urethra is at the end of the penis in a male and in front of the vagina in a female.
The kidneys are a pair of fist-sized organs in the back that filter liquid waste from the blood and remove it from the body in the form of urine. Kidneys balance the levels of many chemicals in the body (sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorous and others) and check the blood's acidity. Certain hormones are also made in the kidneys. These hormones help control blood pressure, boost red blood cell production and help make strong bones. Normal urine has no bacteria in it, and the one-way flow helps prevent infections. Still, bacteria may get into the urine from the urethra and travel up into the bladder.
What is Bladder Cancer?
Cancer is the growth of abnormal cells in the body. These extra cells grow together and form masses called tumors. In bladder cancer, these tumors form in the bladder. The bladder is where urine (liquid waste made by the kidneys) is stored in the body. In 2016, more than 77,000 Americans will be diagnosed with bladder cancer. Men are almost 4 times more likely than women to be diagnosed. About 16,000 Americans will die of bladder cancer this year. Over time, doctors have made progress with better treatments, and more people survive.
What is Neurogenic Bladder?
Millions of Americans have neurogenic bladder. Neurogenic bladder is the name given to a number of urinary conditions in people who lack bladder control due to a brain, spinal cord or nerve problem. This nerve damage can be the result of diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson's disease or diabetes. It can also be caused by infection of the brain or spinal cord, heavy metal poisoning, stroke, spinal cord injury, or major pelvic surgery. People who are born with problems of the spinal cord, such as spina bifida, may also have this type of bladder problem. Nerves in the body control how the bladder stores or empties urine, and problems with these nerves cause overactive bladder (OAB), incontinence, and underactive bladder (UAB) or obstructive bladder, in which the flow of urine is blocked.
Information obtained from www.urologyhealth.org
from November 2016 newsletter