Relieving oneself is natural and normal. We all do it. We have to. But have you ever stopped to think about the benefits? We are always told, “It’s bad to hold it in”, but why exactly? Can bladders really explode? Will we die? What’s the deal with having a healthy bladder and how do we get one? Let’s find out:
What is the bladder and what does it do?
The bladder is a very important organ, it’s hollow and stretchy, like a balloon, and it stores urine. It’s part of the greater urinary system which includes the kidneys, ureters and the uretha. An average bladder can hold up to 2 cups of urine before it’s considered to be at full capacity, which can take up to 9 hours to occur.
What’s actually in our urine?
Urine contains the waste and extra fluid that’s left floating around in your body after its cleverly taken everything important it needs from what we consume – food and drinks. Urine is comprised of 95% water and other chemicals like urea, sodium, creatine and organic and inorganic compounds.
The whole function of urine is for it to exit the body, taking out unwanted toxins with it. So, when it sticks around for a too long in our system because of ‘holding it in’, it actually weakens the bladder muscles and bacteria can build up – making it a likely environment for infections like the dreaded Urinary Tract Infections (UTI’s).
Common health issues in the bladder
Bladder health can impact both someone’s physical and mental wellbeing. It can be embarrassing to run to the toilet every few minutes with a bladder issue. Most likely no one notices, but you do, plus it’s incredibly inconvenient and sometimes very painful. Bladder infections can be triggered by a number of issues, including weak bladder muscles, constipation, diabetes, low physical activities, smoking and diet to list a few.
How to keep your bladder happy
To avoid unwanted infections and embarrassing bladder issues, there are easy steps you can take to ensure it stays healthy:
- Drink lots of water (recommended 6-8 glasses a day) and exercise to promote regular active bowel and bladder movements. Keeping a healthy weight is also critical in reducing risk of diabetes which can trigger recurring bladder infections.
- Consume healthy bladder-friendly foods which include pears, bananas, green beans, potatoes, nuts and eggs. Healthy foods that are rich in protein are also bladder favourites.
Try to urinate every 3-4 hours and take enough time to fully empty the bladder when urinating. Rushing will mean urine is left inside the bladder which can lead to bladder related problems