As we age, it's common to experience changes in our bladder function that can affect our quality of life. Bladder symptoms like urinary leakage, frequent bathroom trips, and urgency can dominate our daily routine and even lead to social isolation and decreased physical activity. The good news is that there are steps you can take to maintain a healthy bladder and alleviate these symptoms.
Stay Active and Exercise Regularly:
Physical activity plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy bladder. Regular exercise helps strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which support bladder control. Engaging in activities like walking, swimming, or yoga can enhance muscle tone and flexibility, reducing the risk of bladder problems. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week to promote a healthy bladder and overall well-being.
Maintain a Balanced Diet and Hydration:
What you eat and drink can impact your bladder health. Opt for a balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Avoid or limit foods and drinks that can irritate the bladder, such as caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, and artificial sweeteners. Additionally, stay adequately hydrated by drinking water throughout the day. Adequate hydration helps maintain healthy urine production and dilutes urine, reducing the likelihood of bladder irritation.
Practice Pelvic Floor Exercises (Kegels):
Pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegels, are simple yet effective exercises that can strengthen the muscles supporting the bladder and improve bladder control. Locate your pelvic floor muscles by imagining stopping the flow of urine midstream or squeezing the muscles used to prevent passing gas. Once identified, contract these muscles for a few seconds, then release and relax. Aim to perform three sets of 10 repetitions daily. If you're unsure about the technique, consider consulting a pelvic floor physiotherapist for guidance.
Recognize and Address Bladder Problems:
Don't dismiss bladder symptoms as a normal part of aging. If you experience bothersome bladder symptoms like urinary leakage, urgency, frequency, or pain, seek medical help. Consulting with a healthcare professional who specializes in bladder health, such as a urologist or urogynecologist, can provide valuable guidance and treatment options tailored to your specific needs. Early intervention can significantly improve bladder function and enhance your quality of life.
Adopt Healthy Bathroom Habits:
Practicing good bathroom habits can help maintain a healthy bladder. Avoid holding urine for long periods; empty your bladder when you feel the urge. Take your time when using the restroom, ensuring you completely empty your bladder. Avoid straining during bowel movements, as this can put unnecessary pressure on the bladder. Additionally, if you need to cough or sneeze, try contracting your pelvic floor muscles to prevent accidental urine leakage.
Maintaining a healthy bladder is crucial for seniors to enjoy a fulfilling and active life. By following these five tips—staying active, maintaining a balanced diet, practicing pelvic floor exercises, seeking help for bladder problems, and adopting healthy bathroom habits—you can promote bladder health and improve your overall well-being. Remember, a healthy bladder contributes to a happier and more active life, allowing you to embrace all the activities you love without the limitations of bladder symptoms. Take control of your bladder health today and enjoy a better quality of life as you age gracefully.
To learn much more about bladder health, watch Happy Bladder, Happy Life, the latest episode of Optima Living TV. In this episode, Optima Living Principal Ali Shivji speaks with AHS Chair in Healthy Ageing Dr. Adrian Wagg about how seniors can keep their bladders healthy. That’s followed by a pelvic floor exercise lesson with Dr. Mary Wood, Clinic Director of CURA Physical Therapies. And finally, Dr. Wagg offers a health tip about some more helpful considerations when it comes to bladder health.