Things To Know About Bladder Health | Bladder Cancer

Bladder Health

In this article, we will discus detail information about Bladder Health.

The urinary bladder is an expandable organ located in the pelvis which is used to store urine. Urine made in the kidney is transported into the bladder via tubes called ureters, where it gets stored, and is later expelled from the urethra. The bladder has a muscle tissue lining that gets stretched to store urine and controls the process of urination.

Significance of the Bladder

The bladder can store about 500 mL of urine at a time, but one however starts feeling the urge to urinate when it gets around a quarter full. The urinary bladder is an essential component in the expulsion of wastes from the body. Proper expulsion of wastes is vital for:

  • Production of hormones to regulate blood pressure
  • Generation of Red Blood Cells (RBCs)
  • Strengthening bones in the body
  • Prevention of waste build up in the body
  • Maintaining stable electrolyte levels

The Functioning of the Bladder

The bladder functioning makes use of complex musculoskeletal, neurologic, and psychological functions for filling and emptying urine from it. The filling and storage of urine in the bladder is regulated and driven mainly by the contraction of the bladder pelvic and neck floor muscles, and the simultaneous relaxation of the detrusor muscles.

When this happens, the inner lining of the bladder forms folds to expand and accommodate the liquid coming in from the ureters. The bladder tends to move above, towards the abdominal cavity, and the muscle wall becomes thinner. On the contrary, when the bladder becomes empty, the bladder’s muscle walls become thicker, which causes the entire bladder to appear firm.

The base of the bladder is of a triangular shape, which blocks the urethra from stretching, and possible backflow into the ureters. A muscular valve, called the internal sphincter is located in the bladder, which serves as a reliable aid to prevent the leakage of urine from the bladder.

Problems Pertaining to Bladder Health

Compromising one’s bladder health can lead to a lot of direct and indirect problems. If the wastes are not excreted out properly a lot of bodily systems tend to malfunction. Some of the most common and prevalent problems pertaining to bladder health are:

Urinary Incontinence (UI)

A loss in bladder control which can lead to mild leakage and even uncontrollable wetting. This is majorly caused by the weakening of the bladder muscles, and can usually be treated by simple exercises and medications.

Overactive Bladder (OAB)

A condition as a result of which the bladder squeezes out urine at the wrong time. This can cause frequent urination throughout the day and night, accompanied by a sudden, strong need to urinate. Urination in such a condition is often followed by leakage after.

Interstitial Cystitis (IC)

A condition that leads to pain and discomfort in the bladder, along with a need to urinate frequently and urgently. This can be due to inflammation in the bladder and can lead to pain even during intercourse. A wide range of treatments are available for this and a doctor should be consulted for the one most suited to an individual.

Bladder Cancer

Cancer can grow in the lining of the bladder, which requires extensive treatment like chemotherapy, or some other surgery. It can lead to frequent urgency and pain while urinating. One might also notice blood in the urine and experience pain in the lower back.

Maintaining Good Bladder Health

People often tend to ignore bladder health until it poses a problem in their daily lives. These problems include excessive and painful urination and a loss of control over an individual’s bladder. To prevent such instances and maintain good bladder health, here are some pointers:

Drink Plenty of Fluids

Fluids have a key role when it comes to maintaining proper excretion of wastes from the body. At least half of one’s fluid intake should be water as water is the best fluid for bladder health. Drinking lots of water helps flush out bacteria from the urinary tract and prevent bladder infections in the future.

Dehydration encourages the growth of bacteria which can cause Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs). A lack of fluids in the body can lead to dark yellow, highly concentrated urine, accompanied by a foul smell, which irritates the bladder and urethra. Drinking water hence becomes necessary to prevent the formation of kidney stones and diluting the urine.

Staying hydrated is vital, and one should drink at least 2 liters of water daily. However, one should not overdo it, as drinking excessive water throughout the day can lead to a constant need to empty the bladder. In such cases, an individual should cut back on fluid intake and also avoid drinks like coffee, soda, and other caffeinated beverages.

Quit Smoking

You should avoid bad habits like smoking, as tobacco consumption poses a major risk factor for bladder cancer. Smoking causes harmful chemicals and drugs to accumulate in the urine which destroys the lining of the bladder, in turn causing probable bladder cancer.

Smoking also makes an individual more susceptible to kidney stones, another common problem of the urinary tract. Smoke inhaled into the lungs somehow makes its way into the bloodstream. This is then later filtered into the kidneys, where the harmful chemicals now collect.

Smoking can also lead to irritating sensations in the bladder, which can cause or worsen Painful Bladder Syndrome (Interstitial Cystitis). There are occurrences of frequent urination accompanied by coughing spasms. This can lead to leaking urine (Incontinence) and Overactive Bladder (OAB).

Follow Proper Urination Practices

One should make sure that they empty the entire bladder when they urinate. To do so one should take enough time and avoid rushing while urinating. Urine that stays in the bladder for longer durations tends to make the bladder more prone to infections.

One should be completely relaxed and at ease while urinating. It is best to avoid hovering over the toilet seat, and rather sit on it to urinate. This relaxes the muscles around the bladder and makes it easier to fully empty the bladder.

These practices also help prevent UTIs and other infections related to the bladder. It is important to note that tightening the muscles and force stopping the urine while one is already urinating can push the urine that didn’t make it out back into the bladder. This can cause the accumulation of bacteria which severely hampers bladder health.

Conclusion

Even though less spoken about, the bladder is a vital organ for the body, and any problems in its functioning can have deep impacts. Hence, each individual should take appropriate precautions and measures to ensure the smooth working of this essential excretory organ.