Urinary health is essential for men and women and is especially critical for middle-aged male adults.
Middle-aged men often suffer from the beginnings of benign prostate hypertrophy or BPH. This condition is due to prostate gland enlargement as a man ages.
The male prostate is the only organ in the body that tends to grow larger as it ages. Unfortunately, it surrounds the urethra that channels urine externally, and BPH is known to impede urination.
The inability to completely empty the bladder is a side effect of BPH that comes on very slowly. Many men do not even realize it is happening until there is a major slowdown or blockage in their urinary stream.
Some men tend to ignore it as an inevitable process of aging. In either case, consequences are forthcoming, although they may take a while to appear.
Even a minor slowdown in a man′s urinary stream can start a process of deterioration in his overall health. Such blockages can encourage a urinary tract infection (UTI) as well as kidney damage from urinary pressure back up from the bladder.
One of the first symptoms of poor bladder or urinary tract health is a recurrent urinary tract infection.
Keep reading to learn ten ways of how to improve your urinary tract health.
Symptoms of a Bladder or Urinary Tract Infection
Bladder and urinary tract infections are quite common. They are one of the most common infections in the body and can occur anywhere in the urinary system.
Symptoms of an infection are:
- Pain or burning during or after urination.
- Fever above 101 degrees F.
- Urinating only a small amount after a strong urge to urinate.
- Having a weak urine stream.
- Foul-smelling urine.
In severe cases, older people may encounter mental changes or confusion as well as muscle aches, abdominal pain, and excessive tiredness.
Men with BPH often encounter these additional symptoms:
- A frequent need to urinate, even right after urination.
- Waking up more than twice at night to urinate.
10 Ways Men Can Improve Their Urinary Tract Health
Many things can affect bladder health and urinary tract health. It is not possible to completely control everything, but there are some steps you can take to improve it.
Below are 10 steps that can help immediately:
1) Increase consumption of water
Increased fluid intake, particularly water, is generally beneficial for kidney and bladder health. Every healthy adult should ingest 32 to 64 ounces per day of clean, pure water.
2) Stop smoking (if you smoke)
Smoking accounts for over 60,000 cases of bladder cancer in the US. Smoking tobacco is an important risk factor for bladder cancer.
Tobacco smokers are 2 to 3 times more likely to get bladder cancer than non-smokers. A recent study found that smoking causes half of all bladder cancers in both men and women.
3) Maintain a healthy weight
The latest statistics indicate that more than 40 percent of the population in the US is obese. Worldwide the numbers are even higher.
A recent study estimated 27 percent of the US population diagnosed with bladder cancer was categorized as overweight, and approximately 35 percent were categorized as obese.
4) Reduce consumption of alcohol and caffeine
Caffeinated beverages have been shown in some studies to increase the risk of bladder cancer and urinary problems.
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5) Get regular exercise
Regular exercise can also help to maintain a healthy weight and avoid obesity. Being physically active can also help prevent constipation.
6) Empty your bladder every few hours
Urine held beyond the point at which the body is telling you to urinate tends to weaken the bladder muscles. It can also add to the risk of a bladder or urinary tract infection.
Insufficient emptying of the bladder regularly can lead to a backup of urine to the kidneys. This is a condition called urinary retention that can initiate a process of kidney damage.
7) Urinate after sex
By urinating immediately after sex, and the urine can flush out bacteria that might have inadvertently entered into the urethra before entering the bladder. This can help prevent urinary infections as well as Candida overgrowth.
8) Learn to do Kegel exercises
This helps prevent urinary leakage when you sneeze, cough or laugh. Kegel exercises can also help prevent sudden urges to urinate.
9) Empty the bladder fully when urinating
10) Avoid constipation
Low fiber foods typically in the Standard American Diet (SAD) are notoriously bad for causing people to encounter constipation. High-fiber foods like whole-grain bread and cereals, as well as all vegetables and fruits, contain high levels of soluble fiber and can help you avoid constipation.
Aside from causing problems with hemorrhoids, constipation puts additional stress on the bladder, adding to the risk of developing bladder problems or urinary complications.
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Each kidney has a tube called the ureter that drains urine from the kidney to the bladder.
The ureters simply allow the urine to trickle into the bladder. Human kidneys are not built to handle any backpressure.
If the bladder is full or not accepting the incoming urine, back pressure builds within the kidneys. Such abnormal pressure is known as urinary retention and can cause permanent damage to the kidneys.
To maintain a healthy urinary tract, be sure to fully empty your bladder. Men with BPH may find that double voiding helps.
Urination is a critical part of a healthy human body. Any illness or medical condition that impedes proper urination will cause potential problems.
A urinary blockage is a serious issue that should be resolved as soon as possible, even if a urinary catheter is needed to drain the accumulated urine.
Men with BPH may need to self-catheterize regularly unless they use herbal supplements, medication, or surgery to eliminate any urinary blockages. Long-term blockages can do serious damage to the kidneys.