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How do I Promote Bladder Health?

Bladder health involves overall health, adequate fluid intake, keeping the area around the urethra clean and dry, avoiding irritants and exercising pelvic muscles. Even the healthiest bladder could succumb to an illness, however. A checkup will help catch any bladder problems.

Adequate fluid intake varies from person to person, depending on diet, overall health and activity level. Generally, more water is better, because frequent urination flushes bacteria away from the urethra and bladder, which reduces the risk of urinary tract infections and yeast infections. Good bladder habits involve drinking plenty of water and urinating whenever the need arises.

The pelvic area should be kept clean and dry. When wiping, everyone should wipe from the front to the back, so that bacteria will not be wiped into the urethra. Yeast lives in the intestinal track and can come out during bowel movements. If yeast settles in the pubic area, a painful and itchy yeast infection can occur.

For best bladder health, experts recommend cotton underwear because of its breathability. This helps keep the pelvic area dry and prevents bacteria from multiplying. For the same reason, women should change their menstrual pads or tampons often. Although a douche seems like it would help, it actually washes away the protective mucus, leaving the body open to bacteria.

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Women should also urinate immediately after sex, in order to avoid urinary tract infections. Couples who use spermicidal condoms and diaphragms are at a greater risk for urinary tract infections than those who use an alternate form of birth control. A water-based lubricant is much better for the bladder than an oil-based lubricant, because it is easier to clean.

Oil-based lubricants can irritate the sensitive skin around the urethra if left for too long. Other irritants include tight or wet clothing and perfume. Swimsuits and exercise clothes should be removed as soon as possible. For optimal bladder health, no perfumed feminine hygiene products or perfumed soap should be used anywhere near the urethra. In addition, underclothes should be washed regularly in hot water without using fabric softener.

Strong pelvic muscles help contribute to good bladder health. The muscles of the pelvic floor hold the bladder and other pelvic organs in place. Kegel exercises help strengthen the pelvic muscles and are especially useful for those struggling with incontinence, men who are undergoing treatment for prostate cancer and women who are pregnant, have recently given birth or are experiencing menopause.

A healthy bladder diet includes cranberry juice and yogurt with live acidophilus bacteria. These types of foods help counteract the bacteria that cause urinary tract infections. In addition, drinks that contain caffeine and alcohol should be avoided, because they tend to irritate the urinary tract.

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