Your bladder is an organ that you don’t really think about unless it is very full or you have a problem. And in those cases it can become all you think about. But it’s important to consider your bladder health, especially since bladder cancer is three times more common in men than in women. Your bladder health is also tied into your prostate health, as conditions such as enlarged prostate can affect your urinary health. Try to follow these 5 ways to keep your bladder healthy to improve your bladder (and prostate) health.
Drink plenty of water—about six to eight glasses per day—to flush bacteria out of your urinary tract. As the kidneys clean the toxins and waste products from your body, they send urine to the bladder where it is stored for long periods of time. Any toxins or cancer-causing substances in the urine that stay in contact with the bladder lining can damage it. Staying hydrated flushes these substances out of your body.
Don’t Hold It
When you have to go, go. The longer the urine stays in contact with your bladder lining, the more damage it can do to it. Holding in your urine can lead to bladder infections and bladder cancer.
Walk around and get exercise during the day to keep fluids from building up in your legs. When people are sedentary, fluids can build up during the day. At night the fluid makes its way to the bladder, requiring individuals to get up frequently during the night to urinate, which in turn affects their quality of sleep.
If you are unable to walk, be sure to elevate your legs above your waist to relieve fluid retention. Exercise also helps manage prostatitis and enlarged prostate, both of which can contribute to urinary symptoms that affect your bladder health.
Watch Your Diet
Certain foods can cause bladder problems or make prostatitis symptoms worse. If you notice that you have bladder pain, incontinence, or urgent urination after consuming acidic foods, you might avoid those foods to see if your symptoms improve. Many men are surprised to learn that caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea, and soda can irritate the bladder and that incontinence in men is linked to caffeine. Keep in mind that green tea can promote bladder and prostate health, so drinking green tea or taking a decaffeinated green tea supplement is recommended.
Cranberry has a long history of use for bladder infections, and for good reason. There are ingredients in cranberry that prevent bacteria from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract. This is important for men with an enlarged prostate because sometimes the prostate prevents men from completely emptying their bladder. Any residual urine in the bladder can lead to problems such as frequent urinary tract infections. You don’t have to drink gallons of cranberry juice to get its benefits; about 8 ounces a day is sufficient. As an alternative you can get cranberry prostate benefits in supplement form.
Eat Cruciferous Vegetables
Eating raw cruciferous vegetables five or more times per week can help in preventing bladder cancer. Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, radish, cabbage, arugula, and even wasabi.
Supporting Bladder and Prostate Health
It should come as no surprise that managing your prostate health will also help improve your bladder health. Men with an enlarged prostate due to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) are much more aware of their bladder, as they typically experience symptoms of frequent urination, nighttime urination, and incomplete emptying of the bladder to name a few. Trying natural treatments for BPH can also support your bladder and urinary health. Look to your lifestyle in terms of diet, exercise, and hormone management as ways to keep your bladder healthy and to promote good prostate health.