Bladder health isn’t usually a topic of conversation, even though everyone is affected by it in some way. Some common bladder problems that can disrupt your day-to-day life are urinary tract infections (UTIs), lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS), and other serious bladder concerns. Fortunately, there are lifestyle changes that you can make to keep your bladder healthy.
In general, stopping tobacco smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, keeping physically active throughout life, and eating a healthy diet can help keep your bladder healthy, and reduce your risk of other health concerns such as heart disease and diabetes. Here are some tips that are specific for bladder health.
Bladder Health Tip #1 Don’t smoke.
Tobacco smoking is the single largest risk factor for an unhealthy bladder. Smokers are at least three times as likely to develop abnormal bladder cells as non-smokers. Smoking is estimated to contribute to half of all bladder tumors. If you smoke, now is the time to stop. For tips and help to quit smoking, see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Bladder Health Tip #2 Limit workplace exposure to chemicals.
Workers in rubber, leather, and textile industries, as well as painters, machinists, printers, hairdressers (probably because of hair dyes), and truck drivers (likely due to diesel fumes), have bladder concerns. Smokers who work with cancer-causing chemicals are at especially high risk. Follow good work safety practices and limit other exposure, such as personal use of hair dyes, or exposure to diesel fumes.
Bladder Health Tip #3 Get your well-water tested.
There is strong evidence that drinking water containing arsenic is not good for your bladder health. Arsenic may be present in parts of the world where the water supply is not regulated. In the US, public drinking water meets standards for arsenic, so this is not a concern. If you drink well water, however, there may be some concern. According to a study by the US Geological Survey and CDC, over two million people in the US may be drinking well water high in arsenic. If you have concerns about water safety, have your well water tested for arsenic content, and drink bottled water if you are spending time in a developing country.
Bladder Health Tip #4 Drink plenty of fluids.
Not drinking enough fluid can cause harmful substances to stick to the walls of your bladder, resulting in bladder irritation. Try to drink a minimum of 64 ounces of fluid each day. Although this amount is a good general goal, fluid needs vary from person to person. If you take certain medications, you work outdoors in the heat, or you are an athlete or avid exerciser, you may need more fluid than this.
Water is the best fluid choice, although all fluids count. Even foods can contribute to your fluid intake. Many vegetables and fruits have a high-water content. Eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits, in addition to drinking plenty of water, will keep you well-hydrated.
Bladder Health Tip #5 Eat more vegetables and fruits.
Eating 5-9 servings every day of a variety of colorful vegetables and fruits protects against many health concerns, such as abnormal cell development, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Here are some ideas for adding more vegetables and fruits to your day.
- Add a slice or two of tomatoes to your eggs.
- Make a spinach and mushroom omelet.
- Top your yogurt with blueberries or strawberries.
- Add apples and cinnamon, or bananas and nuts to your oatmeal.
- Add lettuce and tomato to your turkey sandwich. Serve with fruit.
- Make salad your meal. Fill your plate with dark leafy greens (baby kale or spinach) and add your choice of vegetables, nuts or seeds, cheese, fruit, and your favorite dressing.
- Chop raw broccoli, carrots, and yellow/red peppers and serve with hummus.
- Slice a banana or apple and dip into peanut butter or almond butter.
- Serve your favorite roasted vegetables along with fish or poultry. Try this Sheet Pan Salmon and Roasted Fall Vegetables recipe from the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), and check out this article for tips on how to roast any vegetable to perfection.
Bladder Health Tip #6 Drink tea.
According to the World Cancer Research Fund and AICR, there is some evidence that drinking tea can help to keep your bladder healthy. Green tea, in particular, contains antioxidant flavonoids called catechins that have been touted for many health benefits. Drinking tea may help boost immunity, promote heart health, and more. Consider drinking a cup or two of tea per day to reap its many benefits.For more information, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @Theralogix! Don’t miss an article! Sign up for our newsletter and we’ll let you know when our next article comes out.