Peeing is a normal part of your day and a necessary function for your body to get rid of waste products it doesn’t need.
Certain bad habits can lead to various urinary and bladder problems, both short and long term. increase.
hold longer than necessary
Sometimes holding your pee is unavoidable. During long drives, movies, and concerts, we’ve all had to ignore nature’s call. Ashley Winter, Ph.D., board-certified urologist and chief medical officer of Odela Health, tells TODAY.com. .
Think of a stagnant pond. Water fosters algae and bacteria, Dr. Evan Goldfischer, president of the national nonprofit urology association LUPGA, tells his TODAY.com.Likewise, a full bladder can grow bacteria. therefore more susceptible to infections. Contrary to popular belief, urine is not sterile, adds Winter.
That’s why it’s important to keep things flowing out of your bladder by drinking water or urinating whenever your bladder starts to fill up, she says.
In the long term, holding urine can overstretch the bladder and cause loss of bladder function, says Goldfisher. Like old elastic bands, an overstretched bladder cannot shrink back to its original shape, he added.
Conversely, if you can’t hold your urine at all or are leaking frequently, you may have urinary incontinence and should see a urologist or urologist. pelvic floor therapist.
not emptying the bladder completely when going
Similarly, not emptying your bladder completely when you pee (if you’re in a hurry, for example) can increase your risk of urinary tract infections and bladder distension, says Goldfischer.
However, not completely emptying the bladder is not always intentional. This condition, called urinary retention, can be acute and severe, or chronic and progresses slowly over time. Cleveland Clinic.
Causes of urinary retention include blockages, certain medications, infections, swelling, and neurological conditions where there are problems with the nerves that send signals between the brain and the bladder, Winter says.
If your bladder doesn’t feel empty after urinating, talk to your doctor or urologist. Symptoms of urinary retention include pain or swelling in the lower abdomen, frequent urination of small amounts, still feeling the urge to urinate after urinating, and slow urine flow. National Institutes of Health.
Mistaking an overactive bladder for a “small bladder”
According to Winter, it’s technically possible for someone to have a “small bladder,” but it usually isn’t. We are talking about thresholds.”
Overactive bladder is defined as urinating more than 8 or 9 times a day, but this varies by individual and factors such as age, lifestyle and health.
“For example, some people are programmed to have a very large prostate, which affects how often they pee,” he adds. Drinking too much water can also cause frequent urination.
But if you’re urinating more than 9 times a day, you may have an underlying problem such as overactive bladder, UTI, kidney infection, bladder stones, or diabetes. mayo clinicFor men, frequent urination can be a sign of prostate problems.Approximately 1 in 6 men receive prostate cancerso it’s important to talk to your doctor about prostate screening, says Goldfischer.
If you’re not sure if you’re peeing too often, Winter suggests asking yourself: If the answer is yes, or if your urination habits are affecting your sleep, work, or social life, see your urologist.
Excessive intake of caffeine or alcohol
According to Goldfisher, caffeine and alcohol increase urine output and irritate the bladder. Cleveland Clinic.
Drinking too much of these can lead to frequent urination, which can interfere with your life and sleep, says Goldfisher. Alcohol and caffeine can exacerbate the symptoms of overactive bladder, so people with this condition should be especially careful about their intake.
Due to frequent urination, caffeine and alcohol also promote water loss, so not drinking enough water can make you very dehydrated. Kidney stone And other health issues, says Winter. “If (your urine) is very dark and thick, drink more water,” she adds.
Not checking out recurrent urinary tract infections
a urinary tract infection It occurs when bacteria enter the urethra and infect the urinary tract (including the bladder and kidneys). Symptoms include pain or a burning sensation when urinating, frequent urination, a strong urge to urinate, and bloody or foul-smelling urine. mayo clinic.
sexual intercourse, anatomical problems, pregnancy and menopause Experts point out that there are all risk factors for developing a UTI. Urinary tract infections are more common in women because women’s urethras are shorter than men’s, Goldfischer says.
Urinary tract infections can be treated with antibiotics, but if left untreated, the infection can spread to the kidneys. According to the Mayo Clinic“There is evidence that a high number of urinary tract infections can cause scarring in the bladder and prostate, which can affect the ability to urinate,” says Goldfisher.
The diagnostic criteria for recurrent urinary tract infections in adult women is three infections per year, which should prompt evaluation by a urologist, Winter said. Because urinary tract infections are less common in men, Winter recommends that men see a urologist whenever she has a UTI, just to be safe.
Urologists can screen for conditions that may predispose to UTIs, such as kidney stones, low estrogen levels, or an enlarged prostate, and recommend appropriate treatment or prevention strategies, Winter says. .
Shrug pinkish or reddish urine
According to Goldfisher, urine color is primarily based on how much water you drink, but certain foods, vitamins and supplements can also affect urine color.
If your urine is pink or reddish, assuming you didn’t just eat the beet salad, this could be a warning sign and you should see a doctor or talk to your health care provider. there is.
Blood in the urine (also called hematuria) isn’t always serious, but it can be caused by underlying problems such as UTIs, kidney disease, stones, or injuries. mayo clinic.
“Blood in the urine can be an early warning sign of bladder cancer as well as infection,” said Goldfischer, adding that smoking is the most common risk factor for bladder cancer. . “If you have blood in your urine and have a history of smoking, be sure to see a urologist to get it checked out.”
take large doses of vitamin C regularly
“Too much vitamin C can cause kidney stones,” Winter said, adding that since the pandemic, more people have been overdosing on vitamin C. Vitamin C This is because it has immune-boosting properties.
“Very few people need large amounts of vitamin C,” says Winter. Recommended daily intake of vitamin C (90 mg daily for adults, National Institutes of Health).
“The problem is that vitamin C in your urine becomes something called oxalic acid, and high levels of oxalic acid in your urine can lead to kidney stones,” Winter explains. If you have fruits and vegetables, you rarely need to add vitamin C.”
This article was originally published on TODAY.com