Imagine it – you’re on a road trip and you get the urge to pee but you think, “I don’t have to go thaaat bad. I’ll just wait until I have to pump gas again.” Most of us have been in similar situations where we hold in our urine just a bit to either finish something up really quickly or to get somewhere first. Usually, it really isn’t a big problem to occasionally hold in your pee – the problems happen when you do it for a long period of time over many years.
The process of “holding in your pee” is a combination of complex interactions between the muscles in your bladder and your urinary sphincter. Micturition, or the process of urination, involves the bladder muscles contracting and the urinary sphincter relaxing, allowing for the flow of urine. When holding in our pee, we are essentially training our urinary sphincter to stay contracted as well as allowing our bladder to relax and over stretch, weakening those muscles. This can make it very hard, if not impossible to pee later on. It can also lead to increased risk of UTI’s (yes men, you can get UTI’s too) or even urinary incontinence which is not being able to hold in your pee.
Well I am here to say STOP IT. Stop holding in your pee! Treat your bladder right and do things to keep it happy and healthy! Here are just a few tips to improve your bladder health.
1. This one is redundant, but STOP HOLDING IN YOUR PEE
– This one is simple, straight forward…, to the point. Holding in your pee provides no benefits, LITERALLY none. Not only does it weaken our bladder, but who wants to be voluntarily uncomfortable.
2. Stop drinking diuretics
– Do you like coffee? What about cola or alcohol? These are all considered diuretics. These substances increase the production of urine. If you see that you are having the urge to urinate more often and have a habit of holding it in, limiting the consumption of diuretics and bladder irritants may help.
3. Do some kegel exercises
– You’ve probably heard of women doing Kegel exercises, but men, did you know you can also benefit from regularly doing them!? Kegel exercises, or Pelvic Floor Muscle Training exercises are those aimed at strengthening the muscles in your pelvic floor. Pretty simple but strong pelvic floor muscles = more bladder control. And bladder control isn’t the only benefit to these exercises.
4. Stay away from certain foods
– Have you been noticing that certain foods you eat leave your bladder feeling a bit odd? Well that may be a contributor to bladder issues you may be experiencing. Try cutting down on acidic fruits and juices, or even spicy food. No, I am not telling you to completely avoid these (what kind of life would you be living if you did?) but find which foods cause irritation that way you know what to avoid.
If you have noticed any pain or discomfort while urinating, blood in your urine, going to the bathroom too often or too little, or any bladder leakage, schedule your appointment with a urologist to find the best treatment for you!