7 easy ways to support bladder and urinary health

You may not spend much time worrying about your bladder unless you really need to empty it or you start to develop a problem. Yet, you don’t want to neglect the health of this important organ. It is easier to prevent a bladder problem than it is to treat it, so following a few healthy habits will support your bladder and keep you for the most part unaware of the important workings of this organ.

Men are at a 300 percent higher risk than women for bladder cancer, which is the fourth most common internal cancer in men. Your bladder health is also affected by your prostate health, and many men’s urinary health issues stem from problems related to an enlarged prostate due to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

Luckily there are several easy and natural ways to support your bladder and prostate health, which will have a positive impact on your urinary health. Follow these seven easy habits to help you go with the flow.

Drink water

Drinking about six to eight glasses of water per day is important for flushing bacteria out of your urinary tract. Your kidneys remove fluids, toxins, and waste products from your blood and send urine to the bladder. These substances can be held in the bladder for long periods of time, which means that any toxins or cancer-causing substances in your urine can stay in contact with and damage the lining of the bladder. Staying well hydrated helps to flush these substances out of your body, which brings us to the next tip.

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Let it go

Don’t hold your urine. When you feel that you have to go, then go. The longer your urine sits in the bladder and is in contact with your bladder lining, the more it can damage it. When you hold your urine, you are putting yourself at risk for bladder infections and bladder cancer. That is why managing your prostate health is also important. If you do not completely empty your bladder, the residual urine left in the bladder can irritate your bladder and lead to more frequent infections.

Take cranberry

Taking cranberry for bladder health is not just an old wives’ tale. Cranberry contains ingredients that prevent bacteria from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract. This is good for all men, but especially helpful for men with lower urinary symptoms from BPH. The good news is that you don’t have to drink a ton of cranberry juice to get these benefits. Cranberry prostate benefits are also available in supplement form. Many prostate supplements contain cranberry.

Avoid bladder irritants

Some common foods and beverages can cause bladder problems and exacerbate prostatitis or urinary incontinence. If you suffer from bladder pain, incontinence, or a sudden urge to urinate after your eat certain foods like acidic or spicy foods, try eliminating those foods to see if your symptoms improve. Your morning coffee could be to blame as well. Caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea and soda can irritate your bladder and studies have shown that incontinence in men is linked to caffeine. One tea that can promote bladder and prostate health is green tea, so drinking decaffeinated green tea, which is one of the top drinks for prostate health, (or taking a green tea supplement) is highly recommended.

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Consume cruciferous vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, arugula, radish, cabbage and wasabi. Eating these types of vegetables five or more times per week can help in preventing bladder cancer. You get the best benefit by eating them raw so throw them in salads and smoothies, or eat them with a tasty dip if you need help getting them down.

Get moving

Exercise is a great way to manage your prostate health and urinary symptoms of an enlarged prostate. Walking around and getting exercise during the day keeps fluids from pooling in your legs. If you are sedentary during the day, these fluids can build up. This can affect your sleep at night because this fluid will move to your bladder as you sleep, causing you to wake up to urinate frequently. If you are restricted in movement and unable to walk, make sure to elevate your legs above your waist during the day to relieve fluid retention.

Supporting your bladder and prostate health

Men who have BPH are much more aware of their bladder due to common symptoms of frequent urination, nighttime urination, and incomplete emptying of the bladder. If you manage your prostate health with the above seven natural steps, you will enjoy the improvements in your lifestyle due to better bladder and urinary health. Eating well, staying hydrated, and avoiding foods and drinks that irritate the bladder and prostate will help you go a long way in managing your health and hopefully lead to a better night’s sleep.

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Dr. Geo Espinosa

By Dr. Geo Espinosa

Dr. Geo Espinosa is a naturopathic doctor, licensed acupuncturist and certified functional medicine practitioner recognized as an authority in holistic urology and men’s health. He is Clinical Assistant Professor and holistic clinician in Urology at New York University Langone Medical Center. As an avid researcher and writer, Dr. Geo has authored numerous scientific papers and books including co-editing the Integrative Sexual Health book, and author of the best selling prostate cancer book: Thrive, Don't Only Survive.