Of all our organs, the bladder is definitely one of the unsung heroes of the human body. Even though many women don’t really think about it too often, this muscular, hollow organ is a really important component of our body’s urinary system. Because November is Bladder Health Awareness Month, we have a chance to celebrate this often-ignored organ and provide tips on how you can maintain a healthy bladder.

What Does the Bladder Do?

To understand the importance of the bladder, it’s important to understand the urinary system, what it does, and why. Essentially, the urinary system is like a complex biological plumbing system that consists of the kidneys, ureters (the conduits through which urine flows from the kidneys to the bladder), the bladder, and the urethra. One of the kidney’s main jobs is to filter out toxic by-products from the bloodstream and transform them into urine.

Urine is passed from the kidneys to the bladder, where it’s stored for a period of time before being expelled from the body via the urethra. The bladder will typically fill up to almost 17 ounces before we feel the urge to go to the bathroom. For humans in real time, we experience this biological process as a distinct feeling of pressure in our lower abdomen. Once we release the urine, we tend to feel relieved and think nothing of the process.

While it seems simple, the urinary system does way more than just make you go to the bathroom – it also regulates blood pressure, volume, and pH, as well as electrolyte and metabolite levels.

How to Keep Your Bladder Healthy and Happy

There are a number of ways that you can help improve your bladder health, including:

  1. Drinking at least 48 to 64 ounces of water a day
  2. Achieving or maintaining a healthy BMI
  3. Using the bathroom as needed (as opposed to holding it in)
  4. Wiping from front to back after urinating
  5. Urinating after sex
  6. Doing Kegel exercises
  7. Avoiding urinary tract infections
  8. Cutting back on caffeine, alcohol, and sugar
  9. Exercising on a regular basis
  10. Not smoking
  11. Wearing natural, breathable, and/or moisture-wicking underwear
  12. Avoiding tight-fitting clothing

It’s also good to keep up with your annual routine gynecological exam or to see your doctor if you’re experiencing any new or unusual symptoms. Symptoms to keep an eye out for include incontinence, a burning sensation during urination, frequent urination, unusual urine color or smell, and waking up several times a night to urinate.

To learn more about the importance of bladder health for women, contact Pacific Gynecology and Obstetrics Medical Group today.