The kidneys are two bean-shaped size organs located below the rib cage behind the belly that filters the blood and removes wastes and excess fluids from the body in the form of urine. The bladder, located in the pelvis, stores the urine before it signals the brain that the person is ready to empty it. A healthy bladder can hold up to 16 ounces of urine for two to five hours.
As we age, our urinary functions may change. The kidney’s filtering capacity, as well as the bladder’s storage capacity may decrease. Bladder muscles may also weaken. Blockage of the urethra, the tube where the urine passes through during urination may also
occur. These may result in kidney and bladder problems, and here are the four common types you should know:
- Urinary incontinence – The loss or decreased ability to hold urine caused by weakened urethral sphincter, the muscles used to control the exit of the urine. It affects twice as many women than men. Two of its most common types are stress incontinence wherein coughing, sneezing, or laughing can cause urine leak and the other one is urge incontinence or the strong desire to urinate that cannot be postponed.
- Urinary retention – The inability to completely empty the bladder, there are two general types of urinary retention: obstructive and non-obstructive. Obstructions like kidney stones and enlarged prostate block the urine from flowing freely. Weak bladder muscle and nerve problems cause non-obstructive retention that gets in the way between brain signals and bladder. If the nerves are not working properly, the brain fails to receive the message that the bladder is full. Some of the common causes of non-obstructive urinary retention are stroke, vaginal birth, pelvic injury, impaired muscle due to medication, and brain or spinal accidents.
- Urinary tract infection or UTI – This is an infection in any part of the urinary system: kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Most of the infections are found in the lower urinary tract, the bladder, and the urethra. While men are also at risk, women are more prone to UTI because women have a shorter urethra than men which allows bacteria to reach their bladder quicker than men’s. Blockages in the urinary tract caused by kidney stones or enlarged prostate retain urine in the bladder that heightens the risk of UTI.
- Chronic kidney disease – This means that the kidneys are damaged categorized as mild, moderate, severe, and end-stage. Hypertension and diabetes mellitus are the most common causes of kidney disease.
While these conditions cause discomfort, embarrassment, and long-term health problems, the good news is it can be managed. Phil.-US Dietitian-nutritionist Cheshire Que shares these four tactics that bear repeating because when it comes to healthy habits, we always go back to the basics:
- Be Physically Active – Sitting is the new smoking. Lack of exercise can render the pelvic floor muscles incompetent which leads to urinary incontinence. You may try various pelvic floor exercises to strengthen your muscles that support pelvic organs such as bladder and bowel.
- Keep Hydrated – The sense of thirst diminishes as we age. Do not wait until your throat is parched. Regularly take sips of water throughout the day. A good 8 glasses are adequate in a day. Add more if the weather is hot as well as before, during, and after exercise.
- Clean Correctly – For females, wash and wipe your private parts from front to back to prevent UTI. Men must also regularly wash. Both must always wear clean and dry underwear preferably made of cotton material.
- Watch What You Eat – Salty and spicy foods must be avoided especially of those who suffer from urinary incontinence and UTI. Adequate intake of lean high biological value protein from must be observed when dealing with Chronic Kidney Disease. It is not just the amount of protein that needs to be considered but more importantly, the quality. Proteins from animal sources such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and yogurt have a higher biological value than those from plant sources like plants, legumes, grains, nuts, seeds, and vegetables.
Incontinence, while not life-threatening, has the potential to negatively impact lives. In addition to a healthcare professional’s guidance and advice, you also need the right pad. So Sure Bladder Leakage Pad is your partner, a brand you can trust to provide you your much needed protection against discomfort and embarrassment brought about by leaky bladders. It is made of high quality super absorbent cotton that keeps the sensitive area dry, keeping bacteria and infection at bay. Unlike your regular menstrual pad, So Sure has a blue acquisition layer that quickly absorbs a heavy amount of urine. It guides it through the inner layers of the pad, making sure there are zero leaks and overflow!
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