A healthy bladder and bowel are central to a happier life. If we feel confident in our bodies, we can explore the world with confidence and find enjoyment. For whatever reasons, there will be times for all of us that our rhythm is disrupted, as we struggle with the effects of illness, ageing, stress and many other factors. Although there are a host of incontinence products to help us maintain our self-esteem and hopes for our lives, we should do all we can to keep our system healthy.
Here we guide you through some of the measures you can take to avoid our bodies responding sensitively to your lifestyle. With some sound choices, we can maintain our digestive and urinary health.
Maintaining a healthy bowel
Your bowel is most influenced by our lifestyle and by our intake of food. Therefore, the steps to maintaining a healthy gut are more obvious. However, they are worth stating explicitly, so you can manage your well-being.
Eat a balanced diet: Eating your five a day and ensuring there is fibre in your diet sounds like a bore. However, for your bowel, they are a happy mixture that keeps it flowing regularly. Therefore, you should attempt to eat whole grains and cereal, fruits, nuts and seeds, and oats, potatoes, and green beans.
Drink lots of fluids: You might think drinking water is something that your urinary tract appreciates, but it is also essential for a healthy bowel. Eating a lot of fibre is only beneficial, for instance is matched by plenty of fluids. It is a necessary ingredient for avoiding constipation.
However, it would help if you attempted to limit the amount of alcohol you take in. Alcohol contains a lot of bacteria that does not interact well with your microbes in your gut. Too much alcohol can also adversely impact your mental health, which in turn can affect your stomach.
Chew food well: This sounds like advice from your mum, but mums always do know best. Chewing your food correctly breaks it down enough to give your digestive system a fighting chance. You would be surprised to hear that you should chew up to 30 times for harder foods before swallowing. It is not just about breaking down the food but also stimulating saliva and reduces the number of bacteria in your gut needed to break the food down.
Eat regularly: Missing meals is the best way to gain weight. It also breaks the much-needed routine and regularity that your bowel loves.
Exercise: Although exercising straight after you eat is a bad idea for your gut, keeping up a generally healthy lifestyle will keep you regular. It will help you to maintain your health, as obesity is a route to bowel issues.
How to maintain your bladder
Much like your bowel, your bladder is impacted by your lifestyle. However, there are lots of choices that can affect your bladder health for the positive too.
Empty the bladder: When you go to the toilet, make sure you fully empty your bladder. Taking extra time to make sure you have fully relieved yourself will help with the appropriate level of muscle tightness. Also, stopping the flow too soon pushes urine back into the bladder, which could introduce infections. This is particularly important to women. Therefore, they should take extra care – though this is also due to the proximity of the urinary tract to the anal passage – so wiping carefully is essential too.
Don’t hold on for too long: As soon as it is convenient, you should empty your bladder. Resisting the urge to go might cause sensitivity issues that leave you vulnerable to incontinence issues later in life. However, as with stopping the flow too soon, you also hold urine in the bladder too long, leaving yourself vulnerable to infection. For those with comorbidity, you may also increase your chances of kidney disease.
Drink lots: As mentioned when talking about the bowel, drinking plenty of water is essential to a healthy bladder. In any 24 hours, you should be emptying your bladder between four and six times a day. Therefore, you need to drink the right amount to stimulate this constant flow. Your urine should be pale – and the darker the urine, the more likely you are to irritate your bladder and potentially invite an infection.
Pelvic Floor Exercises: keeping the muscles in the area healthy and active is the best way to avoid leakage. Leakage is one of the more soul-destroying experiences as we age but can also cause irritation as urine is held close to the skin. If you are unsure what pelvic floor exercises to do, attend Pilates or yoga classes for some support.