Wednesday 22 February 2017

Marla Ahlgrimm Discusses Bladder Health

When is the last time you actively thought about your bladder? According to women’s health expert Marla Ahlgrimm, research suggests it’s probably been a while. However, this oft forgotten organ can have a profound effect on a woman’s quality of life.

Q: What are some common bladder disorders?

Marla Ahlgrimm: There are more than a dozen bladder-related conditions including overactive bladder, urinary incontinence, interstitial cystitis, bladder spasm, bladder infection, bladder cancer, bladder stones, and paruresis.

Q: How can bladder issues get in the way of everyday life?

Marla Ahlgrimm: The bladder is part of the urinary tract and is in close proximity to the reproductive system. Bladder issues can make it uncomfortable to walk, sit, run, and stand. An overactive bladder will result in numerous trips to the bathroom and, potentially, bladder leakage. Women with bladder infections or other problems often find sexual intimacy difficult.

Q: In your opinion, what is the most important thing a woman can do to keep her bladder healthy?

Marla Ahlgrimm: The bladder needs to be emptied several times a day, at least every three or four hours. Drinking plenty of fluids – and especially water – can achieve this frequency. Caffeine and alcohol can exacerbate bladder problems, so consume these in moderation. Maintain a healthy weight and eat a diet rich with whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Staying active and performing pelvic floor muscle exercises will help strengthen the muscles around the bladder and reduce the possibility of urine leakage while sneezing or coughing. This is especially true for women who have given birth vaginally as this can weaken the pelvic muscles.

Q: What are the risks of holding urine for an extended period of time?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Resisting the urge to urinate can wreak havoc on the bladder muscles and contribute to the risk of bladder infection. While getting to the bathroom every few hours may not always be viable, it’s not recommended to hold urine for more than five hours.


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