L. Thomas O’Connor, MD
Palmetto Health-USC Urology
While many of us may not think about our bladder, maintaining good bladder health remains important to promoting our overall health and well-being.
Some important bladder health facts:
- Small amounts of bacteria can live in a healthy bladder.
- The way you eat and drink can affect your bladder.
- Certain health conditions such as diabetes can heighten your chance of getting a bladder infection.
“Bladder function is more complicated than many people realize,” said L. Thomas O’Connor, MD, FACS, urologist with Palmetto Health-USC Urology. “It requires the brain to talk to the bladder and the bladder to talk to the brain. There is a lot of coordination between the two.”
According to Dr. O’Connor, there are three bladder health issues he sees the most:
- Blood in the urine. This can be dangerous, especially in people over 40.
- Infections. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common, particularly in women. If you’ve had multiple UTIs, see a doctor to make sure there aren’t any other problems in the bladder.
- Overactive bladders. This includes urgency of urination, frequency of urination and sometimes leakage in urine.
Dr. O’Connor suggests a few things to help limit bladder issues and promote good bladder health:
- Limit caffeine. Caffeine is an irritant to the bladder and can increase frequency and urgency in urination.
- Drink water. Not everybody needs to drink eight glasses of water a day, but you should consume enough in a day to stay hydrated.
- Consume in moderation. Whether it be tea, soda or alcohol, you should try to keep a healthy balance of fluids in your body.
“There are also a series of medicines and procedures we can use to address those symptoms in patients who don’t respond to conservative therapy,” said Dr. O’Connor. He recommends that if lifestyle changes do not greatly impact your bladder issues, consult your doctor for further examination.
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