September is Urology Awareness Month, organised by The Urology Foundation, the aim is to raise awareness about Urology and how urological conditions can affect us.
Firstly, what is Urology? It is the field in medicine which deals with the kidneys, ureters, bladder, prostate and male reproductive organs. Your bladder holds the urine made in your kidneys and tends to be one of those body parts that we don’t think about until it stops working properly.
Simple lifestyle changes and exercises, however, can help ensure that your bladder keeps doing its job — and doesn't call attention to itself.
Drink Plenty of Fluids — But Not Too Much
Drinking plenty of water, about six to eight glasses daily, can flush bacteria out of your urinary tract and help prevent bladder infections. Just be aware that if you're bothered by a constant need to empty your bladder and you're drinking fluids throughout the day, cut back on your intake & avoid caffeine, which makes you need to pass urine more often.
Take a Walk
Some people accumulate fluid in their legs during the day. At night, this fluid causes them to need to empty their bladders more frequently. If this is affecting you, try walking around more throughout the day. If you can't walk, flex your calf muscles and sit with your legs raised - to waist level if possible.
According to a 2013 Cancer Research Study, 1 in 39 men and 1 in 110 women will be diagnosed with bladder cancer during their lifetime It is thought that cigarette smokers have a two to three times higher risk of bladder cancer than non-smokers, so talk to your Doctor or Pharmacist about how to stop smoking.
Let It All Out
Women are especially prone to urinary tract infections, so try to make sure that when you go to the toilet that you empty your bladder completely
Pelvic floor exercises
Childbirth or menopause can weaken the pelvic floor muscles that hold the bladder and urethra in place. Then, any additional pressure on the bladder caused by a laugh, sneeze, cough, or exercise can cause urine to leak. Men may face similar bladder issues after they've had their prostate removed. If done correctly and over an extended period of time, pelvic floor exercises strengthen the muscles which support your bladder & will reduce incontinence symptoms.
When to see a doctor?
If you suffer from symptoms such as, blood in the urine, pain when you urinate, changes in urinary pattern, an inability to urinate properly or at all, incontinence (difficulty holding urine or leaking), pain in the lower abdomen, frequent urinary tract infections, erectile dysfunction or a lump in the testicle, it’s important to make an appointment with your GP. You may then be referred on for more tests.
At GP Care, we provide a NHS Community Urology Service in Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset and Gloucestershire. Patients referred by their GP to our service benefit from “one stop” assessment and diagnostic appointments within the community as well as very short waiting times of between just 2 – 3 weeks.
If you would like further information about Urological health and conditions, please visit The Urology Foundation website.