When was the Last Time You Checked on Your Bladder?
Wednesday, March 15, 2023
We use our bladders all day, every day, but how many times do we think about its health and function? The hollow organ that stores urine makes a tremendous impact on our ease and quality of life, so we better take care of it … but how?
Kevin Banks, M.D., a Board-certified Urologist with the Genesis Urology Group, said it’s important to recognize signs that something’s amiss with your bladder’s health, prevent infections and screen for bladder cancer.
No laughing bladder: Symptoms to talk about
While common, these top three treatable bladder symptoms don’t need to disrupt daily life.
- Frequency. Healthy bladders need emptied every three to four hours during the day. At night, getting up to use the restroom between zero and two times is considered normal. Visiting the toilet more frequently than that means it’s time to visit with a physician.
- Urgency. If that “got to go” feeling comes on strong and suddenly, talk with a doctor to find the cause.
- Leakage or incontinence. Even if you experience minor leaks when sneezing, coughing or jumping, urologists can help.
“A lot of women think it’s a normal part of life after kids and getting a little older, but it’s not,” said Dr. Banks. “The good news is several medical options exist to help eliminate the problem. Frequency, urgency and leakage or incontinence are generally benign issues that can be treated, if not cured, with medication or minimally invasive outpatient procedures.”
Bacteria and bladders don’t mix: Prevent infection
Urine flow is the body’s natural defense against bacteria in the urethra, bladder, ureters or kidneys. While a steady stream of urine flow will flush out bad bacteria most of the time, some pesky strands can still cause trouble. Nearly 50% of women experience a urinary tract infection (UTI) in their lifetime.
To prevent UTIs, Dr. Banks suggests three simple solutions:
- Void directly after sexual intercourse. Sex is the most common culprit for introducing bad bacteria into the bladder.
- Women should wipe from front to back after using the restroom so bad bacteria from the anus does not get introduced into the vaginal cavity.
- Drink water. Fully equip the body to flush out bad bacteria by staying hydrated.
Check the flow: Screen for bladder cancer
For males and females of all ages, Dr. Banks said the No. 1 bladder-health symptom to watch for is blood in the urine.
“There aren’t a lot of warning signs regarding poor bladder health, but visible blood in the urine is the biggest one,” Dr. Banks said. “Even non-visible, microscopic blood found in the urine can be worrisome. That’s why it’s important to have a yearly physical with a primary care physician that includes a urine check.”
While a simple test, urinalysis offers the most efficient, noninvasive and inexpensive screening for bladder cancer. It also helps detect UTIs, kidney disease and diabetes.
The support you need
Talking about personal bladder issues may feel uncomfortable, but Dr. Banks and the urology team at Genesis aim to put patients at ease.
“I want people to know that these are not uncommon problems,” said Dr. Banks. “At least one in three people experience difficulty with their urinary tract during their lifetime. Thankfully, the field of urology continues to grow, and many treatment options exist; there’s no need to suffer through it.”
With 20 years of urology experience, Dr. Banks finds reward in seeing patients overcome urinary challenges and restore their quality of life. He compassionately provides a variety of urology treatments and procedures, including minimally invasive robot-assisted surgical procedures, prostate biopsies, vasectomies and more.
To schedule a consultation with the Genesis Urology Group, call 740-455-4923.