The bladder is a hollow organ in the lower abdomen that stores and excretes urine produced by the kidneys. Urine travels from each kidney via tubes called ureters. The waste liquid leaves the bladder and exits the body through another tube called the urethra.
As the bladder fills up with urine, pressure is exerted on its walls, and it expands to accommodate the liquid. You can imagine it like a balloon filling up with water. The more urine, the greater the pressure which you experience as the need to go to the toilet.
The motor control of the bladder and the penis is controlled by the surrounding nerves. These send signals to the brain to indicate the bladder is full. When you are ready to urinate, the brain fires off a message to the muscles of the bladder and its inner lining, forcing them to contract or tighten and the urine to flow out of the bladder.
At the same time, the brain sends signals to the sphincter (the muscle surrounding the urethra), telling it to relax. When this happens, urine flows out of the body. The bladder empties completely when it and the rest of the body's urinary system are healthy and working normally. But problems such as an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia) can put the bladder under stress.
So how does an enlarged prostate affect the bladder?
When the prostate grows, it puts pressure on the bladder and the urethra. This affects how you urinate and may cause:
In some men, these symptoms of an enlarged prostate are mild and do not require treatments. However, for others, their quality of life can be affected.
BPH happens to around 50% of men over the age of 50. That percentage increases with age. If you are suffering from an enlarged prostate, you are not alone, and plenty of help is available.
BPH isn't cancerous and does not increase a man's risk of getting prostate cancer. They are two completely different conditions.
There are numerous treatment options available, and the right one for you will depend on the severity of your symptoms. The options range from taking medications that shrink the size of the gland to surgery to remove excess prostate tissue.
One of the newest treatments for an enlarged prostate is prostate artery embolization (PAE). This minimally invasive procedure targets the blood supply of the prostate and can significantly reduce the gland's size.
To perform PAE, the doctor inserts a small catheter (a thin, hollow tube with a balloon at the end) into the artery in your wrist or groin and feeds it to the vessels supplying blood to the prostate. Then tiny spheres are injected through the catheter and into the blood vessels to impede the flow of blood. As a result, the prostate shrinks, and symptoms improve.
An empty bladder is roughly the size and shape of a pear and is located in the pelvis, slightly above and behind the pubic bone.
Although there is no set amount a person should urinate, men typically urinate six or seven times a day. Among the factors that influence how often we pee are:
A healthy bladder can typically hold around 300–400 milliliters of urine a day. That is the equivalent of 1.5 to 2 cups.
It takes the body around ten hours to produce two cups of urine.
Holding urine for long periods can be hazardous to health. It can weaken pelvic floor muscles, which can lead to urinary incontinence. Holding urine for protracted periods may also cause the bladder to stretch and weaken and increase the risk of urinary infection.
Foods that are good for bladder health include bananas, garlic, berries, nuts and vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, radish, turnips and cauliflower.
Fiber-rich foods are also good for bladder health. This is because they help ensure healthy bowels, which are next door to the bladder. Foods such as fruits and vegetables can help prevent constipation. When you're constipated, it puts extra pressure on the bladder.
Foods that can irritate the bladder include acidic fruits like oranges and grapefruits, artificial sweeteners and spicy foods. All of these can aggravate symptoms if you have a urinary tract infection.
Drinking water is good for bladder health because it helps to flush bacteria out of the urinary tract. This can prevent infections.
Kegel exercises are an excellent way to maintain bladder control.
If you have been diagnosed with BPH or are suffering symptoms of an enlarged prostate, don't put off getting help. Contact the friendly and professional team at the Midwest Institute for Non-surgical Therapy (MINT). We perform PAE on an outpatient basis.
For more information and to schedule a no-obligation consultation, get in touch with us today.
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