How to maintain good urological health

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Robert mcconkey

Advanced Nurse Practitioner in Urology, University Hospital Galway

Many conditions of the urinary system (kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra) are not harmful, but they can have a huge impact on all areas of an individual’s life. Although often associated with women, the most common urinary system problems affect both men and women. These include stress incontinence (involuntary loss of urine) due to weakened pelvic floor muscles. It is more common after pregnancy in women or after prostate surgery in men.

Other common urinary problems are urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and interstitial cystitis (also called painful bladder syndrome), a chronic inflamed condition that causes bladder pain and the frequent need to urinate. An overactive bladder, which also causes a frequent and sudden urge to urinate day or night, can cause urinary leakage.

You can improve your overall urinary health by drinking plenty of plain water, maintaining a healthy diet and weight, exercising regularly, reducing your caffeine intake, and quitting smoking. Pelvic floor exercises and / or bladder training may be recommended for incontinence or overactive bladder. And medication or surgery may be needed if symptoms persist. Your general practitioner should be your first point of contact for the evaluation of urinary symptoms in order to rule out any more serious conditions.

Children should drink between a liter and a half and two liters of water-based drinks at routine times throughout the day. Photography: iStock

Liz boyce

Clinical Nurse Specialist in Urology, Children’s Hospital Ireland at Crumlin

Urinary incontinence is a common condition in children and is often associated with constipation. To help prevent constipation, children should eat a healthy diet, drink plenty of water, and exercise.

Understanding how the bladder works helps parents understand their child’s coping strategies and alleviate stress and feelings of guilt. The bladder should fill to capacity and empty effectively at routine times throughout the day. This cycle of filling and emptying helps stretch the bladder so that it can hold urine comfortably.

Very often daytime and nighttime humidity and simple urinary tract infections are caused by not filling and emptying the bladder during the day. So, encourage children to drink at every meal and snack hour and to use the bathroom regularly at home and at school. Children will need to urinate about six times a day and have at least three loose stools per week.

Children should drink between a liter and a half and two liters of water-based drinks at routine times throughout the day. Caffeine and sugary / carbonated drinks should be avoided and milk limited to two glasses per day. Drinking less to avoid getting wet is not a good idea.

Make sure the child can sit comfortably with their feet supported and be relaxed (not in a rush) when using the toilet. Use a toilet seat and footrest if necessary. Children should avoid postponing going to the bathroom when playing. It is important to go to the bathroom with a comfortable feeling, not to the point of bursting. To begin to solve the problem of bedwetting, some children first need to work on their drinking and toilet habits during the day.

Helen Keeble

Pelvic health physiotherapist

One in three women experience urinary incontinence after childbirth, and one in five first-time mothers have severe pelvic floor muscle damage after normal pregnancy and childbirth. So, learning how to do pelvic floor exercises correctly is crucial for postpartum recovery. Formerly called the secret exercises (because no one should be able to tell you are doing them by looking at yourself), pelvic floor exercises should be done once a day to prevent bladder leakage or three times a day to treat bladder leakage.

Start by tightening and lifting your anus on your own, making sure nothing else is moving. Then breathe in and out deeply to relax the pelvic floor muscles. Repeat 10 times. Then squeeze and lift your anus and hold for 10 seconds before letting go and taking a deep breath to relax the pelvic floor. Repeat five to ten times. It’s a good idea to start doing these exercises while lying down, gradually shifting to a sitting position (within about six weeks), and then doing them while standing (about six weeks later). See a pelvic health physiotherapist if you aren’t sure how to do them or if you don’t see any improvement after six weeks.

Dr David Galvin

Consulting Urologist at Mater and St Vincent Hospitals, Dublin and Principal Investigator in the Irish Prostate Cancer Outcome Study

Urologists take care of four of the most common cancers in Ireland, namely prostate, bladder, kidney and testicular cancers. Of these, prostate cancer – which is the most common cancer in men – accounts for 75% of our work. Prostate cancer can affect men from the age of 40. The prostate blood test (PSA) can be used to assess whether further tests are needed (for example, MRI) and it should be checked with your GP at age 45 and then periodically thereafter. especially if a man’s father, brothers or uncles have been affected.

The presence of blood in the urine is alarming and always requires urgent evaluation, as it may be due to bladder cancer or more rarely kidney cancer. Both of these conditions affect both men and women. Ninety percent of bladder cancer is caused by smoking, which is another great reason people quit smoking. In young men (aged 15 to 44), testicular cancer is the most common cancer, but thanks to the development of excellent treatments, it is today one of the most curable cancers. Any man who notices a new lump in a testicle should have it checked out immediately by his GP.

Urologists take care of four of the most common cancers in Ireland, namely prostate, bladder, kidney and testicular cancers.  Illustration: iStock

Urologists take care of four of the most common cancers in Ireland, namely prostate, bladder, kidney and testicular cancers. Illustration: iStock

Dr Rónán O’Caoimh

Geriatrician at Mercy University Hospital, Cork

and Marie Condon

Physiotherapist at Cork University Hospital, Cork

“One in seven older people in Ireland suffers from urinary incontinence and it is up to three times more common among older women. While the causes are often similar to those in younger people, pelvic floor muscle weakness, overactive bladder muscles, and in men, prostate problems increase markedly with age.

Chronic conditions such as dementia, frailty, stroke, and Parkinson’s disease and several medications, including diuretics, sedatives, and antidepressants, predispose older people to incontinence.

Although urinary incontinence is common, it is not part of the normal aging process. It can have a significant negative impact on the quality of life and lead to social isolation. Many older people do not ask for help. It is important to encourage older people not to be bothered by incontinence and to seek help.

The causes need to be investigated as effective treatment options are available from general practitioners, specially trained nurses, and licensed physiotherapists. A drug review should be done to remove or replace suspicious classes of drugs that contribute to incontinence problems. Licensed physiotherapists can provide advice on bladder recycling, bladder calming, behavior modification, and pelvic floor exercises.

Tips for better bladder control as we get older include reducing caffeine, avoiding going to the bathroom “just in case”, drinking fluids during the day, having your last drink 2-3 hours before bed. and empty your bladder before bed. As we age, gut health is also important to avoid stress on your bladder. Tips for a healthy gut include avoiding constipation by eating foods high in fiber, staying hydrated, and staying physically active.

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