Pee 101

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Your bladder is the last stop for storing and releasing toxins in your urine. But if your bladder isn’t healthy it can have a huge effect on your quality of life. Dr. Melissa Lem gives us the lowdown on pee, your bladder, and the surprisingly simple things you can do to stay dry.

Pee 101

All About Pee

The average adult makes and passes 800 mL to 2.5 L of urine per day. Its ideal colour is straw-yellow and clear, which indicates you’re not dehydrated or over-hydrated. Visiting the bathroom every two to four hours, or four to eight times per day, is considered normal, but whatever frequency doesn’t put a cramp in your lifestyle is usually just fine.

Light Bladder Leakage

About 25 to 50 per cent of women experience some form of incontinence. There are two types of incontinence: light bladder leakage and urge incontinence. Light bladder leakage (LBL) is exactly what it sounds like: when you leak small amounts of urine from your bladder by accident. Urge incontinence happens when the need to pee suddenly hits you because of unexpected bladder spasms. LBL is more common, and occurs when your pelvic floor muscles aren't strong enough to hold urine in your bladder when you cough or sneeze. Here are five everyday things that might just be increasing your chances of LBL:

1. Pregnancy

LBL affects younger women too — and pregnancy is one of the most common causes. In the first trimester, rising pregnancy hormones boost blood to flow to your kidneys and pelvis, increasing urine production and bladder irritation. Later on in pregnancy and after delivery, stress incontinence can occur because of pressure from the uterus on the bladder and stretched muscles from childbirth.

2. Obesity

Carrying extra weight puts extra weight on the pelvic floor, making it harder for your muscles to hold back leakage. In fact, for every five units your body mass index rises, your chances of stress incontinence also rise by 20 to 70 per cent! This is yet another reason to exercise and eat right at every stage of life to maintain a healthy body weight.

3. Menopause

When ovulation stops your estrogen levels drop dramatically, resulting in a thinner bladder lining that’s more prone to irritation. Not only that, but lower estrogen levels also weaken your pelvic floor muscles. To deal with these changes, talk to your doctor about medications and bladder training that can help to reduce urge-related LBL, and do your Kegels!

4. Constipation

Poop trapped in your colon puts pressure on the bladder, reducing its filling space, making it spasm and blocking it from emptying properly.  Also, because your bladder and colon sit side by side their muscles and nerves are closely related, meaning that problems with one usually affect the other. So treat yourself with more fluid, fibre and activity to get things moving.

5. Anxiety

Anxiety is a frequently overlooked factor that increases your need to pee. The "fight or flight" fear response shuts down the brain centre that controls urination, which can make some people run to the restroom 10 to 15 times per day! If you're a worrier and have ruled out other urinary issues with your doctor, try meditating and thinking happy thoughts to see if the urge passes.

 

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