Men: Is Your Bathroom Frequency Normal?Lisanne Wellness Center
It’s a subject we don’t think about until we REALLY notice a problem: our bladder health. But just because it’s not a glamorous topic of discussion, that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. Your bladder plays a vital role in your overall health, and an unhealthy bladder can cause larger problems.
The bladder is a small sack about the size of a pear. Its only job is to store (not create) urine. Urine trickles into the bladder slowly throughout the day (roughly every 10-15 seconds). You won’t start to feel like you have to use the restroom until your bladder is about half full, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait. Just like your mom always said when you were a kid, you might as well try to go if you’re about to be in a situation where you won’t have access to a restroom.
However, if you end up in a situation where you don’t have access to a restroom, your bladder will never burst: it’s surprisingly resilient. Your bladder can hold up to two cups of liquid, and even if you reach that threshold, you’ll just start to leak. It’s not ideal, but better than the dreaded burst bladder.
How often should you go to the bathroom?
On average, most people go to the bathroom 6-8 times each day. You may go slightly more or less frequently and still be considered healthy. If you go less often, you may need to drink more water. If you go more often, you may be getting too much liquid. Drinking a lot of coffee or soda can increase your bathroom trips, since caffeine can flush more liquid out of your body. Another factor that increases the frequency of your bathroom breaks is age. As you age, your body makes less of a hormone that helps you hold on to fluids. This reduces your bladder’s capacity over time. To avoid middle of the night bathroom trips, try cutting back on drinks about 2 hours before you want to go to sleep. You may also consider reducing your alcohol and caffeine intake after 2 or 3 in the afternoon.
What is OAB?
OAB stands for overactive bladder. At least 33 million Americans have an overactive bladder. If you’re waking up more than once in the middle of the night to pee, if you’re going more than 8 times a day, or if your bathroom frequency is affecting your life in a negative way, you should talk to your doctor.
Ways to improve bladder health
Avoid tomatoes: Acidic foods (like tomatoes, strawberries, and citrus fruits) can cause inflammation of the bladder. These foods can wreak havoc on an already aggravated overactive bladder, especially if you need to pee often or have pain or pressure when you urinate. If you find yourself in pain when you pee, try cutting out acidic foods as well as alcohol, caffeine, spices, carbonated beverages, and artificial sweeteners, which can irritate the bladder.
Try Kegels: Kegels are an exercise typically performed by women to improve sexual performance and heal after pregnancy, but men can (and should) do Kegels as well. Kegels work the pelvic muscles, which control your bladder. If you routinely do Kegel exercises, you can greatly improve your ability to hold your overactive bladder, especially as you age. Several muscles in your pelvis work together to help you control your overactive bladder. To find these muscles, pretend like you’re trying to stop peeing. Flex these muscles 10-15 times, every couple of hours to keep your bladder strong.
When should you be concerned?
If you leak: If you leak when you laugh, cough, or lift something heavy, even just a few drops, you should talk to your doctor. You may be able to strengthen your overactive bladder with kegel exercises, or your doctor may recommend that you limit your beverage intake to certain times of day.
If you go too infrequently: If you pee less than 6 times in a 24-hour period, you may not be getting enough water in your daily diet. You can further tell that you’re dehydrated if your pee is a medium to dark yellow color. Your urine should be a very pale yellow. If you want to drink more water, try IDLifeHydrate, which comes in delicious flavors and makes you want to drink your water.
If it burns or hurts to pee: If you frequently feel like you have to pee, but when you try nothing comes out or it burns, you may have an infection. Most infections are caused by bacteria getting into the bladder. Talk to your doctor about treatment options, which may include drinking more water to flush out the bacteria.