While it’s not exactly a hot topic of conversation, a healthy urinary tract is an essential part of your day-to-day life. The medical specialty of urology focuses on the health of the urinary tract. Responsible for extracting liquid waste and urination, the urinary tract is made up of the bladder, urethra, ureters, kidneys, and associated muscles.
All of these components must be working together and be in good health for normal urination to occur. Keeping your urinary tract happy and healthy takes something of a holistic and comprehensive approach. Luckily, there are some things urologists recommend that you do at home to improve the health of your urinary tract.
Hydration is Essential
One of the easiest and most effective ways to improve the health of your urinary tract is pretty straightforward: stay hydrated. Make sure you’re drinking 48 to 64 oz of fluid a day (that’s something like 6-8 normal-sized glasses). Ideally, more than half of this fluid would be water (when it comes down to it, there’s not much you can drink that is better for you than water).
The idea here is to keep anything from sitting in your urinary tract for too long. When you’re dehydrated, the chemicals and minerals filtered by your kidneys have more time to sit and collect--and this can cause issues with how your urinary tract behaves and may lead to passing kidney stones. The solution is to drink plenty of water and make sure your urinary tract stays nice and active.
Practice Excellent Hygiene
One of the most common ailments to impact the urinary tract is infection. Urinary tract infections (or UTIs) have a wide variety of viral and bacterial causes. But there are some ways you can minimize your risk of picking up an uncomfortable UTI. Practicing excellent hygiene is just one way, and that includes:
- Make sure to urinate after sex. This is true for both men and women. Urination helps flush out any bacteria that may have found their way inside the urethra.
- For women: wipe from front to back, especially after bowel movements. This will help prevent bacteria from contaminating your urinary tract.
- Relax and empty your bladder when you urinate. We’ve all had those moments when we rush through urination. As far as your urinary tract is concerned, rushing isn’t a good thing. Give yourself time to finish properly and empty the bladder. The longer urine sits in your body, the more opportunity bacteria have to grow and spread.
Listen to Your Bladder
You should be urinating at least once every three to four hours. It might be a bit more after you’ve had a cup of coffee or some tea, but that’s the average. If you’re limiting your urination opportunities (or holding your urine for an excessive amount of time), you may be putting yourself at risk for issues with your urinary tract.
Ideally, you’ll simply listen to your body. Go when you have to go and make sure that you’re emptying your bladder. You should also try to stay in tune with your body--if something doesn’t quite feel right or if there’s a burning sensation when you urinate, you may want to consult with your physician.
Urinary tract treatment can range all the way from antibiotics to special outpatient procedures.
A Healthy Diet Can Go a Long Way
Most urinary tract home remedies essentially boil down to prevention: keeping your urinary tract healthy. There are, for example, healthy foods for urinary tracts that might help prevent infections. There are also a few simple dietary and lifestyle changes you can make that will go a long way towards keeping your urinary tract healthy and happy. You could:
- Quit smoking. If you don’t currently smoke, don’t start! (Smoking is terrible for your urinary tract--as well as the rest of your body.)
- Limit your intake of caffeine.
- Avoid excessive amounts of alcohol.
- Make sure you’re eating lots of fruits and vegetables.
- Exercise regularly.
These aren’t all that different from what you would typically do to stay healthy in a general sense--but they’re all especially good for your urinary tract.
Keeping Your Urinary Tract Healthy
Your urinary tract is an essential part of your daily life--so it makes sense to try to keep this part of yourself healthy. If you have any questions about your urinary tract, schedule an appointment to talk to a urologist or contact us today!