These days, there seems to be a purported “cure” for just about everything that ails us. From oils, potions and lotions to some downright dangerous activities, people will go to great lengths to naturally “cure” themselves of a host of conditions and illnesses. While not all natural remedies are harmful, most offer nothing more than a placebo effect concerning how well they actually work. So when it comes to your urological health — the care and keeping of your bladder, kidneys and pelvic organs — what can you do that’s “natural” to keep them in tip-top shape, while also staving off painful urological conditions? Here is a recommendation for a potion that’s simple, holistic and free: Drink more water.
If you rolled your eyes at that recommendation but kept reading, you get an A plus. I know it sounds incredibly basic and simple, but people today just don’t drink enough water — plain and simple. With bodies that are comprised of 60 percent water, it’s essential for the proper function of every organ system we’ve got. And if that fact alone isn’t enough to persuade you, here are some crucial facts about your water intake’s impact on your urological organs:
Kidneys. You can think of water as the housekeeper of your kidneys. It helps them remove waste from your bloodstream and take out the “trash” in the form of urine. It also helps keep your blood vessels dilated, allowing them to nourish the kidneys with essential nutrients. When your body is dehydrated, your kidney function can become impaired. Severe or prolonged dehydration can even lead to damaged kidneys. In fact, one significant risk factor for the development of painful kidney stones is consistently low urinary volume. It stands to reason that when you aren’t hydrating, your urine output is reduced. When urine is in concentrated form and the water intake isn’t enough to dilute it, stones can form.
Bladder. Urinary tract infections, frequently referred to as UTIs, are the result of urine that has pooled in the bladder long enough to allow bacteria to grow — resulting in the painful, itchy, burning and other unpleasant sensations that are classic features of a UTI. A UTI can be brought on by many issues — an enlarged prostate and sexual activity are examples — but one surefire way to help reduce your risk of developing one is to empty the bladder more frequently. When you’re drinking an adequate amount of water, your bladder will tell you when it’s full and ready to be emptied by signaling the urge to urinate. Urinating consistently throughout the day can help flush your body of those harmful bacteria before they have a chance to become an infection. Additionally, many people who suffer from overactive bladder think that restricting or reducing the intake of fluids will help solve the problem. However, doing so can have the opposite effect. Not drinking enough can cause that over-concentration of urine in the bladder which can irritate the bladder — causing spasms or UTIs and making OAB symptoms worse. Finding the right balance between under- and over-hydration is critical.
Pelvic organs. If water’s role in keeping your kidneys and bladder working correctly wasn’t enough, here’s some more convincing information. Hydration has an impact on your sexual organs, as well. Being properly hydrated results in more efficient blood flow throughout the entire body. For men, optimal blood flow is necessary to achieve and maintain an erection. So if you’re not drinking enough water, erectile dysfunction can be a result. For women, being properly hydrated is essential in keeping the vagina lubricated during sex. Dehydration can reduce that lubrication, which can result in painful intercourse.
Of course, the question on most everyone’s mind when it comes to proper hydration is: What’s enough? The answer is that the amount of water intake you need depends on you. For example, do you exercise a lot? If so, you’ll need more than someone who doesn’t. And for older adults, staying on top of hydration is essential throughout the day. Generally, healthy people should aim for 30 to 50 ounces of water at consistent intervals throughout the day — not all at once.
If you don’t love the taste of plain water, there are many gadgets and enhancements to naturally flavor it with fruit so you’ll be more likely to drink it. Believe me, your urological organs may not be able to tell you they’re happy about you staying hydrated — but if you never develop a painful UTI or kidney stone as a result — that will be all the thanks you need.
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