I’m a urologist, and yes, there is a wrong way to pee. Avoid these 7 mistakes

Peeing is part of the day’s routine and is a necessary function to get rid of waste that your body doesn’t need. It may sound simple, but there’s actually a right way and a wrong way to urinate.

Certain bad habits can lead to various urinary and bladder problems, both short and long term. Here are some of the most common mistakes people make, according to urologists.

Hold it longer than necessary

Sometimes holding your pee is unavoidable – we’ve all had to ignore the call of nature during long car journeys, movies or concerts. However, making it a habit or deliberately keeping it longer than necessary can lead to other problems, including UTIs, says Dr. Ashley Winter, board-certified urologist and chief medical officer of Odela Health. .

Think of a stagnant pond: The water will grow algae and bacteria, Dr. Evan Goldfischer, president of the nonprofit national urology professional association LUPGA, tells TODAY.com. Likewise, a full bladder is more susceptible to infection because bacteria can multiply. Contrary to popular belief, urine is not sterile, adds Winter.

That’s why it’s crucial to keep things that drain from the bladder out of the body by drinking water and urinating whenever the bladder starts to feel full, she notes.

In the long run, holding back your urine can allow the bladder to stretch too much, Goldfischer says, which can lead to loss of bladder function. Like an old rubber band, an overstretched bladder cannot return to its normal shape, he adds.

On the other hand, if you can’t hold your urine at all or leak frequently, you may have urinary incontinence and should talk to a urologist or pelvic floor therapist.

Not completely emptying your bladder when you leave

Along the same lines, not completely emptying your bladder when you urinate — for example, if you’re in a hurry — can also increase your risk of UTIs and bladder stretching, Goldfischer says.

But not completely emptying your bladder isn’t always intentional, and you might not even be aware of it, says Winter. This condition is called urinary retention, which can be acute and severe, or chronic and develop slowly over time, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Causes of urinary retention include: blockages, certain medications, infections and swelling, as well as neurological conditions, where there are problems with the nerves that send signals between the brain and the bladder, says Winter.

If you notice that your bladder doesn’t feel empty after urinating, talk to your doctor or urologist. According to the National Institutes of Health, symptoms of urinary retention include pain or swelling in the lower abdomen, frequent urination in small amounts, an urge to pee after urinating, and a slow stream.

Confusing an overactive bladder with a “small bladder”

According to Winter, it’s technically possible for someone to have a “small bladder,” but that’s usually not the case. “Most people who say they have a small bladder have a normal bladder, and they’re really talking about their discomfort threshold.”

The definition of an overactive bladder is urinating more than eight or nine times a day, Goldfishcher says, but this varies depending on the individual and factors such as age, lifestyle and health conditions. .

“Some people are programmed to have a very large prostate, for example, which affects how often you urinate,” he adds. Frequent urination can also be caused by drinking too much fluid.

But if you urinate more than nine times a day, there could be an underlying problem, such as an overactive bladder, urinary tract infection, kidney infection, bladder stones or diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic. In men, frequent urination can be a sign of a prostate problem. About one in six men have prostate cancer, so it’s important to talk to your doctor about prostate screenings, Goldfischer says.

If you’re unsure whether you urinate too often, Winter suggests asking yourself the following question: Is it affecting my quality of life? If your answer is yes, or if your urination habits are affecting your sleep, work, or social life, it’s time to see a urologist.

Overdoing it with caffeine or alcohol

Caffeine and alcohol increase urine output, Goldfischer says, and they’re also bladder irritants, which means they increase the urge to pee and cause pain or discomfort. according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Drinking too much of these can lead to frequent urination, which can disrupt your life or sleep, Goldfischer says. Alcohol and caffeine can make symptoms of an overactive bladder worse, so people with this condition, in particular, should watch their intake.

Due to frequent urination, caffeine and alcohol also promote water loss, so if you don’t drink enough water, they can be very dehydrating. Dehydration can lead to kidney stones and other health problems, says Winter. “If (your urine) is really dark and concentrated, drink more water,” she adds.

Not getting checked for recurring UTIs

A urinary tract infection occurs when bacteria enter the urethra and infect the urinary tract (which includes the bladder and kidneys). Symptoms include a painful or burning sensation during urination, frequent urination, a strong urge to urinate, and bloody or foul-smelling urine, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Sexual activity, anatomical problems, pregnancy and menopause are all risk factors for developing a UTI, experts note. UTIs are more common in women because their urethras are shorter than men’s, Goldfischer says, making it easier for bacteria to enter the urinary tract.

UTIs can be treated with antibiotics, but if left untreated, the infection can spread to the kidneys, according to the Mayo Clinic. “There is evidence that (having) a lot of urinary tract infections can lead to scarring in the bladder or prostate, which can affect your ability to urinate,” Goldfischer says.

The diagnostic criteria for recurrent UTIs in an adult woman is three infections per year, which should prompt a urologist to assess, Winter says. Because urinary tract infections in men are much less common, Winter recommends men see a urologist whenever they have a UTI, just to be on the safe side.

Urologists can screen for conditions that might predispose you to UTIs — such as kidney stones, low estrogen levels, or an enlarged prostate — and recommend the right treatment or prevention strategies, Winter says.

Ignore pinkish or reddish urine

The color of your urine largely depends on how much water you drink, says Goldfischer, but certain foods, vitamins and supplements can also affect the color of our urine.

Assuming you didn’t just eat beet salad, if your urine is pinkish or reddish, that could be a warning sign, says Winter, and you should see a doctor or talk to your healthcare provider. .

Blood in the urine (also called hematuria) isn’t always serious, but it can be caused by an underlying problem like a UTI, kidney disease or stones, or an injury, according to the Mayo Clinic.

“Blood in the urine can be a warning sign not only of infection, but also of bladder cancer,” says Goldfischer, adding that the most common risk factor for bladder cancer is smoking. “Anyone who has blood in their urine and a history of smoking…should definitely see a urologist and have them checked out.”

Regularly take mega doses of vitamin C

“Too much vitamin C can cause kidney stones,” says Winter, adding that since the pandemic, she’s seen an increase in people consuming too much with vitamin C due to its immune-boosting properties.

“Hardly anyone needs mega doses of vitamin C,” says Winter, because there’s no immune benefit to consuming a vitamin C supplement above the recommended daily allowance (90 milligrams per day for adults , according to the National Institutes of Health).

“The problem is that vitamin C in your urine becomes something called oxalate, and high levels of oxalate in urine can become kidney stones,” says Winter. “If you have fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet, you definitely don’t medically need a vitamin C supplement.”

This article originally appeared on TODAY.com

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