November is Bladder Health Month, as recognized by the Urology Care Foundation. It’s a time to recognize all bladder conditions from more serious conditions like cancer, to less serious conditions such as UTI’s. Bladder Health Month is broken down by week:
Week 1 Theme: Incontinence, OAB and SUI (November 1-5)
Week 2 Theme: Nocturia and Bedwetting (November 6 – 12)
Week 3 Theme: Bladder Cancer (November 13 – 19)
Week 4 Theme: Bladder Infection/Urinary Tract Infection (November 20 – 26)
Week 5 Theme: Interstitial Cystitis (IC) and Neurogenic Bladder (November 27 – 30)
Bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer in men. While bladder cancer can be genetically caused, in most cases it’s caused by the person’s lifestyle. This means that, for the most part, it’s preventable.
What Causes Bladder Cancer?
There are a few risk factors that can lead to bladder cancer:
- Family history
- Age (most men are diagnosed over the age of 70)
- Exposure to certain chemicals, such as those in dyes, paint, and textiles
- Being a white male
Age and smoking are actually the biggest risk factors. Quitting smoking and going to your doctor regularly after 60 can help prevent bladder cancer, along with many other health conditions. Some signs for bladder cancer include blood in your urine, dark urine, painful urination and frequent urination. If you are experiencing these symptoms and fit into a few of the risk factors, contact your urologist for information about bladder cancer screenings.
Urinary incontinence is the inability to control your bladder, causing a leaky bladder. Incontinence can happen at any age, but it’s more common in older women. There are a few types of incontinence:
Stress incontinence – Urine leaks out when you put pressure on your bladder by coughing, sneezing, laughing or exercising.
Urge incontinence – The urge to urinate comes in sudden bursts and involuntary loss of urine soon after.
Overflow incontinence – Your bladder doesn’t empty completely and as a result, you will experience dribbling and urine spotting.
Functional incontinence – The lack of ability to prepare yourself to urinate in time. Such as not being fast enough to make it to a toilet, or arthritis making it difficult to undo your pants.
What Causes Urinary Incontinence?
You can experience one or more of these variations. Each has their own causes, but for the most part, incontinence is caused from excessive caffeine intake, alcohol, foods with large amounts of acid or spice, certain heart medications or excess vitamin B and C. It can also be caused by other conditions. For men specifically, BPH is an example of that. It’s important to see a doctor if incontinence is affecting your life.
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
While anyone can get a UTI, women are more common. In fact, 1 in 2 women will get a UTI sometime in their lives. A UTI is any infection of the urinary tract, such as the kidney, bladder or urethra. However, it’s more common to form in the bladder or urethra (lower UTI).
What Causes a UTI?
Bladder infections are usually caused by E. coli, a natural bacteria in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Sexual intercourse can also lead to a bladder infection. Specifically woman are more prone to this type of infection because of the short distance between their bladder and urethra.
More information about Bladder Health Month
The bladder is a complex organ, which also means there’s more chance that things can go wrong. Make sure this month to keep up-to-date with your bladder health by going to your doctor and taking preventative measures to avoid bladder conditions.
To schedule an appointment, call Dr. Kaplon at (941) 917-8488