Every major system in our bodies depends on water in order to function properly. Adequate water intake can help flush out waste, prevent constipation, and regulate body temperature, among other things. But what happens when there's too much water in your system—or when you feel like there is?
The urgent need to urinate is a common problem for women, especially those who've gone through childbirth and all of the physical changes that happen. But childbirth is just one reason for a bladder that feels seemingly full all the time. Here are some other potential causes, as well as ways to avoid this not-so-great feeling.
Urinary tract infection
The cause: The most likely cause of frequent urination—or at least the urge to go—is a urinary tract infection (UTI). UTIs occur when bacteria enters the urinary tract, which can happen when holding in urine for extended periods of time. This can also contribute to urinary incontinence. If it's a UTI, you might experience burning or pelvic pain, blood in your urine, or the frequent need to go—with little to no actual urine production.
Prevention tips: To stop a UTI in its tracks—or prevent it from happening in the first place—listen to your body and urinate only when you need to. Also incorporate probiotic-rich foods like kimchi, kombucha and yogurt into your diet. Make sure to also urinate before and after sex, wipe from the front to the back, keep your genital area clean with showers rather than baths, avoid douching, and wear breathable underwear. If you do experience a UTI, a natural feminine spray can help ease symptoms.
The cause: If your urine is clear rather than pale like lemonade, you could be drinking too much liquid. This can lead to water intoxication due to a loss of important sodium and electrolytes, as well as an overstimulated bladder.
Prevention tips: Try taking inventory and writing down just how much you drink in a day to learn whether it's too much. Also focus on drinking water—which can flush out your system properly—and avoid alcohol and caffeine, as well as foods like citrus fruits, chocolate, spicy foods, and artificial sweeteners.
The cause: If you find yourself peeing more than eight times a day and you frequently wake up in the middle of the night to go, you could have an overactive bladder. This chronic condition can cause significant bladder pressure and pain.
Prevention tips: Lifestyle changes are crucial here. Avoid caffeinated drinks whenever possible, practice clean eating, and watch your water intake. You can also train your bladder to go at more regular intervals. Because your bladder will lose elasticity as you age, it's also important to do pelvic floor exercises regularly and resist the urge to push urine out, which can weaken the bladder.
The cause: There's undeniable proof of the gut-brain axis, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that if your mind isn't calm, neither is your bladder. This unease can be anything from nerves and stress to an underlying mental health issue.
Prevention tips: Eat as cleanly as possible, avoiding artificial sweeteners and packaged or convenience foods. Instead, focus on whole foods rich in vitamins A and C. Also talk with a mental health provider to help treat stress and any other underlying mental health issues.
There's no reason to live with a bladder that constantly feels full. There's a likely culprit, and if you've ruled out the potential causes above, it's time to talk with your health care practitioner. You can troubleshoot, make sure it's not something more serious—and hopefully give your bladder some much-needed relief.