What You Should Know

Part of understanding bladder leakage is knowing what happens to liquid between the time you take a drink and the time it leaves your body. Here's an easy-to-understand explanation of the process, along with some key facts you should know about how your body operates.

You know the feeling all too well: you have the sudden urge to go to the bathroom and need to find one fast. You probably aren't thinking about what brought you to this point, but rather how soon you can make it to the restroom. While learning more about how liquid travels through your body won't make trips to the restroom any less frequent, the information can at least help you to understand the process and see why it is essential to your overall health and wellbeing.

The Journey

Most people probably think of restroom trips as an inconvenience. But this process enables your body to rid itself of waste products and maintain the proper balance of water and chemicals it needs to function properly.

Here's how it works:

When you have a drink, the first thing your body does is to absorb all of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients. The extra liquid that you don't need is then converted by your body into a form of waste. Next, the waste product is filtered and is turned into urine, which is moved into your bladder in small amounts every 10 to 15 seconds. On average, your bladder can hold about two cups, or sixteen ounces, of urine comfortably for anywhere from two to five hours. When the bladder is full, it sends a signal to your brain that it needs to be emptied. When your brain receives this message, you can either respond by holding the liquid in for longer, or by finding a bathroom and releasing it. In the course of a typical day, most healthy adults pass about a quart and a half of urine when you add up all their bathroom trips. While the process of going to the bathroom when you need to may sound straight forward enough, the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse estimates that as many as half of all women sometimes have trouble holding in their urine till they make it to the restroom.

Not all Liquids are Equal

How long it takes from when you first have a drink to when you need to go to the bathroom can be about half an hour, but many factors can alter this timeframe. What Exactly what, not just how much, you eat and drink can also certainly makes a difference. Things like caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and even juices with high acid content (such as orange juice) can irritate your bladder and cause you to urinate more often. These beverages can also contribute to those annoying leakages.

What You Can Do

If you find yourself having to go to the bathroom with increased frequency and/or having trouble holding your urine in, the experts recommend cutting back or even eliminating some of these irritants from your daily menu. You may also want to talk to your doctor about the variety of easy and effective coping strategies that are readily available today including but not limited to Kegel exercises and specially designed bladder control pads and liners.

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