September is Urology Awareness Month.
Organised by The Urology Foundation, this month aims to raise awareness of urological disease as well as raise money so they can fund vital research and training into these diseases.
It is estimated that 1 in 2 of us will be affected by a urology condition in our lifetime. Our urology health is vital to our quality of life. But diseases and cancers of the kidneys, bladder, prostate and the male reproductive system are becoming more prevalent and devastating the lives of millions of men, women and children in the UK.
Urology Specialist Nurse Sister Helen Lanka at NCIC explains what is a good amount of fluid to drink each day and what types of fluid should we be drinking.
She said: “It is really important to drink plenty of fluids each day. Our bodies need fluids, such as water, in order to stay hydrated. Drinking around six to eight glasses of water, as advocated by the NHS, will help keep our bodies in check.
“Some people can struggle with drinking such an amount of plain water, however, by drinking a variety of differing fluids such as tea, coffee, juice, cordial and flavoured water drinks plus eating lots of fruit and vegetables this monotony can be alleviated.
“It is worth mentioning that caffeine can irritate the bladder and make you go to the toilet more frequently, therefore, if you are making a lot of trips to the loo, it might be worth switching to decaffeinated drinks.
“Little changes like this, can make big improvements to your toileting habits. Remember in hot weather we need to drink more to stay well hydrated.”
Helen says a lot of patients suffering from urological problems often ask how often they should go to the toilet.
She said: “Going to the toilet is a natural part of being human and something, for the most parts of our lives, we probably don’t take much notice of.
“Only when things become an issue, do we sit up and take notice. Most people go to the toilet between six to eight times a day, maybe a bit more if they have drunk a lot of fluid. “Everyone is different and so it is important to look at what fluid is going into the body, as well as how much is coming out.
“Some people may have jobs where it is not possible to go the toilet regularly, and this can affect the function of the bladder by storing larger volumes of urine. The bladder can generally store between 400 – 600mls, and it is important we empty it regularly in order to maintain good bladder muscle tone and not overwork the bladder, thereby, making it less toned.”
Helen explains what signs people should look out for if they are experiencing urological problems.
She said: “Men and woman are different when it comes to their water works. For example, men have something called a prostate which lives underneath the bladder which the urethra (urine pipe), passes through. Over the age of 40 the prostate, which starts out the size of a walnut, starts to grow quite slowly and become bothersome in middle age by obstructing the urine flowing out of the bladder.
“Signs for both men and women that they should seek advice, is if they are making frequent trips to the toilet, not being able to hold their urine, getting up in the night, pain, blood in the urine or poor urine flow.
“It is worth keeping a diary for three days monitoring what fluid type and amount is going in, and then the volume of fluids coming out.
“With this information, combined with the urine issues you are having, go and see your GP, and they will be able to help or refer you into seeing your local Urology team.”