A summer barbecue isn’t likely going to make you think of your bladder, and the pool might not bring your urinary tract to mind, but these outside summertime activities come to play on the inside as well.
The heat causes the body’s systems to react in ways we don’t think of. When temperatures rise, more blood flows to the skin, transferring heat to the surface (the result is sweat, which cools you down as it evaporates). Meanwhile, blood vessels expand when the body’s temperature climbs, resulting in lower blood pressure and other changes.
These alterations – especially the sweating part – strongly affect how the urology system works in the summer. Your summer habits – from what you eat to what you do – can play a role in managing this. So, enjoy the warmer months, with the compliments of these tips for maintaining and improving urinary health during the summer.
- Replace the Liquids you Sweat
The average person can sweat up to two liters in an hour of physical activity, and the body needs that liquid to flush out bacteria toxins, and waste. If not carried out of that body, bacteria can cause urinary tract infections (UTIs) in the kidney, bladder, and urethra. The Institute of Medicine advises men consume about 13 cups of liquid a day, and women drink nine – this includes liquids found in foods.
- But Take it Easy on the “Fun” Drinks
Long evenings and lists of get-togethers can translate to a few more cocktails than you may be used to. Before enjoying that second drink, have a long glass of water to keep hydration balanced. Alcohol, as a diuretic, speeds up dehydration and that can exacerbate the risk of kidney stones, which occur when there is a higher saturation of minerals and salts in the urine.
- Watch Your Urine for Clues
There are many ways to tell if you are dehydrated beyond thirst, including dizziness and fatigue. Before it gets to that point, a urine color check can provide guidelines. Healthy, well-hydrated urine is clear or pale. Golden or honey-colored pee indicates dehydration. If the urine is pink or orange, it may indicate hematuria, or blood in the urine, due to a urinary tract infection, enlarged prostate, or kidney stones.
- Stretch, Run, and Clench
Any doctor-approved exercise is good for the whole body, including targeted areas of the urinary tract. Yoga, for example, may improve symptoms of lower urinary tract conditions, such as pelvic floor prolapse. Men who run at least 90 minutes a week are less likely to develop erectile dysfunction, research suggests. Even “no-sweat” exercises can do the urinary tract good – Kegel exercises, by strengthening the pelvic muscles, can aid in a range of health issues from incontinence and prolapse to general bladder function.
- Get Sunlight (But Wear Sunscreen)
Protect your skin from the sun, but remember that UVs do make vitamin D – which is essential for bodily health. Research indicates that low levels of vitamin D can put a person at higher risk of overactive bladder, enlarged prostate and urinary tract infections. Higher levels of vitamin D have even been shown to improve sexual functions in women, according to a Canadian study.
- Leave the Smoking to the Grill
Get a head start on the Great American Smokeout in November and quit now. Cigarette smoke has been shown to contribute to a wide range of urological ailments, including kidney and bladder cancers, kidney stones, infertility, and interstitial cystitis (painful bladder syndrome). These are not the smokin’ hot conditions you want your body to be in.
Follow These Tips and Enjoy Your Summer, Inside and Out
No matter where or how you enjoy the summer, know that rising temperatures can interfere with how well your urinary tract does its job. So stay hydrated, remain active, and know you can make the choices so you feel as good inside as you look on the outside.
To learn how to get a urinary wellness check, visit us here. And for other tips to limit UTIs in the summer, visit our blog.