There is certainly no shortage of stress these days, and that nagging anxiety can affect us in multiple ways, including physically. At some point in your life you will be forced to deal with it, so along with heart disease, high blood pressure, and kidney stones, here are 3 ways stress can impact urologic health.
Commonly known as UTI, urinary tract infections can be induced by stress. Feeling highly stressed is not the direct cause, but it leads to high levels of cortisol, which reduces the effect of the immune system. Stress can also distract someone from paying enough attention to other important factors that can trigger a UTI, like poor hygiene habits leading to infection.
Other typical causes of a UTI include wearing tight undergarments and consuming lots of sugary drinks. You can avoid urinary tract infections by:
- Drinking lots of water to flush out bacteria.
- Cleaning the vaginal area in the shower and after urinating.
- Wearing loose clothing especially cotton or other breathable fabrics.
Research has shown there is a strong correlation between stress, anxiety, and the bladder. When you’re nervous, do you find yourself going to the bathroom more often?
A clinical study discovered that those adults with anxiety had more frequent urinary patterns than those who did not.
At the same time, when you have urinary incontinence, you become even more stressed that you may not be able to make it to the bathroom in time. As a result, that anxiety makes your bladder even more reactive, and you become stuck in this “vicious cycle.”
Try to reduce the anxiety and incontinence by:
- Limiting caffeine and alcohol can both irritate the bladder causing a leak and making you even more anxious.
- Seeing Dr. David Schwardtzwald for the underlying cause of your urinary incontinence.
- Keeping a diary to find out the specific triggers of your incontinence.
IC is a chronic condition causing bladder pressure, pain, and sometimes pelvic pain.
Stress is not the cause of IC, but it can trigger a flare-up. When you stress at a flare, it only prolongs it and increases the intensity of the pain.
Reducing stress is the best way to limit IC flares and their severity. Try the following tips:
- Soaking in a hot tub will not only reduce stress but will relax pelvic muscles.
- Exercising will help to relieve stress. Swimming and water aerobics are best.
- Petting a dog is a great way to reduce daily stress.