Your Bladder: Creative Eldering – July 2020

The term bladder indicates a soft sided sack that can hold liquid or gaseous fluids.  Of course, we are talking about your urinary bladder in this article.  One type of seaweed termed bladderwrack has numerous small air sacs (bladders) that float the long dark brown fronds of seaweed on the surface of the ocean to allow maximum exposure of the seaweed to sunlight.  I have seen massive growths of bladderwrack on the Pacific Ocean off the Oregon coast, an amazing sight to see.  An interesting correlation to human health is that bladderwrack seaweed is helpful to the thyroid gland.  For some individuals suffering thyroid issues, certain acupuncture points on the bladder Meridian may be helpful.  In some cases of urinary incontinence, acupuncture treatment for the thyroid may be beneficial.  Our miraculous bodies are closely intertwined with other aspects of themselves, and our environment.

Your bladder is probably between the size of a small orange and a large grapefruit.  For the adult it is usually located 4 to 6 inches below the navel and at least part of it is protected by the pubic bone.  Your bladder is an important part of your urinary system, constantly accepting waste products and excess fluid that your kidneys filter and direct out of your body.  Your kidneys are filtering your blood on a 24/7 schedule.  Liquid wastes are separated from the constituents your body can recycle and reuse.  Small amounts of liquid wastes a few drops at a time trickle from your kidneys into their attached drainage tubes, your ureters, and then ultimately land in your bladder.  The urine collects in the bladder until you have an urge to release it and can find an appropriate facility.

Your bladder slowly fills with urine as your kidneys continue working.  Then it begins to indicate to you that it is filling when it is about one quarter full.  The average adult bladder that is not impaired typically can hold about two cups or 16 ounces of urine comfortably.  The average healthy and robust adult who is reasonably hydrated will need to empty their bladder every 2 to 5 waking hours.  Obviously, all these general facts will vary from one person to the next based on their physical size, physical condition, their activity (more fluid leaving the body by perspiration means less fluid leaving by urination), their level of hydration, and their dietary intake.  Watery or water containing foods yield more liquid, watermelon is an example of a water-yielding food. Soup is another example.

Your bladder may have begun signaling you that it was beginning to fill when it had a considerable amount of capacity yet available for more urine, allowing you more time to wait for a convenient “potty stop”.  Your bladder has the ability to expand and contract as your stomach does.  Your bladder is composed of muscle tissue and a soft endothelial lining and has a rich nerve supply.  As it continues to fill, the nerve ending sensors in your bladder that signal your brain are triggered more intensively, hopefully bringing to your conscious mind the fact that you need to search out a rest room or rest stop area. If you habitually forestall emptying your bladder and cause it to over fill, you can weaken the bladder muscles and signaling system.  Over years this can cause bladder dysfunction, and possibly lead to incontinence or overflow incontinence.  A serious consequence of habitually ignoring nature’s call to urinate is that the urine can back up from the full bladder and damage the valves of the ureters and even backup towards the kidneys.  This reverse flow of urine may cause urinary tract infections and ultimately kidney damage. 

Chapter 2 in my book, YOUR BODY CAN TALK, second edition provides additional insight and self-help measures that I encourage you to examine.  Remember that YOUR BODY CAN TALK, and you need to listen.  Listen to your bladder and what it needs.

Article written by Susan L. Levy, D. C.
Author of “Your Body Can Talk, 2nd Edition” and “Your Aging Body Can Talk”  |

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