The Urinary System - Taking care: keeping the urinary system healthy
It is well known that aging taxes the urinary system. However, the many problems than can arise are not the inevitable consequence of aging and can be prevented or at least minimized. A person can lessen the effects of aging on the urinary system (like every other system in the body) by following a healthy lifestyle. This includes getting adequate rest, reducing stress, drinking healthy amounts of good-quality drinking water, not smoking, drinking moderate amounts of alcohol (or not drinking at all), following a proper diet, and exercising regularly.
A healthy diet is important in maintaining the health of the urinary system. A poor diet—one high in fats and meats—can cause kidney stones to develop. People who are obese or overweight place undue pressure on the organs of the urinary system, which can lead to further medical problems.
Drinking plenty of water is a necessity in keeping the urinary system healthy. The amount of water in the body helps the urinary system determine how many mineral ions, such as sodium, should be eliminated. The urinary bladder should be emptied every few hours during the day, and drinking enough water should allow an individual to produce a large enough amount of urine to accomplish this. Producing large amounts of urine also helps to flush the urinary system, washing bacteria out of the normally sterile urinary tract.
To further prevent infection of the urinary system by bacteria, it is important to practice good hygiene by keeping the genital area clean. This is vital in both sexes, but is of special concern to women because of the structure of their anatomy. In women, the urethral opening is very close to the vaginal opening and the anus. After urinating or defecating, women should wipe their genital area from the front to the back to avoid introducing fecal matter into the urethral opening.
Good hygiene after sexual intercourse is also important. During intercourse, bacteria from the vagina or from a man's penis may be introduced into a woman's urethra. If left unchecked, the bacteria may spread and create conditions such as urethritis and cystitis. Washing the genital area and urinating after intercourse can help flush out any bacteria from the urethra.