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Facts about our bladder

August 8, 2023

reading time

6 min

The bladder is one of the most flexible organs in the human body. In this article you will learn more about the bladder, its function and incontinence.

What functions does our bladder have?

As already mentioned in the blog post about the kidneys, the kidneys filter toxic substances and other substances from our body. These substances are excreted in the urine. The bladder collects the urine produced by the kidneys. The urine is transported from the kidneys to our bladder via the ureters. The bladder therefore serves as a buffer for our urine so that we don't have to urinate all the time. When the bladder fills up, it expands - similar to a balloon. The bladder therefore changes its size and shape depending on how full it is.

How does the bladder know when to release urine?

In the bladder wall, which consists of a bladder muscle, special nerve cells register the stretching and signal to the brain that the bladder is full. When urinating, the bladder muscle contracts and the urine can flow out via the urethra.

What does "incontinence" mean?

People who suffer from incontinence normally no longer have control over emptying their bladder. The "urination" happens completely at random. The causes can vary. In general, women are more frequently affected by incontinence than men, as pregnancy and childbirth put particular strain on the urogenital system.

How much urine can the bladder store?

The capacity of the bladder is often greater in men than in women. However, the urge to urinate arises from a bladder filling of around 250 ml. The maximum capacity of an adult depends on body size and is between 900 and 1500 ml.

Women are more susceptible to bladder infections than men. Why is that?

A bladder infection - also known as cystitis - is an infection of the bladder that is normally caused by bacteria. In most cases, this type of inflammation is extremely painful and unpleasant for those affected. Women are more susceptible to bladder infections due to the length of the urethra. The female urethra is only about 4 cm long - in contrast to men, whose urethra is between 17 and 20 cm long. The shorter urethra makes it easier for germs and bacteria to enter the bladder and cause inflammation.

How often is it normal to "urinate"?

If you drink a reasonable amount of water a day - i.e. between 1.5 and 2 litres a day - it is assumed that you empty your bladder between four and seven times a day. In total, an adult excretes around 1 to 1.5 litres of urine per day.

Bladder weakness: can you train your own bladder?

As the bladder consists of a muscle, it can be trained like any other muscle in the body. It is therefore possible to train the bladder to absorb more fluid and therefore stretch more. On the other hand, the bladder can also shrink if it is not exercised. Bladder training can help with this.

Bladder weakness and incontinence are also not uncommon after childbirth. The cause is usually weakened pelvic floor muscles. These muscles can also be trained: In our therapy centre, we offer postnatal gymnastics to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.

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