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The Urinary System, and how to keep it youthful

The urinary tract is the body's drainage system for eliminating wastes and excess fluid through urine.
The urinary system's functions include waste elimination, blood volume and blood pressure regulation, electrolyte and metabolite management, and blood pH regulation.

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Two kidneys, two ureters, a bladder, and a urethra make up the urinary system, and these organs must properly function together for normal urination to occur.
 
Kidneys are roughly the size of a fist and are shaped like a bean. One on either side of the spine, they are placed immediately below the rib cage. The kidneys filter roughly 120 to 150 quarts of blood every day to eliminate toxins and maintain fluid balance, generating 1 to 2 quarts of urine every day. Each kidney receives blood via a network of small arteries and toxins are separated from nutrients in your blood by these organs.
 
Ureters are muscle tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder and transport urine to it.
 
The bladder is a hollow, muscular, balloon-shaped organ that expands as urine fills it. The bladder is located between the hip bones in the pelvis. A typical bladder functions as a reservoir with a capacity of 1.5 to 2 cups of urine. Urination is the process of emptying the bladder.
 
Urethra is a tube positioned at the bottom of the bladder that permits urine to escape the body. The urethra is closed off by two sets of muscles which operate as a sphincter to hold urine in the bladder. Until your brain transmits instructions to urinate, the internal sphincter muscles of the bladder neck and urethra remain closed. When you need to urinate, your brain tells your sphincters to relax. The muscular bladder wall tightens as a result, forcing urine through the urethra and out of your bladder.
 
The frequency with which one must urinate is determined by how rapidly the kidneys make urine and how much urine the bladder can comfortably store. While the bladder fills with urine, the muscles of the bladder wall relax, while the sphincter muscles tighten to keep the urine in the bladder. Signals transmitted to your brain when your bladder fills up advise you to locate a toilet as quickly as possible.

The ageing urinary tract and kidneys

When the number of cells in the kidneys decreases, as a result of ageing, the kidneys shrink. Lesser blood can pass into the kidneys, and the filtering of blood starts to become less effective around the age of 30. As the kidneys age, they can start excreting too much water and not enough salt, thereby increasing the risk of dehydration.
 
Certain changes in the urinary tract can make it more difficult to control urination:

  • The bladder's overall capacity for holding urine decreases with ageing. As a result, older people may need more frequent urination.

  • Regardless of whether people need to urinate, the bladder muscles may contract unpredictably (become overactive), and the bladder muscles may weaken with ageing. The muscle that regulates the flow of urine out of the body (urinary sphincter) becomes less able to close tightly and avoid leakage as a result of this, and more urine is left in the bladder following urination. As a result, older people have a harder time delaying urination. Urinary incontinence (uncontrollable loss of urine) also becomes more common as people age due to these changes.

  • The urethra (the tube from which urine exits the body) in women shortens and the lining becomes thinner. The decrease in estrogen levels that occurs with menopause can play a role in this and other urinary tract changes.

  • The prostate gland enlarges in many men with ageing, to the point that it obstructs urine flow and prevents the bladder from emptying completely. As a result, older men urinate less forcefully, take longer to begin a stream of urine, dribble urine at the end of the stream, and urinate more often. Despite possessing a full bladder, older men are more likely to be unable to urinate (called urinary retention). This condition requires medical attention. A molecule called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) has been shown to promote prostate enlargement. The good news is that certain natural remedies can suppress DHT levels, and thereby aid in minimizing prostate enlargement.

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Maintaining a healthy and functional urinary tract and bladder

• Use the restroom on a regular basis to maintain bladder and urinary tract health. Consider going to the bathroom on a daily basis, such as every hour. Gradually increase the amount of time between toilet trips.
• Keep a healthy weight. Reduce the weight if you're overweight.
• Avoid smoking or using any tobacco products.
• Carry out Kegel activities. Squeeze the muscles that you can use to avoid moving gas to exercise your pelvic floor muscles (Kegel exercises). Experiment with it for three seconds at a time, then relax for three seconds. At least three times a day, work up to doing the exercise 10 to 15 times in a row.
• Stay away from bladder irritants. Incontinence can be exacerbated by caffeine, acidic foods, tobacco, and carbonated drinks.
• Prevent constipation. Constipation can cause incontinence, so eat more fiber and take other measures to prevent it.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
UTIs are one of the most frequent bacterial illnesses in the world. Over 150 million people are thought to get UTIs each year. The most frequent form of bacterium that causes UTIs is E. coli, however other types of pathogenic bacteria can also be involved. A UTI may affect anybody, but women are 30 times more likely than men to have one. A urinary tract infection (UTI) can affect any portion of the urinary system, including the urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidneys, although it most commonly begins in the lower urinary tract, bladder, and urethra. UTIs are known to cause the following symptoms:
 

  • burning feeling when urinating

  • frequent and strong need to urinate

  • murky, black, or bloody urine

  • fever or exhaustion

 
UTIs in the elderly can cause serious problems if not treated, including sepsis and permanent kidney damage which can be life-threatening.  Antibiotics can be used to treat UTIs, however infection recurrence is highly common. Antibiotic over-use can have long-term consequences, such as harming the normal, healthy bacteria in your urinary system and perhaps contributing to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. UTIs can be treated using natural remedies:

D-mannose is a naturally occurring sugar that may help cure urinary tract infections by preventing pathogenic bacteria from adhering to urinary tract cells. It appears to cure and prevent UTIs, according to preliminary research.

White Powder
Berries

Uva ursi is a herbal UTI cure derived from the leaves of the plant Arctostaphylos uva ursi, and has been shown to have substantial antibacterial activity

Garlic has a long history of culinary and medical use. Garlic's antibacterial benefits have been shown in laboratory studies.

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Green Tea Leaves

Green tea. Certain compounds in green tea have been shown to exhibit significant antibacterial action against E. coli.

Overactive bladder (OAB)

Overactive bladder (OAB) syndrome is a group of symptoms affecting the lower urinary tract, including urine urgency and urge incontinence, which is generally accompanied by frequency and nocturia. OAB is a severe chronic disorder that affects persons of all ages, however it is more common among the elderly. Prescription drugs to modulate bladder muscles are most typically used to treat OAB, a disorder that produces a sudden need to urinate. Herbal medicines, on the other hand, are becoming increasingly popular as natural therapy choices.

  • Gosha-jinki-gan: One of the most researched ten-herb mix. People who took it daily for eight weeks significantly decreased their need to urinate. Multiple studies have shown that it reduces the need to urinate and helps with incontinence. It may act by blocking nerve impulses to the bladder.

  • Hachi-mi-jio-gan: Eight natural components make up this Chinese medicine that can alleviate bladder muscular spasms.

  • Barosma betulina (buchu): This blooming shrub, which may be found in the highlands of South Africa, has been utilized as medicine since the 1650s. Coughs, kidney infections, stomachaches, and OAB have all been treated with it.

  • Cleavers: This plant is used to treat urinary tract infections and it is also thought to help with bladder pain and OAB.

  • Horsetail is a fern that grows in swamps, marshes, and rivers and is named for its long, tail-like appearance. It's strong in antioxidants, which are considered to defend against aging's natural stressors. Horsetail may aid in the relief of OAB symptoms.

  • Corn silk: These thin strands are full of vitamins and antioxidants. For millennia, they've been used to treat urinary tract infections. They have recently become a therapy for OAB.

  • Ganoderma lucidum has been used in Chinese medicine for almost 2,000 years, and can significantly reduce the need to urinate. Doctors believe it reduces the amounts of hormones promoting prostate development, which can lead to OAB in males.

  • Resiniferatoxin is a medicine made from a Moroccan cactus-like plant that produces a hot pepper-like burn. It works, according to experts, by inhibiting neurons in the bladder that inform your brain you need to urinate. It may also help your bladder hold more urine, resulting in fewer toilet visits.

  • Capsaicin is the ingredient that gives chilli peppers their spiciness, and is believed to work in the same way as resiniferatoxin. It helps you go to the bathroom less often and minimizes leaks.

  • Saw palmetto: The extract, derived from the berries of the dwarf palm tree, is used to treat issues caused by an enlarged prostate. According to research, saw palmetto chemicals may help relieve OAB by interacting with neurons in the urinary system.

Kidney stones

Kidney stones represent a common medical condition and it can be very painful to pass these stones, and persons who have had them before are more likely to acquire them again. Kidney stones, also known as renal stones or nephrolithiasis, are made up of hard, solid waste products that accumulate in the kidneys and crystallize. There are four forms of kidney stones, but calcium oxalate stones account for around 80% of all stones. Struvite, uric acid, and cysteine are less prevalent types. While tiny stones are rarely a concern, bigger stones might obstruct part of your urinary system as they exit your body.
There are a few things one can do to reduce chances of getting kidney stones:
 
  • Avoid oxalate. For certain people, foods rich in oxalate might be promoting the formation of kidney stones. Many plant foods, including leafy greens, fruits, vegetables, and chocolate, contain oxalate (oxalic acid).
  • Avoid high doses of vitamin C. High amounts of vitamin C supplements have been linked to an increased incidence of calcium oxalate kidney stones in males.
  • Reduce salt consumption. If you're prone to kidney stones, lowering your salt intake may assist. Sodium may cause you to eliminate more calcium in your urine.\
  • High-protein diet may raise your chances of acquiring kidney stones.
Hydration. Preventing kidney stones requires staying hydrated, especially drinking enough of water.
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Citrus Fruits
Citric acid. This chemical is present in plants, such as citrus fruits, and may aid in the prevention of kidney stones.
Calcium. In some cases, getting adequate calcium might help prevent kidney stones from forming. Calcium may bind to oxalate, preventing its absorption.
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Magnesium. According to some research, increasing magnesium intake can help minimize oxalate absorption and the incidence of kidney stones.
Basil extract. Basil's acetic acid can help dissolve kidney stones and alleviate discomfort. One teaspoon of basil extract or pure juice per day may aid in the prevention and treatment of kidney stones.
Basil Leaves
Image by Iris Colors
Cardamom is used to alleviate kidney stones, as well as uncomfortable urination, nausea, and vomiting. It is a pain reliever that also helps to decrease inflammation. It also acts as a diuretic, allowing urine to flow more freely.
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Pomegranate juice lowers urine acidity, lowering the chance of kidney stones in the future. It can help remove stones and other pollutants from the urinary system, as well as enhance general kidney function.
Cucumbers
Cucumber is said to be effective as a preventative and therapeutic regimen for kidney stones in ancient Ayurvedic texts. It's a natural treatment with noticeable cooling properties. It also has a high-water content, which helps to detoxify the body, neutralize toxins, and cleanse the bladder. It's high in magnesium, which is required for kidney stone therapy.
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