Recent federal data points to a troubling reality for Oregon – it now ranks as one of the states with the highest drug addiction rate.
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that about 9% of teens and adults used substances in 2020. Meanwhile, 12% of individuals in Oregon admitted to battling an alcohol-related issue that same year. This figure demonstrates a concerning increase from the preceding year, where the rate was only nearly 7%.
These statistics show that alcohol continues to be one of the most prevalently abused substances in the state, leading to various adverse health effects and social implications. While the impact of alcohol on the liver, heart, and mental health often takes center stage, there’s another significant yet less-discussed area of concern: the long-term effects of alcohol on the bladder.
As a potent diuretic, alcohol can affect the urinary system. Regular, excessive consumption has the potential to provoke frequent and urgent urination, bladder irritation, and in severe cases, can result in bladder infections and urinary incontinence.
That said, we aim to dissect in this blog how alcohol affects the urinary system, the specific long-term effects it can have on bladder health, and how Oregon Trail Recovery is positioned to assist those with alcohol addiction.
What is the Function of the Bladder?
The bladder is a vital part of the urinary system, functioning as a temporary storage for urine. It is a muscular, balloon-shaped organ located in the pelvic area.
When the kidneys filter waste from the bloodstream, they create urine, which travels down the ureters into the bladder. It stays here until the person excretes it during urination.
The bladder is equipped with specialized muscles, known as the detrusor muscles, which contract to expel urine and relax to allow the bladder to fill.
Through the coordinated actions of these muscles and nerves in the bladder wall, the person can control his urination.
However, it’s essential to understand that factors like the long-term effects of alcohol on the bladder can interfere with these normal functions. Chronic alcohol consumption can lead to several bladder issues, disrupting this essential bodily process and potentially causing health problems.
Can Alcohol Cause Bladder Problems?
Yes, alcohol influences how the body manages its fluid balance and can disrupt the normal functioning of the bladder. Excessive consumption of beers and liquors can lead to increased frequency of urination and potential dehydration, as well as longer-term bladder-related problems. Over time, these issues may evolve into chronic conditions, severely affecting an individual’s quality of life and overall health.
What are the Long-Term Effects of Alcohol on the Bladder?
Impact of Alcohol on Bladder Health and Function
Over time, consistent alcohol consumption can disrupt the bladder’s normal function. Alcohol functions as a diuretic, increasing the production of urine and placing undue stress on the bladder. This pressure results in the bladder working harder to store and release urine, which can cause irritation and other complications.
Research published in the Journal of Urology established a clear association between persistent alcohol consumption and symptoms of the lower urinary tract, including heightened frequency and urgency of urination.
Increased Risk of Developing Urinary Tract Infections
Alcoholic beverages can also affect the balance of beneficial bacteria in the bladder and urinary tract, putting individuals at risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs). A Journal of Clinical Microbiology study found that frequent alcohol consumption can alter the urinary microbiome, creating an environment more susceptible to infection.
Higher Susceptibility to Cancer
When you consume alcohol, your body turns it into acetaldehyde, a powerful carcinogenic substance that has the potential to inflict DNA damage in cells and induce the development of cancer. Over time, the chronic inflammation caused by regular alcohol consumption can contribute to tumor formation in the body.
Research indicates that alcohol consumption is a contributing factor to certain types of cancer. Yet, the relationship between alcohol and the recurrence of cancer, particularly among individuals who have completed cancer treatment, remains unclear. Nevertheless, abstaining from alcohol following a cancer diagnosis is advisable, given its potential to heighten cancer risk.
Development of Bladder Dysfunction and Incontinence
Consistent, heavy alcohol use can lead to bladder dysfunction and incontinence over time. It can compromise the bladder’s ability to perceive when it’s full, causing delayed urination and potential bladder overstretching.
This can eventually lead to urinary incontinence, characterized by involuntary urine leakage. Researchers saw a strong link between alcohol consumption and urinary incontinence, particularly among older individuals.
Seeking Treatment for Alcohol Addiction
Recognizing the long-term effects of alcohol on the bladder highlights the urgency of seeking professional help. Alcohol addiction is a complex issue that often requires a comprehensive approach for effective treatment, and that’s where professional assistance becomes indispensable.
Several treatment options available for alcohol addiction include detoxification programs, counseling, and therapy, medication-assisted treatments, and holistic wellness approaches.
One particularly effective strategy is Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP), a form of treatment where patients attend comprehensive sessions several days a week while still maintaining their daily activities.
At Oregon Trail Recovery, our IOP rehab incorporates evidence-based therapeutic interventions, individual and group therapy, peer support sessions, and family involvement. We also provide education on the effects of alcohol, like the potential damage to the bladder, to ensure our clients feel empowered in their journey to recovery.
In addressing alcohol addiction, it is vital to understand its far-reaching effects on health. By seeking treatment, individuals can prevent further bladder damage, manage existing symptoms, and potentially reverse some effects.
Remember, overcoming addiction is not a journey that needs to be taken alone. There is professional help available, and recovery is always possible. If you’re looking for an addiction treatment center, Oregon Trail Recovery is committed to supporting your journey to sobriety, health, and renewed life. Contact us today for inquiries.