Healthy bladder / HARTMANN Information Centre


Healthy bladder

We all take for granted our bladder and bowel function until something goes wrong. This is human nature. It can be devastating if we are affected by issues relating to continence, bladder and bowel function.

Here is some information to aid knowledge about how a healthy bladder should function.

Healthy Bladder

The bladder is a muscular sac that has the main function of holding urine. When it contains urine, it looks much the same as a water filled balloon.

Urine is made in the kidneys and travels to the bladder until it is time to leave the bladder and the body.

Everyone has a different bladder capacity so the amount of urine individuals hold varies. A healthy bladder should hold between 400-600mls.

In 24 hours, you should empty your bladder between 4-8 times and this includes passing urine at night. As you get older, you may find that you pass more urine at night but the number of times that you empty your bladder over a 24-hour period should not change. A bladder should not pass urine in between toilet visits.

Healthy urine should be very pale yellow, almost straw coloured. If your urine is darker, it means the urine is highly concentrated and you may need to drink more fluid.

To maintain bladder health an adequate fluid intake is needed, on average this should be around 1.5 litres per 24 hours. Caffeine, alcohol and carbonated drinks should be avoided as these can irritate the bladder and encourage the kidneys to produce more urine, making existing bladder problems worse.

Do you drink enough?

Use the chart below as a guide to help you decide if you need to drink more fluids. If you are active or work in a very warm environment you may need more fluids.

Fluid intake chart
  1. Abrams and Klevmark (1996)

If you are concerned about your bladder health contact your GP or local Continence Service for further individual advice.

  1. Abrams P and Klevmark B. (1996) ‘Frequency volume charts: an indispensable part of lower urinary tract assessment.’ Scan J Urol Nephrol Supp. 1996; 179:47-53