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June 19th, 2019

Don’t Let Age-Related Bladder Problems Get You Down

By Dr. Joshua Beck

With age, it is common for bladder tissue to become less stretchy and to weaken. This decreases the amount of holding capacity of urine in the bladder, which increases trips to the restroom. It may also cause urine leakage challenges, such as urinary incontinence.

Urinary incontinence can occur in men and women, but it occurs more often in older women. It is not uncommon for urinary control problems to take over the planning and managing of daily activities, such as travel, exercise and events, to ensure a restroom is always nearby.

One in every five individuals over the age of 40 suffers from an overactive bladder. It can be an embarrassing situation, with frequent urges to go to the restroom. Some people simply don’t make it to a toilet in time.

There are many ways to manage or control leaking of urine. Effective methods include bladder training exercises, medication and surgery. In most cases, non-surgical treatment can cure or reduce urinary incontinence, which can greatly improve quality of life. If you have experienced the leaking of urine in the past six months, you should talk to a doctor, nurse or health care professional about your treatment options.

You can also have a healthier bladder by doing something as simple as staying hydrated. It may seem counter-intuitive, but consuming water is at the top of the list for keeping your bladder healthy, according to the National Institute on Aging (2017). Be sure to consult with your health care provider about how much water you should be drinking so it doesn’t interfere with other health conditions.

Other than drinking enough water, here are some other things you can do for a healthy bladder:
• Limit alcohol and caffeine
• Quit smoking, or don’t start smoking
• Avoid constipation
• Maintain a healthy weight
• Exercise regularly
• Fully empty bladder and be in a relaxed position during urination
• Use the restroom as necessary without excessively holding urine in bladder

If you have issues with incontinence, talk with your doctor and ask about options and treatments for improving bladder health.

Joshua Beck, M.D. practices family medicine at WellMed at Northwest 410 in San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Beck earned his bachelor’s degree from Baylor University in Waco, Texas and his medical degree from the Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara in Jalisco, Mexico. Dr. Beck completed his residency at the Quad Cities Family Medicine Residency Program in Davenport, Iowa.