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Is losing control of your bladder inevitable as you get older?

By November 19, 2008 - 3:21pm
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I have spent time in nursing homes and the elderly the person, the more likely it seemed that they were were wearing adult diapers. It's safe to say that the majority of residents in the nursing homes were in adult diapers day and night.

Is this just a part of growing older? Has it something to do with childbirth? Are women more likely to suffer urinary incontinence than men?

Is there anything we can do to help prevent this?

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Any muscle that gets neglected will eventually fail to do its work. We can blame age or we can get our bodies ready for aging. You can try Yoga exercises or Kegel exercises which are proven to improve and prevent urinary incontinence.

The principle behind Kegel exercises is to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor, (PC Muscle) thereby improving the urethra and/or rectal sphincter function. The success of Kegel exercises depends on proper technique and adherence to a regular resistance Kegel exercises program. Some people have difficulty identifying and isolating the muscles of the pelvic floor so make sure to ask a professional such as an athletic trainer or your own GYN doctor.

According to the Mayo Clinic website http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/kegel-exercises/WO00119 many conditions put stress on the pelvic floor muscles as we go through life (see list below), but it does not mean we are doommed. Kegel exercises are very important to maintain muscle tone in the pelvic area. Our bodies are capable of maintaining good muscle health at any age and I am not only speaking about arms, legs or stomach muscles, but other muscles that hold organs such as the bladder.

According to the World Health Organization, a pelvic floor muscle therapy program – a structured program of pelvic incontinence exercises (Kegel exercises) and bladder retraining – has a 65 to 70 percent cure or improvement rate for urinary incontinence. Pelvic floor muscles support the bladder and help control urination. Kegel exercises and other forms of pelvic muscle therapy, such as electrical stimulation and biofeedback, are designed to improve bladder control in both men and women by strengthening the muscles that control urination.

The reasons above should be enough to get women (and men) started on a wellness program that includes Kegel exercises These exercises can be done any time, any where even while sitting at a meeting at work, driving or having a dinner engagement. No one will notice!

Being overweight
A chronic cough
A genetic predisposition to weak connective tissue

November 19, 2008 - 9:39pm
EmpowHER Guest

I am 65 years old, and I will be having surgery in January to repair a Cystocele. I have been having problems for about 24 months with incontinence caused by the Cystocele, and my doctor is of the opinion that I am a good candidate for surgical repair. They will be doing a sling for the bladder and a mesh insert for the cystocele. From what I understand so far, the biggest problem with the surgery is that a catheter will likely be required for a day or two (my doctor says worst case scenario would be a week or two) after the surgery. I'm not looking forward to this! I'll let you guys know how it goes.

November 19, 2008 - 7:37pm

This is such a sensitive, yet very important, topic for all women, not just elderly, and it's a common condition.

Female urinary incontinence (UI) can occur during sex, coughing or laughing, during exercise or because of other issues. It happens to me during long runs, probably because of the pounding my body takes. Fortunately (if it can be looked at this way), there is another phenomenon among runners that causes sweat to smell like ammonia, so I can chalk off the odor to being dehydrated (one of the causes of this particular issue).

In reality, between childbirth and aging, I know my muscles around my bladder have weakened and also noticed that I have less of a problem when my weight is under a certain level. Unfortunately, my weight can swing 5 lbs either way fairly quickly, depending upon what I'm eating or doing during my training season - very frustrating! So, my personal solution is a panty liner, even with my running clothes.

I've talked to my doctor, who, at this point, isn't too very gung-ho on surgery and would rather I keep working on my weight loss and Kegel exercise.

For more information about female UI:

Urinary Incontinence in Women, The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)

Study: Female Incontinence is Common, WebMD.com

November 19, 2008 - 5:28pm
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Urinary Incontinence

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