Why Do We Lose Bladder Control As We Age?

As we grow older, our bodies adapt and change. It’s a natural part of aging, with changes in both men and women that are reflective of our lifestyles. For older adults, the loss of bladder control, often referred to as incontinence, is common. In fact, more than 25 million Americans experience urinary incontinence. But this doesn’t mean you simply have to accept it as a consequence of aging

Incontinence occurs when an individual experiences leakage after urination, or the sensation that there’s still urine in the bladder. For many, incontinence and loss of bladder control is an embarrassing topic, but it’s important to talk about it with a urologist so that you can regain control over your bladder. 

Incontinence can be categorized into five types: stress incontinence, urge incontinence, overflow incontinence, functional incontinence and mixed incontinence. 

  • Stress Incontinence – Leakage caused by coughing, sneezing, exercise or other strenuous activity.
  • Urge Incontinence – Leakage occurs when you feel the urge to use the restroom, but worry you won’t make it. 
  • Overflow Incontinence – The bladder is not completely emptied after urination, resulting in leakage. Sometimes referred to as urinary retention.
  • Functional Incontinence – The sensation that a physical or mental impairment will prevent you from making it to the toilet in time. 
  • Mixed Incontinence – When an individual experiences the effects of multiple forms of incontinence. 

Both urinary incontinence and urinary retention are common problems for older individuals. As the body ages, it begins to slow down and the things we could shrug off when younger are suddenly harder to recover from.

Many women experience incontinence and weakened pelvic floor muscles after childbirth, but bladder control can also be impacted by common medical issues such as: urinary tract infections (UTIs), vaginal infection/ irritation, prescribed medication and constipation. Diseases such as arthritis or Parkinson’s disease can damage nerves that control the bladder and prevent individuals from making it to a toilet in time. 

For men, an enlarged prostate gland or prostatitis, a painful inflammation of the prostate gland, is often the cause of incontinence. 

Treatment of incontinence includes pelvic floor exercises, timed voiding and urgency suppression, as well as prescribed medicines. Sometimes, medical devices or surgery are recommended to stop the effects of incontinence. 

To get the best attention and treatment for your incontinence symptoms, look no further than Arkansas Urology, Arkansas’s leading urological experts. Our advanced treatment options and state-of-the-art facilities are designed with YOU in mind. It’s time to stop incontinence in its tracks. 

Arkansas Urology strives to provide each and every patient with life-changing care. For more information on access, visit our FAQ section. Be sure to refer to Arkansas Urology’s glossary to research terms and conditions with which you might be unfamiliar.  

Ready to schedule an appointment? Contact us today or book your appointment online. We look forward to seeing you soon. 

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