Preventing Incontinence



Incontinence is such a major issue…. with aging adults that it's obviously important to focus on not only those who have the condition, but those who are middle aged and hoping to prevent it.

As we age, our body changes…. senior citizens can prepare for or prevent urologic problems as they get older, simply by responding to the normal sensation that you have to go to the bathroom, not postponing things.

Ignoring the signal…. or putting off the need to go to the bathroom could leave us with a dysfunctional signal rather than a normal signal that it's time to go…. suddenly we're racing to the bathroom and that becomes the dysfunction.

You may be able to decrease your risk…. of urinary incontinence by maintaining a healthy weight, practicing Kegel exercises, avoiding or cutting back on bladder irritants such as coffee and alcohol (diuretics). Always be sure to drink enough liquid. People may think that if they feel as though they need to urinate often they should cut back on liquids. It is just the opposite. You need to keep enough fluid in your system to keep it running smoothly, at least 3-4 pints per day. Do not try to force yourself to go to the bathroom (due to convenience) but do go when you need to. Be sure to get enough fiber in your diet to keep your bowels in good working order.

Be aware of your bladder health…. and respond to it appropriately. If there are problems that you develop with urgency and frequency, before you have problems with accidents, a lot of times it's appropriate to go ahead and see your doctor for early intervention. A lot of times it may not require medication, it may not require surgery, it may just require behavior modification, learning to go to the bathroom regularly, and staying away from things like caffeine. Good bladder habits will prevent a lot of problems.

Symptoms we should look for as we age…. signs of urgency, frequency and nocturia, meaning you have to go to the bathroom at least two or three times at night are good indicators you may develop incontinence. So when you start to notice that you're going to the bathroom more than eight times a day, you have a strong sense to go to the bathroom, you might not even make it, getting up two, three, four times at night….it may be time to go see a doctor.

It has been suggested that for some people…. products such as coffee, tea, chocolate or carbonated beverages can cause bladder irritation. Caffeine is both a diuretic and a bladder irritant and therefore may result in increased urine production as well as enhanced bladder sensitivity. Other foods that might irritate the bladder include citrus fruits, spicy foods, and some cheeses.

The following factors may also increase your risk…. of developing some type of Incontinence:

Sex - Women are twice as likely as men are to have incontinence.

Age - As you get older, the muscles in your bladder and urethra lose some of their strength. Changes with age reduce how much your bladder can hold.

Obesity - Being overweight puts constant and higher pressure on your bladder and surrounding muscles, weakening them and allowing urine to leak out when you cough or sneeze.

Smoking - A chronic cough can cause episodes of incontinence or aggravate incontinence with other causes. Constant coughing puts stress on your urinary sphincter.