By| Published: August 5th, 2016
We begin to lose important filtering units within the kidneys (nephrons) at about age 40. By the time we are 80, the kidneys are 20-30% smaller than at age 20. Despite these changes, they kidneys have a built-in reserve capacity, and they continue to work normally as we get older.
Urinary changes might pose a problem in chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Factors that contribute to incontinence include infections, excess weight, frequent constipation, chronic cough and medications used for depression, high blood pressure and heart disease.
- Kidney function gradually declines with age
- Increased likelihood of dehydration or fluid retention
- The walls of the bladder become less elastic, which means they hold less urine
- Multiple visits to the bathroom due to physiological changes
- The bladder muscles may weaken, and the bladder may not empty completely, which increases the risk of urinary tract infections
- Urinary incontinence is more common with age
- The pelvic muscles weaken, reducing bladder support
What we can do
Drink plenty of fluids
Stay hydrated, but ensure that you stop drinking liquids after 7 pm if you have a problem with frequent urination. Excess fluids can result in having to go to the bathroom often.
Limit or avoid alcohol and caffeine
Both alcohol and caffeine cause more frequent urination. Drink less of each or try and stop drinking them altogether.
Follow a fixed bathroom schedul
Try to urinate all that you can to empty your bladder completely. This will also be effective in preventing problems than avoiding the need to go.
Do pelvic floor exercises
Kegels can often helps with mild to moderate incontinence. Imagine that you are trying to stop the flow of urine. Squeeze the muscles that you would use and count till 10. Repeat this exercise 4 times day. You will begin to notice results in may be 2-3 months.
Inactivity causes urine retention. Try and get as much physical activity that you can.
The tips above can help preserve bladder and kidney function and prevent or manage incontinence.