Is Urinary Incontinence a Natural Part of Aging and Inevitable?

by Dianna Malkowski, Physician Assistant & Nutritionist

Incontinence is treatable and manageable.
Urinary incontinence, the accidental leakage of urine, is common as we age and the bladder and urethra muscles lose strength. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll experience incontinence. You can take steps to help prevent incontinence, and if you’re already experiencing it, it’s sometimes reversible with medical treatment or simple lifestyle changes if caught early. In any situation, incontinence is always manageable.

Prevent with overall good health
·         Maintain a normal weight. Women who carry extra weight puts them at higher risk for urinary incontinence because it can strain the pelvic floor, especially if they’re 50 or more pounds overweight. Aim for a body mass index of below 25.
·         Avoid smoking. In addition to the myriad of health risks associated with cigarette smoking, chronic smoking can lead to bladder contractions and chronic coughing, which in turn can weaken the pelvic floor muscles.
·         Treat high blood pressure. Blood vessel disease increases risk of an overactive bladder. Ask your doctor if certain medications will contribute to incontinence. Heart or blood pressure medications, sedatives or muscle relaxants, and others can aggravate your bladder.
·         Prevent constipation. Compacted stool can cause nerves shared by the bladder to be overactive and increase urinary frequency or can interfere with emptying of the bladder.
·         Have regular health exams. Kidney disease and diabetes can increase your risk for incontinence.

Tips to minimize incontinence
·         Keep fluid intake to about 50 or 60 ounces per day, unless you are very active, during exercise or in hot weather. Ask your doctor how much fluid is right for you before making changes.
·         Limit or avoid caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine increases urination and is a muscle stimulant, while alcohol is a bladder stimulant and a diuretic.
·         Treat urinary tract infections, which can cause strong urges to urinate.
·         If you’re a male experiencing incontinence, ask your doctor if you have prostate gland problems. Incontinence can also be a side effect of treatments for prostate cancer.
·         In severe cases of female incontinence, your doctor may discuss medical procedures that may help, such as surgery to support the bladder neck or urethra.
·         Learn about the products and services available today that make managing incontinence easier and more discreet. From home delivery service, to products that look and feel like regular underwear, incontinence experts can recommend ways to minimize its effect on your life.

Dianna Malkowski is a Board Certified Physician Assistant and Mayo Clinic trained nutritionist specializing in diabetes, cancer, wound healing, therapeutic diets and nutrition support. She serves on the board of professional advisors for The CareGiver Partnership and enjoys working with patients and caregivers alike. Ask Dianna a question, or for one-on-one help with incontinence, call our Product Specialists at 1-800-985-1353 M-F 9-4 CST.

Other Helpful Resources
Prostate Surgery and Incontinence. The Facts. -

Sources: Mayo Clinic: Urinary Incontinence; WebMD: FAQs About Female Urinary Incontinence


newport cigarettes said...

The number 2 prevention is indeed a fact. Smoking has been incorporated to many diseases not only with urinary incontinence. This is true because Cigars contain hundreds and thousand of harmful elements, thus causing a lot of health problems to the one who's using it.

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