The bladder may become less elastic with age, resulting in the need to urinate more often. The muscles of the bladder and pelvic floor may become weak making it difficult to empty the bladder completely or cause a loss of bladder control (urinary incontinence). In men, an enlarged or inflamed prostate may also cause difficulty in emptying the bladder and incontinence.
Being overweight, nerve damage from diabetes and hypertension, some medications, caffeine and alcohol consumption can contribute to incontinence.
Things you can do to promote bladder and urinary tract health
- Regular bathroom visits – try urinating hourly.
- Maintain a healthy weight – lose excess pounds if needed.
- Don’t smoke. If you smoke or use other tobacco products, ask your doctor to help you quit.
- Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles – squeeze the muscles you would you use to stop passing gas. Try it for three seconds at a time, and then relax for a count of three. Work up to doing the exercise 10 to 15 times in a row, at least three times a day.
- Avoid bladder irritants. Caffeine, acidic foods, alcohol and carbonated beverages can make incontinence worse.
- Avoid constipation. Eat more fiber and increase water intake to avoid constipation.