At our age the phrase, “get up and go” takes on an entirely new meaning. Several nightly visits to the bathroom become the norm and we can sometimes experience what I like to term, “laughter leakage.” Yep… like other not-so-subtle hints that the ol’ gal ain’t what she used to be, our bladders can start showing signs of wear and tear.
An article in The National Institute of Senior Health explains it this way:
As you get older, the bladder changes. The elastic bladder tissue may toughen and become less stretchy. A less stretchy bladder cannot hold as much urine as before and might make you go to the bathroom more often. The bladder wall and pelvic floor muscles may weaken. Weak bladder wall muscles may make it hard to empty the bladder fully. Weak pelvic floor muscles may make it hard to hold urine in the bladder, which may cause urine to leak.
Some of the ways they suggest we counteract the effects of age on this vital organ are to:
- Drink plenty of fluids—most especially, water. Although this may seem counterintuitive, our bladder needs to be emptied every 3 to 4 hours to keep operating properly. Water is best; so do try to drink the recommended 6 to 8 glasses per day.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine. Both can compromise bladder function and make problems worse.
- Try to fully empty your bladder when you use the bathroom. Bladder infections can occur if urine remains in the bladder too long.
- Watch the medicines you take. Many of these can change the amount of urine you make and cause additional problems.
For more information on bladder health and suggestions on taming your own nocturnal get up and go, check out the National Insititute on Aging website. After all, it’s a lot easier to feel feisty when you’re well rested, healthy and dry!