Health Tip: How Does Aging Affect Our Bladders?
While we all use our bladders daily, not everyone realizes the importance of keeping them healthy. As we age, the renal system changes. The bladder toughens and becomes less stretchy, which may result in the inability to hold as much urine as before. The bladder wall and pelvic floor muscles may also weaken, making it harder to empty the bladder fully and causing incontinence.
These changes are common but can unfortunately disrupt our daily lives. Several bladder problems that may affect older adults include urinary tract infections (UTI), kidney infections and bladder cancer.
There are many factors that you can control to keep your bladder healthy. Avoid smoking, exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet and limit alcohol and caffeine intake.
Although each person’s bladder is a little different, there are some common signs and symptoms that may indicate a bladder problem. Some of these signs include:
- Waking up many times at night to urinate
- Pain or burning before, during or after urinating
- Cloudy, bloody or foul-smelling urine
- Passing only small amounts of urine after strong urges to urinate
If you have any of the signs of a bladder problem or UTI, talk to your healthcare provider. A physical exam, urine sample and additional tests may need to be performed to identify the bladder health issue.
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