Incontinence May Not Be About Aging

Incontinence May Not Be About Aging

Urinary incontinence — the loss of bladder control — is a common and often embarrassing problem. The severity ranges from occasionally leaking urine when you cough or sneeze to having an urge to urinate that's so sudden and strong you don't get to a toilet in time.

Though it occurs more often as people get older, urinary incontinence isn't an inevitable consequence of aging. If urinary incontinence affects your daily activities, know that it can be reversed. For most people, simple lifestyle changes can ease discomfort or stop urinary incontinence.

Types of urinary incontinence include:

·          Stress incontinence. Urine leaks when you exert pressure on your bladder via anxiety, coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercising or lifting something heavy.  

·         Urge incontinence. You have a sudden, intense urge to urinate followed by an involuntary loss of urine. You may need to urinate often, including throughout the night. Urge incontinence may be caused by a minor condition, such as infection, or a more-severe condition such as a neurologic disorder or diabetes.

·        Overflow incontinence. You experience frequent or constant dribbling of urine due to a bladder that doesn't empty completely.

·        Functional incontinence. A physical or mental impairment keeps you from making it to the toilet in time. For example, if you have severe arthritis, you may not be able to unbutton your pants quickly enough.

·        Mixed incontinence. You experience more than one type of urinary incontinence.

Urinary incontinence may:

·        Indicate a more-serious underlying condition requiring health professional intervention.

·        Cause you to restrict your activities and limit your social interactions

·        Increase the risk of falls in older adults as they rush to the toilet

Certain drinks, foods and medications may act as diuretics — stimulating your bladder and increasing your volume of urine. They include:

·        Alcohol

·        Caffeine

·        Carbonated drinks and sparkling water

·        Artificial sweeteners

·        Chocolate

·        Chili peppers

·        Foods that are high in spice, sugar or acid, especially citrus fruits

·        Heart and blood pressure medications, sedatives, and muscle relaxants

·        Large doses of vitamin C

Urinary incontinence may also be caused by an easily addressable condition, such as:

·        Urinary tract infection. Infections can irritate your bladder, causing you to have strong urges to urinate, and sometimes incontinence.

·        Constipation. The rectum is located near the bladder and shares many of the same nerves. Hard, compacted stool in your rectum causes these nerves to be overactive and increase urinary frequency.

Persistent urinary incontinence

Urinary incontinence can also be a persistent condition caused by underlying physical problems or changes, including:

·        Pregnancy. Hormonal changes and the increased weight of the fetus can lead to stress incontinence. 

·        Childbirth. Vaginal delivery can weaken muscles needed for bladder control and also damage bladder nerves and supportive tissue, leading to a dropped (prolapsed) pelvic floor. With prolapse, the bladder, uterus, rectum or small intestine can get pushed down from the usual position and protrude into the vagina. Such protrusions can be associated with incontinence. We have a program to ease natural delivery.

·        Changes with age. Aging of the bladder muscle (think Kegels) can decrease the bladder's capacity to store urine. Also, involuntary bladder contractions become more frequent as you get older.

·        Menopause. After menopause women produce less estrogen, a hormone that helps keep the lining of the bladder and urethra healthy. Deterioration of these tissues can aggravate incontinence.

·        Hysterectomy. In women, the bladder and uterus are supported by many of the same muscles and ligaments. Any surgery that involves a woman's reproductive system, including removal of the uterus, may damage the supporting pelvic floor muscles, which can lead to incontinence.

·        Enlarged prostate. Especially in older men, incontinence often stems from enlargement of the prostate gland, a condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia.

·        Prostate cancer. In men, stress incontinence or urge incontinence can be associated with untreated prostate cancer. But more often, incontinence is a side effect of treatments for prostate cancer.

·        Obstruction. A tumor anywhere along your urinary tract can block the normal flow of urine, leading to overflow incontinence. Urinary stones — hard, stone-like masses that form in the bladder — sometimes cause urine leakage.

·        Neurological disorders. Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, a stroke, a brain tumor or a spinal injury can interfere with nerve signals involved in bladder control, causing urinary incontinence.

Risk factors

Factors that increase your risk of developing urinary incontinence include:

·        Gender. Women are more likely to have stress incontinence. Pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and normal female anatomy account for this difference. However, men with prostate gland problems are at increased risk of urge and overflow incontinence.

·        Age. As you get older, the muscles in your bladder and urethra lose some of their strength. Changes with age reduce how much your bladder can hold and increase the chances of involuntary urine release.

·        Being overweight. Extra weight increases pressure on your bladder and surrounding muscles, which weakens them and allows urine to leak out when you cough or sneeze.

·        Smoking. Tobacco use may increase your risk of urinary incontinence.

·        Family history. If a close family member has urinary incontinence, especially urge incontinence, your risk of developing the condition is higher

          Riding a bicycle with a narrow seat can cut off circulation in the groin and according to a Walnut Creek California urologist can often invite impotence and other urinary issues.

          Being in the house too often (includes in front of a computer) with a too convenient toilet nearby.   When it is too convenient to pee we hit the toilet much too soon and weaken our natural ability to restrict urine flow. This increases the need for kegels.

         Breathing pattern disorder adds to stress and everything else negative imaginable. Breath is life. Or it isn't. 

·        Other diseases. Neurological disease or diabetes may increase your risk of incontinence.


Complications of chronic urinary incontinence include:

·        Skin problems. Rashes, skin infections and sores can develop from constantly wet skin.

·        Urinary tract infections. Incontinence increases your risk of repeated urinary tract infections.

·        Impacts on your personal life. Urinary incontinence can affect your social, work and personal relationships.


Urinary incontinence isn't always preventable. However, to help decrease your risk:

·        Maintain a healthy weight

·        Practice pelvic floor exercises

·        Avoid bladder irritants, such as caffeine, alcohol and acidic foods

·        Eat more fiber, which can prevent constipation, a cause of urinary incontinence

·        Don't smoke, or seek help to quit smoking

         Get a recumbent bike or saddle seat and high rise handlebars for your outside and inside bike and be supported on your sit bones instead of your groin muscles.

Why don’t younger people who also break all the rules not have it?  Aside from the above,  a strong reason for older people is they are often less active. When you are out and about you naturally and often without realizing it tighten your urinary control muscles to offset the need to eliminate. Sort of a natural unconscious Kegel.  So part or all of the solution may be to take increasing longer walks or bike rides outside or on the treadmill via oxygen enhanced   stationary exercise.  

I sometimes take a bowel cleanser like OxyCleanse and notice that depending on my food consumption the previous day the urge to pee is often tied into the urge to defecate. One strengthens or relieves the need for the other.

Exercises that may help back it off are: Kegels - but they are very boring and few do them unless they want to strengthen their sex life which now that I think of it may be even be a better reason LOL . 

It is wided to tie in breathing and incontinence. 
Add our Cards C10, C9, C33, C30, C20, C12, C11, C27 in our Optimal breathing kit 

The above is not to replace a health professional’s advice but to me, professional and preferably non-drug intervention is a LAST RESORT but may still be advisable. Your call.

     Blessings, Michael Grant White, Founder &