Bladder Control

Is an overactive bladder a "normal" part of aging?

Do you have an overactive bladder? Most women (AND men) will experience mild bladder control problems as we grow older. While an overactive bladder can be frustrating and sometimes embarrassing, bladder control problems don't have to be a permanent part of the aging process. But, even if your bladder control problems have a medical cause, or are simply the result of an overactive bladder, they can usually be remedied without "adult diapers" or prescription drugs.

What is the solution for most bladder control and overactive bladder problems? Kegel exercises. According to the Mayo Clinic Health Letter, "to do Kegel exercises, first identify the right muscles by contracting those you'd use to stop the flow of urine. [With Kegel exercises, your abdominal and thigh muscles should remain relaxed.] You should experience a pulling sensation. Keep your muscles contracted for 10 seconds, then release for 10 seconds. Work up to 10 to 20 contractions in a row at least 3 times a day."

Unlike most other exercises, it's easy to find the time for Kegel exercises. You can do them anywhere — while watching TV, driving your car, reading your mail or the newspaper, lying in bed before falling asleep or after waking up. For the best results, however, you must do them REGULARLY, 3 times a day, every day — morning, afternoon and night. (For more information, click on Kegel exercises.)

Be patient; like any other exercise program, it will take some time before you begin to see the results of your bladder control exercises. You should begin to notice some improvement in your overactive bladder after 4 to 6 weeks. But, it could take as long a 3 months to see a drastic change.

For more information, click on bladder control or overactive bladder.