The Impact of Age on Incontinence

Aging does not lead to urinary incontinence, but age-related changes may create predisposition to it. Contrary to popular belief, urinary incontinence is not a normal result of the aging process. With age, bladder contractility and the capacity of the bladder to hold urine diminishes. Functional urethral pressure decreases with age.

Urethral resistance is reduced in women due to reduced estrogen levels and weakened periurethral and pelvic muscles while many men experience an enlargement of the prostate. The urethral resistance increases, urine flow rate decreases, and a predisposition to urine retention develops due to prostate enlargement. In both sexes, the bladder tends to be hyperactive. In addition, the bladder capacity diminishes, and an age-related decline is seen in the concentrating mechanisms of the kidney

If one experiences urinary incontinence as one gets on in age, it is important to identify the type of incontinence during the diagnosis as not all treatment approaches may prove effective for all types of urinary incontinence. In that respect, the most appropriate treatment should be determined according to the type of incontinence one suffers from.