Myths and Facts About Bladder Control: How Age, Weight, and Health Affect Bladder Control


Despite the fact that incontinence is a very common medical condition, due to its highly personal and embarrassing nature, few talk about it openly. This leads to a lot of fiction being mixed in with the facts. The following is a look at some of the myths surrounding bladder control, and the truth about how age, weight, and health impact incontinence.

Myth: Small bladders lead to accidents.

Fact: Bladder capacity is not usually the problem, it is the muscles, infections, and nerve damage that impact control. Sometimes certain medications, drinking, being over weight, smoking, and other health concerns can impact incontinence. It has very little to do with how large or small your bladder is.

Myth: Only women can do Kegels to strengthen bladder-controlling muscles.

Fact: Doing exercises and moves to strengthen the muscles that control the bladder is great for men and women. Try a biofeedback approach to target the muscles that need strengthening. Then do 2-3 sets of ten repetitions of Kegels daily.

Myth: Bladder control issues are a normal and inevitable part of aging.

Fact: Incontinence is a medical condition that can be affected by other conditions common with aging, but it is not a normal nor inevitable part of aging, and is often treatable. Bladder problems impact all ages and stages. Men and women are affected. It is more common in older women who have had children, or older men with prostate problems. Too many wait years before seeking help. Talk to a doctor right away to see if the problem is treatable.

Myth: Only medications or surgery can help.

Fact: While medications and surgery are both viable treatment options, bladder training is a great option as well, and often the first recommendation from doctors for those with an overactive bladder. Waiting for a scheduled time can help you train your bladder and cut episodes and accidental leaks down significantly.

Myth: Reducing fluids will help control leaks.

Fact: Reducing fluid actually does the opposite, as the urine can have a high concentration, and irritate the bladder leading to worsened symptoms. It is wise, however, to cut yourself off from beverages a couple hours before bed to reduce waking during the night. Stay hydrated. Instead of reducing fluids, reduce drinks containing caffeine, a bladder stimulant.

Myth: Incontinence, leaking, and bladder problems in men is because of the prostate.

Fact: While it is true that an enlarged prostate is often the cause of incontinence for men, it is not the only thing that leads to an overactive bladder. It is best to talk to your doctor and seek a professional diagnosis and treatment plan.

Myth: Your health does not impact the health of your bladder.

Fact: Weight, health, and age all play a role in bladder health. When someone is overweight there may be too much pressure on the bladder. Weight loss can help alleviate symptoms. So can cutting out caffeine, smoking, and other unhealthy lifestyle choices. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and slimming down can all lead to better bladder control.