When you reach the fantastic age of 40, it is said to be the crossroads of your life where anything can happen and everything is possible. This is also the age when your eyes start to get graded and your views jaded. For some people who believe that life begins at forty, it would be very fitting since this is also the age when your bladder starts to “leak like a baby”.
Upon reaching middle age, men become more susceptible to prostate gland problems mainly due to the diminishing supply of oestrogen hormones in the male’s system. The balance of oestrogen and testosterone begin to tilt causing a host of problems for the men, including enlargement of the prostate gland. The prostate lie just behind the bladder and lying at the bottom is a band of muscles called the pelvic floor muscles that protect the organs above it.
Women who have had multiple pregnancies and have had recurring urinary tract infections during the child-bearing age are more prone to bladder problems in mid-life than those who have not experienced carrying a child in her womb. As a woman age, the pelvic floor muscles weaken and become loose either due to the physical trauma of childbirth or the long-term stress of carrying excess weight. During menopause the health problems they have encountered when they were young are amplified and symptoms can get confusing at times.
Managing continence during middle age can be a very difficult task for both sexes. Deterioration of the bladder’s function is a life-changing phase and the loss of urinary continence often results in anxiety, loss of self-confidence and self-esteem. It is very important to understand this problem so that treatment options are evaluated and considered. Moral and financial support from family and friends are most needed during this emotionally stressful stage.
Most cases of bladder incontinence have gradual progression and symptoms are often neglected until the condition gets worse and becomes irreversible. It is important to consult a continence specialist or a certified health care provider at the onset of the symptoms in order to get an unbiased opinion. A therapist or a personal trainer can help you start a comfortable exercise routine to keep your body fit and healthy. You can do the following tips at home:
- Do the Kegel exercise. This routine is designed to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and help maintain muscle tone. A biofeedback device will help you determine the correct muscles to contract
- Stick to your good toilet habits. Void at regular intervals and take your time when voiding to give your bladder the chance to empty completely
- Keep a healthy diet. Fruits and vegetables are good sources of fibre necessary for metabolism. Stay away from bladder irritants such as coffee, tea, soda and alcoholic drinks
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day to flush out the waste product of metabolism. Minimise water intake at night to prevent going to the toilet several times and disrupting sleep
- Loss pounds if you are overweight. Excess weight strains the lower abdomen and weakens the pelvic floor muscles
- Keep a healthy lifestyle. Good hygiene prevents urinary tract infections. Stick to a monogamous sexual relationship. Sexually transmitted diseases are prevalent in a polygamous relationship.
- Know your body. In women the perineum separating the genital area and the anus is approximately 2 inches wide. Prevent transmittal of infection-causing bacteria by cleaning yourself from the front to the back and not the other way around
Discuss with your therapist of family doctor other options on how to maintain a healthy urinary system. Managing continence should not be so hard. There is more to life than just leaking urine and wearing absorbent pads. Incontinence should be the least of your worries and enjoy being fabulous at 40.