Ageing and Incontinence

As you get older, you might find that urine leaks out when you do physical activities, lift heavy objects, sneeze or cough. You may start to wonder why your bladder is not holding in urine like it used to. You may also begin to wonder if your surrounding organs are being affected. The good news is that your underlying condition may not be anything serious. It could just be due to weakened pelvic floor muscles (PFM), which are muscles that provide structural support and help to maintain continence. Weakened PFM is more common in women as the rituals of pregnancy and childbirth can affect the condition of their PFM in their silver years.

Causes of PFM Disorders As We Age
As we age, our brain’s production of a growth hormone that builds and maintains muscle mass slows down. This affects the strength of our PFM. Gender-related hormonal changes also play a part. Testosterone in males maintains and grows muscles, but its production decreases with age. This affects the strength of the PFM in elderly men. Similarly, for older women, lower oestrogen levels can cause the connective tissues of the PFM to provide less support, which results in continence problems.

Some women might feel the drop in their oestrogen levels during perimenopause and menopause more acutely than others. Decreased oestrogen levels affect both blood circulation and lubrication of the PFM. The PFM becomes stiffer and functions less well. Lower oestrogen levels also cause weight gain, and this extra weight is usually deposited around the belly. With more weight sitting on the PFM, the increased pressure increases the chances of incontinence.

In addition to menopause, other factors like genetics and slower metabolism, which results in slower digestion of food, also contribute to weight gain. This weight gain can lead to obesity. Obesity increases abdominal pressure which in turn affects bladder pressure and movements of the urethra. These may then affect continence.

Keeping the PFM Firm
There are a number of ways you can manage and keep your PFM firm. You can train your bladder by going to the toilet at set times. Gradually increase these intervals by 15-minute blocks until you only need to go to the toilet once every three to four hours. Keep a bladder diary to help you plan your retraining schedule and follow through with your plan. After a few months, your voiding intervals will be extended, and your continence will be better managed.

You can also keep your PFM firm by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This involves having a healthy diet and regular exercise. Nutrients like magnesium help your PFM to function properly. At the same time, keep your PFM active through exercises like Kegels. Find a practitioner to teach you how to locate your PFM and practice a variety of exercises that can help to strengthen your PFM. Keep your other muscles active as well by walking, and doing yoga or qigong. These will help to improve your blood circulation. A balanced diet and an active lifestyle can help you to manage your weight effectively.

You can also try planning your fluid intake. Avoid downing a large quantity of fluids all at once. Try taking around 480ml of fluids during mealtime, or have a soup and 240ml in between. Avoid drinking fluids at night so that you do not have to wake up to urinate; also avoid alcohol and other bladder irritants like caffeine and cola.

BTL Emsella
Last but not least, hasten your PFM strengthening with BTL Emsella. Emsella is one of the best options to treat incontinence. It is a treatment that improves your PFM non-invasively. The treatment does this by targeting your PFM, using a safe high-intensity focused electromagnetic (HIFEM) energy to strengthen your PFM. Some people see an improvement after a single 30-minute session on Emsella. Four sessions are recommended.

If you suffer from weakened PFM and have continence issues, try Emsella to help hasten your recovery. It is an effective non-invasive treatment that can help you to strengthen your PFM fast!