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Ladies — Let’s Talk About the Aging Bladder

How a whole-person approach has worked


Waterfalls — Cody Weaver on Unsplash

First the disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. But I am an aging woman, with aging parts.

I bought a jumper, the one-piece bodysuit that looks so cute on two-year-olds and teens. It was a big mistake, as I had to disrobe to pee, and sometimes I couldn’t disrobe fast enough. I envied toddlers their leg snaps.

Plus, if I was using a public restroom, the jumpsuit pooled around the ankles and might land in a puddle on the floor. All not good.

I put my jumper in the thrift-store pile and soldiered on for a few years because, well, this is the way it is. Until the moment I put my house key in the door, and all I could think about was Niagara Falls, and sometimes I didn’t think at all.

I was certain I had a UTI (urinary tract infection) and headed to the doctor’s office. I had been trying to flush my system, so I was drinking lots and lots of water, which resulted in more bathroom trips, which resulted in confirmation I must have a UTI. Wrong.

What I didn’t know is that diminishing estrogen impacts the bladder as well as other parts of the nether region. Since my aging bladder is in August or September (or later), it produces a waterfall as if in late August or Setpember, not like in the April or May of my youth. The trickle-down theory doesn’t help; it irritates the nether regions. It felt like how Democrats felt about the trickle-down economic theory, but that’s a different story.

I marched off with a prescription for estrogen cream and a note for physical therapy.*(Marching with high leg raises helps, especially in water with resistance.)

Mind over bladder

I learned that the mind controls many things, and I needed to distract the bladder when it had urges. I might curl my toes, and concentrate on that. Or count backward. Or just say “OK, mind, you are in control here. Bladder, listen up. You weren’t whining two minutes ago before the key went in the door, and you started drooling like Pavlov’s dog.”

I do something else when I first walk through my door and separate the cue (key in lock) from the response (go to bathroom). I also needed to strengthen my core muscles.Do Kegels. Leg lifts.

I prefer water aerobic exercises that strengthen my abdominal muscles and leg and arm muscles. Others might like yoga, planks, or different methods. I have never liked exercise, but now I love water aerobics because I love the clear improvements in better muscles supporting everything.

All these tips may be old news. But I have learned that those things that impact the quality of my life, in even small ways, don’t necessarily have to be endured. And not just by buying personal paper products.

Of course, many women have more complicated issues, and those issues may need a medical visit. But I have learned a lot from comparing notes in these virtual pages, and maybe this conversation will help someone else.

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