Anti aging guide

The Bladder and Its Control



Why loss of bladder control is one of the great dreads of aging?

One of the great dreads of aging is that of loss of bladder control, because of its identification with loss of dignity, and its aesthetically unpleasant associations. Urinary incontinence and mental infirmity are perhaps two of the saddest afflictions that can bedevil old age and which also offer ammunition to those who calumniate it. Incontinence causes considerable distress and suffering to the patient, a great deal of unpleasantness to his carers, and much of the demand for institutional care.

The bladder is a muscular reservoir which receives urine formed by the kidneys. Normally it fills without contractions of the muscle until a point is reached when signals are sent conveying the sensation of fullness when the bladder contains perhaps 250 ml of urine. The act of emptying the bladder, or micturition, is a reflex triggered by these sensations arriving at the spinal cord, and consists of the simultaneous contraction of the bladder wall and relaxation of the sphincter mechanism which has been holding the bladder outlet tightly shut. But the sensory messages also travel up the spinal cord to the brain, making us aware of the need to pass urine, and enabling us to send messages back down the cord preventing the reflex from acting until we reach a socially appropriate time and place. Most people will find themselves ‘bursting for a pee’ when their bladders are holding 400-500 ml of urine. After voiding there should be under 100 ml of urine remaining in the bladder.

Posted by Carol Hudgens - May 17, 2012 at 1:55 pm