Barbara Fradkin – Hometown News

Sometimes I have to dash to the bathroom. Is this normal for seniors?

Age really has nothing to do with urinary incontinence. But urinary leakage affects twice as many women as men!  Pregnancy, childbirth and menopause can all affect the urinary tract and weaken the surrounding muscles. When these supporting pelvic floor muscles are weak, the muscles in the urinary tract must work harder to hold back urine. This extra pressure or stress can cause urinary incontinence. There are two common types.

Stress incontinence– This is the most common type of urinary incontinence. It happens when weak pelvic floor muscles put pressure on the bladder and urethra. Everyday actions that use the pelvic floor muscles, such as coughing, sneezing, or laughing, can cause you to leak urine.  Ever heard this expression? “I laughed so hard, I peed my pants!”

Urge incontinence– This type is more prevalent in older women. Urine leakage occurs after a strong sudden urge to urinate –and before you can get to the bathroom. Some women with urge incontinence feel the urge to urinate many times a day.  Even the sight of a beautiful fountain makes you want to run!

Happily, not all urinary incontinence is long term. Certain medications, especially diuretics, can play a role.  Once you stop the medication, the symptoms go away.  Love coffee and tea? Caffeine adds stress pressure that can make control more difficult.  Urinary tract infections and bladder infections prevalent in some women (particularly older women) can also cause incontinence. Once the infection is managed, the incontinence disappears.

Know your body and be up front with your doctor! Incontinence is certainly no cause for embarrassment.  Your doctor may want to check for infection and/or use ultrasound to detect any changes with your kidneys, bladder and urethra.

Lastly, make sure you drink plenty of fluids (especially water) for optimum health. Got a question for The Experts in Aging? Call, email or come visit us at One Senior Place.


One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging at Barbara Fradkin is a Social Worker, Certified Care Manager and the Director of One Senior Place, Viera.