The material provided below is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the diagnosis or treatment by a qualified healthcare professional. You should always seek medical advice before consuming any new medicines or supplements. AZO products referenced on this website are not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease such as overactive bladder, urinary tract infections, or vaginal infections.
Backyard grilling? Done. Summer reading? Check. Suntan? Beginning to fade. Moreover, the fear of being pelted with a cold water balloon is significantly lower, since the official season of the Water Balloon has passed. In addition to having been the perfect ammo for backyard wars and unsuspecting sunbathers alike in the summer, water balloons happen to be a great example for bladder control, year round.
How The Bladder Works
Think of the bladder as your body’s own water balloon. As the balloon fills up, it expands. It also increases pressure on the downward opening. In order to stop water from escaping from the balloon, you tie a knot in the opening. In order to tie the knot, you need to squeeze the opening tighter and constrict it a bit further towards the balloon itself, so that there are two points of constriction––the knot below and the grip above. Your bladder works the same way. There’s a sphincter muscle (the "external sphincter") at the bottom of the urethra. It works like the knot on a water balloon, holding it all in until you get to the loo. And further up, closer to the main part of the balloon, there’s the urethral neck, also called the "internal sphincter." It’s comprised of the muscular tissue of the bladder itself and is supported by the other muscles of the pelvic floor. In other words, it’s the pelvic floor and the musculature of the internal sphincter, which control the flow of urine and relieve some of the pressure on the external sphincter (the ‘knot’) down below.1
Causes of Occasional Loss of Bladder Control
As we get older, the musculature of the bladder itself, the pelvic floor around the bladder, and the external sphincter at the bottom of the urethra, can all start to weaken, like any other muscle. This is a normal process that usually starts around age 30, and it just means that the number of fibers and their size decrease as we age.2 Smaller muscles equal weaker muscles.
When this weakening of the muscles and tissue that help support bladder control happens, you begin to feel the sensation of an increased urge to go. It’s like when your hand muscles start to loosen against the neck of a water balloon—the chances of the water being able to come out are increased. And before you know it, well, occasional loss of bladder control happens.
Fortunately, that’s where the metaphor ends! Because unlike a water balloon, your bladder can respond to exercise, changes in lifestyle, and even changes in diet.
For example, a water balloon can’t do exercises for bladder control, like Kegels. Much in the way you would stop the flow of urine mid-stream, or try to keep from passing gas, squeeze slowly and hold the muscles of your pelvic floor for 5–10 times, 10 seconds each. Then do 10 quick contractions. And do both of those 5–6 times a day, ideally. Also, perform the same contraction when you cough, sneeze or clear your throat to train those muscles to stay constricted during those moments. Managing weight has also been shown to encourage good bladder control.
One more option to consider is AZO Bladder Control® with GoLess®. It’s a proprietary blend with pumpkin seed extract that’s great for helping to maintain the condition of your pelvic floor muscles.* Check out this video for more information:
Water balloons are fun and thrilling when they burst open! Bladders, well…less so.
Fortunately, you have several options to help maintain bladder health. And AZO Bladder Control® is there to help you do just that.*
1 Bladder Anatomy http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1949017-overview
2 Effects of Aging on the Musculoskeletal System https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/bone,-joint,-and-muscle-disorders/biology-of-the-musculoskeletal-system/effects-of-aging-on-the-musculoskeletal-system