08/28/2009 - News

Bladder does not shrink as you get older

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD


Contrary to popular belief, the bladder does not get smaller with age although this perception may be part of an underlying urinary condition.

As people get older, they often find they have to urinate more often and with more urgency. This makes it feel like the bladder is shrinking. However, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh now say that this is not in fact the case.

They looked at a range of measures such as bladder capacity and stability, pressure, flow rate and strength of the detrusor muscle (which contracts on urination) in a group of women aged 22 to 90. Bladder capacity, they say, alters little with age.

But women with normally aging bladders had decreased sensation, while those with an underlying condition called detrusor overactivity had increased sensation. This condition is sometimes known as overactive bladder, giving risk to frequency and an increased urge to urinate. Fortunately, this is treatable. So any woman who feels her bladder is getting smaller should not just accept it as a consequence of aging - she should seek medical help.



American Urological Society meeting 24th May 2005

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Created on: 05/25/2005
Reviewed on: 08/28/2009

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