Older People and Continence
Age related changes to the bladder and urinary systems
- Bladder control problems and wetting are more common in older people than younger people.
What to expect
- Older people should expect to wake at night to pass urine once or twice.
- Older men will notice the force of urine flow gets less.
Help is needed when
- The number of times you get up at night becomes a problem.
- Wetting the bed at night.
- Having to rush frequently to the toilet .
- Going to the toilet to pass urine more often than every 2 hours during the day.
- Wetting so underclothes have to be changed or smell is a problem.
What can affect bladder control?
What Else Can Affect Bladder Control?
- Some medications can affect bladder control.
- Poor bladder control and wetting can be caused by constipation, which is infrequent or difficult bowel action.
- Diabetes is a common disease in older people.
- Diabetes can lead to a person making more urine so they have to go to the toilet more often in the day and at night.
- Diabetes can directly damage the bladder and bowel muscle.
Where can help be found?
There are many health professionals qualified to assist you with bladder control problems. You may seek assistance from your doctor who may offer treatment directly or refer you to a specialist, or to a qualified continence advisor. You may also seek help and obtain information directly from the following sources:
- National Help line 0800 650 659
- Continence Nurse Advisors
- & physiotherapists
- Disability Resource Centre
- District Nursing Services
- Independent Living Centres
280,000 New Zealanders have difficulty controlling their bladder and bowel.
Pads for wetting problems
- Pads may help people with bladder control problems to catch the leaking urine.
- Because bladder and urinary systems change with age help is needed to diagnose and treat the bladder control problem.
- Help may also be needed to choose the right pad or equipment for a particular bladder control problem and to protect skin and prevent bad smells.
- Being old is not an excuse for having a bladder control or wetting problem and almost always things can be done to improve the bladder control problem.