Bladder & Bowel

Bladder & Bowel Articles

Silent urinary infections, serious consequences

Older women and men are susceptible to urinary tract infections. These often occur when bacteria from the rectum cling to the urethra (the tube leading to the bladder) and then ascend to the bladder. Symptoms include burning with urination, frequent urination, a sense of urgency to urinate, and pain in the area of the bladder. But symptoms don’t always occur in older adults, which may result in a UTI going untreated and then spreading to the kidneys, where the bacteria can get into the bloodstream easily and cause sepsis. The key to prevention is increased fluid intake. (Locked) More »

What you can do about incontinence

Incontinence is twice as common in women as it is in men, yet about half of women never seek treatment—in part out of embarrassment. Treatments include Kegel exercises, anticholinergic medicines, surgery, pessaries, and lifestyle measures such as bladder training and limiting fluids. The FDA’s recent approval of an expanded use for botulinum toxin A (Botox) and a new nonprescription incontinence medication offer other options for women. (Locked) More »

Backed-up bowels? Don't get stuck on daily "regularity"

Not having a bowel movement every day does not always indicate a problem. It is more important that bowel movements are free of pain or straining. To address constipation, first make sure you get adequate dietary fiber. Use fiber supplements if it is not possible to get sufficient fiber from food. Also check for the constipating effects of common medications. If you must use a laxative, start with gentle osmotic laxatives and avoid stimulant laxatives.   (Locked) More »

Stopping repeated urinary tract infections

A short urethra, coupled with the drop in estrogen after menopause, increases older women’s susceptibility to urinary tract infections (UTIs). The lack of estrogen can also lead to vaginal atrophy, which can increase the risk of recurrent urinary infections. Antibiotics are the mainstay of treatment for UTIs, and some women who get several UTIs a year may need to take them long-term. To prevent repeat infections, women should make sure to fully empty their bladder each time they use the bathroom, urinate after sex, and drink plenty of water.   (Locked) More »