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Feel great as you age

It's not every day we wake up and say, "Hey, I really haven't been paying attention to my bladder health, I wonder how it's doing?" It tends to be human nature that generally what is out of sight is out of mind. As we age, we may notice a new wrinkle when looking in the mirror, or realize when stepping on the scale that we have gained a couple of pounds from a slower metabolism. But we tend to forget about the less visible health effects of aging until something doesn't feel quite right.

Aging brings with it a host of positive changes. We are wiser, more experienced, and generally more financially secure in our places in life. But there are some downsides of aging as well. Systems of the body may show a little wear and tear after many years of reliable service. We slowly notice an ache here, a pain there.

Perhaps we're not as limber or fast as we once were. Maybe things that worked well before aren't working just right anymore. Wouldn't it be nice to drive ourselves to the mechanic and get a "tune up"?

One area that individuals seldom consider as they age until something goes awry is bladder health. It can be one part of the body that shows some deterioration over time - although bladder conditions are not exclusive to seniors. Certain symptoms may be indicative of bladder dysfunctions, including increased urgency to use the bathroom, urine leakage, and multiple trips at night to the bathroom. Bladder problems can cause a person to feel older beyond his or her real years, partly because of the assumed lack of control a person has over the situation. But that doesn't have to be the case any longer. With bladder health, fast action can mean faster relief and cost savings.

It is estimated that billions of dollars are spent each year in the United States to diagnose, treat and rehabilitate patients with urinary incontinence (UI) and other effects of bladder conditions. Medicines are often a first line of defense, but many of the popular overactive bladder and UI drugs can cause side effects from constipation and dry mouth, to more troublesome ones like cognitive trouble and memory loss.

Frequent trips to the doctor or pharmacy and the purchase of hygiene pads can quickly add up to a lot of money, not to mention added stress. Bladder conditions that aren't remedied can lead to a loss of sleep from frequent trips to the bathroom, irritability, embarrassment, and a feeling of hopelessness.

While you're on the road to feeling better ... and younger, try these strategies for improved bladder health:

* Smoking has been linked to bladder cancer. If you're a smoker, one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself is begin a smoking cessation program today.

* Kegel exercises work the muscles of your bladder. When urinating, stop and start the flow of urine - those are the muscles you want to focus upon. During the day do several repetitions of Kegels to strengthen your pelvic floor.

* Use the bathroom regularly; do not hold in urine excessively. A full, distended bladder for long periods of time could cause a stretching of the bladder muscle, thus leading to a more floppy bladder, which cannot contract as well as before being stretched.

* Eat healthy foods and drink plenty of water. The best way to look and feel good is to nourish the body from the inside out.

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