Does bladder capacity decrease with age, which leads to frequent urination?
Yes. The muscle of the bladder loses elasticity and tone. Hence, the bladder holds almost 50% less urine (causing more frequent urination) and empties less completely. The warning period between the urge and actual urination is shortened or lost as one ages. Muscular disability, spinal cord effects on the bladder muscle, tumors, infection, anatomic damage to the sphincters and/or bladder neck may cause incontinence in advancing age. Other risks for incontinence in old age include chronic disease, cognitive impairment, medications, smoking, pelvic muscle weakness, low fluid intake, and environment.
Linda Breytspraak, Center on Aging Studies, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Last update: Sunday, July 06, 2008