Urinary problems occur with normal aging. In women they often relate to the changes in female anatomy due to the delivering of babies. With superimposed age-related changes in soft tissues, laxity may result in incontinence (loss of urinary control), especially with coughing, laughing, or straining. In men the opposite symptom tends to occur: urinary hesitancy (inability to evacuate the bladder). This is due to constriction of the bladder outlet by an enlarging prostate; the prostate normally surrounds the urethra, through which urine passes. DLB and PDD are often associated with additional bladder problems. Recall that the autonomic nervous system regulates bladder function and that this system tends to malfunction in Lewy disorders. Hence, reduced bladder control is frequent among those with DLB, PDD, and Parkinson’s disease. This condition is termed neurogenic bladder, which implies that the autonomic nervous system control of bladder reflexes is not working properly. This may manifest as urgency with incontinence or hesitancy. Neurogenic bladder problems require different strategies than those used for treating the simple age-related problems that develop in mid-life and beyond. Moreover, there are certain caveats to treatment once a neurogenic bladder is recognized. The bladder is simply a reservoir that holds urine. It is located in the lower pelvis and is distant from the kidneys. The kidneys essentially filter the circulating blood and make the urine. The urine flows down from the kidneys into the bladder, as shown in Figure 14.1. Normally, as the bladder slowly fills with urine, a reflex is triggered when it is nearly full. This results in conscious awareness of the need to urinate, plus it primes the reflexive tendency of the bladder to contract in order to expel the urinary contents. The bladder is able to contract because of muscles in the bladder walls. Normally, nerves activate these muscles at the appropriate time, which forcefully squeeze the bladder, expelling the urine. Nerve sensors in the bladder wall are activated by bladder filling and transmit this information to the central nervous system, ramping up bladder wall muscle activity.
Keywords: 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors, Avodart (dutasteride), Cardura (doxazosin), Flomax (tamsulosin), Hytrin (terazosin), Proscan (finasteride), alfuzosin (Uroxatral), doxazosin (Cardura), terazosin (Hytrin), urinary hesitancy, urinary urge incontinence
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