One of the signs that you are getting on in years is bladder control—or should I say, the lack thereof! Many of my friends are a full decade older than I. Often times when we are together there will be a sudden break in conversation as my somewhat panicked-faced friend exclaims, “Oh, no, I need to use the restroom,” and off she runs.

The trouble with a frequent, strong urge to void is that it can become a round the clock nuisance causing you to wake throughout the night to the sound of your own “bladder alarm” which propels you towards the bathroom. All that “going” must be reined in, but how?

The first thing I recommend is that you begin to endurance train your bladder. Many people use the facilities far too often, reasoning “Let me go now, before I really have to go later” or “I should really visit the bathroom once more before I leave.” All that emptying of a partially filled bladder lessens your bladder’s tolerance to becoming naturally full.  If your urine stream lasts less than 10 slow seconds (y’know, one-Mississippi, two-Mississippi), then you have voided too early. The frequency of urination should be approximately eight times during the day (not the night). Work at stretching the time out between bathroom runs and restore your bladder to all of its former fullness!

My second piece of advice, aimed at nighttime potty runs, is that you must be diligent not to drink caffeinated beverages at dinnertime and not to consume much fluids thereafter. Get in the bulk of your hydration earlier in the day so your body can rest through the night.

If neither of these fixes seem to dial back your bladder urgency, please visit your primary care physician or a urologist. Men can have increased urgency due to prostate gland enlargement and women because of a downward “reorganization” in their organs. Prescription medications are also available designed to decrease the frequency of your urination so that you can once again free to roam far from the facilities without fear.