TW: This is an indelicate topic so stop here if you are squeamish or very proper

We’re talking about peeing and I know I am not the only one who has this problem


There are many good things about being a Woman of a Certain Age. I have reached the age of I just don’t care anymore, the age of whatever, the age of no I am not moving aside so you don’t have to watch where you are going, the age of nope I am not ashamed to admit that I would rather be by myself reading a book than be with most of the world’s population (my wonderful friends and family excepted of course, although it depends on the book), the age of why did I waste so much of my youth worrying about losing weight when 1. I looked great and 2. I should have been worrying about smashing the patriarchy.

But. There are a few drawbacks.

The neck part.

And we shall speak no more of that.

The everything hurts when I wake up part.

And the what the heck is going on with my bladder part.

I would ask my doctor about this, but I have a $5,000 deductible and I can’t get anyone to tell me how much it costs for an office visit – not the doctor’s office, not the hospital he works for.

Ah, the hospital. You can send them an email request for price information. But they will not email you back with a price. They call you. And if you can’t take the call, you, I suppose, as I did not do this, call them back and there is this infinite recursion of phone calls that may someday end up with an actual conversation where no information of any value is shared, like – the price. Or, if that information is divulged, there is no way to prove it later.

Because I can’t ask my doctor, I will ask you guys. I don’t think I am alone. Am I? Is this just me? Or is this yet another glorious benefit of middle age?

When did my bladder become so sensitive that I not only think about it but cater to it?

I have learned to drink lots and lots of water because apparently, when urine is too concentrated, it irritates the bladder.

I guess there is nothing wrong with lots of water, except I was in an all-day meeting at work this week. This guy who used to be a reporter for Europe’s biggest newspaper was giving us a seminar on storytelling and it was amazing and I didn’t want to miss one second of it, but when you drink lots of water, you also have to get rid of lots of water. How to time the bathroom breaks?

I have learned to endure headaches and any other kind of ache without medication because guess what? If I take a pill, two days later, as it is leaving my body, I feel as if I have a UTI. Even though I don’t have a UTI. Which took me a while  to figure out.

And then last, I have learned that although drinking water is necessary, it’s better not to drink it before bed. If I do drink it at night, my body will turn on me and release that water in one-tablespoon increments at one-hour intervals throughout the night.

I spend most of my night in very bad, intense dreams and suspect that a fire might not wake me, but a tiny amount of urine that could have waited SEVEN HOURS is the signal that puts my body on DEFCON 1.

Is it just me? Or do I have a sisterhood out there?



16 thoughts on “TW: This is an indelicate topic so stop here if you are squeamish or very proper

  1. Ah, Sisterhood indeed! There are lots and lots of us. (Have you not seen the entire aisles of Depends and Poise in the grocery store?) Assume you have tried Kegels (seems to work well when stopped for a traffic light, but since you don’t drive to work,, it’s not for you. Perhaps every other stop of the bus?)

    You are still wise to drink a lot,, tho. You’ll be glad in the long run.


  2. I was having a problem with frequency and urge incontinence and it turned out to be a UTI. I had no burning, or pain or anything. They had to culture the urine – it didn’t show in the quick office test.

    In the meantime I also did physical therapy. Yes, they have that for urinary problems. It was very helpful in retraining my bladder. And kegels weren’t talked about at all.

    I ended up having some repetitive UTIs (frequency of urination being the first symptom) and seeing a urologist was way more helpful than my GP or urgent care clinic.

    Good luck.


    1. I saw a urologist a few years ago and although he did not suggest PT, he did tell me my bladder was a big fat liar and I needed to be the boss of it. I set a timer every time I felt like I needed to pee and went from waiting five minutes to ten to fifteen, etc.

      While I am on the subject of physicians, may I mention that Blue Cross of Michigan is the worst insurance company in the world? I was on the PPO at the time and the doc was on the list, but because his office was in a hospital – a hospital that happens to be the medical school which happens to be where many of the specialists in town have offices, they charged me as a hospital visit ($500 deductible) instead of a specialist visit ($45 copay). You are so close to evil, BC MI.


      1. It would have been different if they actually told insureds that any event that takes place in a hospital is charged as hospital, but it was and still is not anywhere in their materials. I am still ticked off and it’s been a few years.


  3. I know that pelvic floor physical therapists might need to TELL your doctor they are seeing you, but, at least for PPO insurance, you might not need to actually go to a doc. I highly recommend finding a pelvic floor PT and telling them how very much you do not want to talk to your doc, but just start PT. They can then just write a letter, and you can then just start PT. It is a great specialty. Beware they might ask you to try staying away from cocoa, tomato products, dairy products and citrus products, to see if any of those known bladder irritants are causing bladder irritation. A bummer. BUT, they will also help you do exercises with ultrasound, which is cool, and helpful. I highly recommend PTs who have their own ultrasounds (and don’t charge extra).
    Feel free to email me!


  4. I do not qualify quite yet as une femme d’un certain âge, but my bladder has a similar level of cheek to what you describe. I try to stay positive towards the organ by thinking about all of the caffeinated abuse it endures from me, and reminding myself that I could easily lessen both of our suffering by giving up coffee. (Then I consider life without café au lait, shake my head emphatically, and head for the bathroom after putting the coffeepot on.)


  5. Sorry, yes it’s an age/woman thing. I’m giving up caffeine starting today in an effort to find a solution. Will let you know if it helps.


      1. Yeah, well. Good intentions and all that. Had to go see my Dad on Saturday to help clear out Mom’s things and he insisted that I join him in the gazebo for the Saturday Morning Coffee Club. He’s 94. How can I say no? No coffee starting…tomorrow?


  6. Look into something called Interstitial Cystitis. I’ve had all the symptoms you’ve had and after years of misdiagnosis and thinking I was crazy – bingo, that was it. My gynecologist gave me a prescription that I use for ‘flares’ and my life no longer revolves around my bladder. Freedom!


  7. Yes, I am a woman of more than a certain age and I have had urge incontinence and frequent UTIs for several years. I have had every test at the urologists and they know not. Don’t seem to care much either. I also have mostly mild lower abdominal pain. Next one I’m going to ask my regular doctor about the WaPo article cited about. He likes science a lot. I use a lot of Poise pads mostly for a feeling of security as I have had this long enough to be able to manage it. I hope you find a way to be comfortable.


  8. I know this is ages past your initial post, but I just found your blog. Which I love, by the way. I too, am a woman of a certain age, which I take to mean post menopausal. I too, with the frequent miserable feeling like I had a bladder infection thing. What fixed it for me was a female medical tech at the minor emergency clinic I went to. After the doctor left, as she was checking me out she said. “When you go to your primary care doctor, ask him for some vaginal estrogen cream”. I am not on HST because my mother had breast cancer, but I’ve found that using that cream once or twice a week has really cleared up the frequent cystitis. Post menopause, the vaginal walls thin and somehow that seems to make the bladder more sensitive. That stuff really has been a help.


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