Menopause and urinary tract infections

 

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are something most women are all too familiar with, unfortunately. They are inconvenient, painful and can make going out and about a challenge. During menopause, they can ramp up and cause all sorts of grief.

URINARY TRACT INFECTION DEFINITION

Urinary tract infections are usually a bacterial infection that can happen anywhere in your urinary tract. They can show up with a multitude of symptoms.

If you are spending your days crossing your legs or running for the loo… download Stella.

HOW LIKELY ARE URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS DURING MENOPAUSE?

  • Approximately 50-60% of women will develop a urinary tract infection in their lifetime
  • You are more likely to have a urinary tract infection during menopause if you also have a chronic condition such as diabetes
  • Having a urinary tract infection can also cause temporary urinary incontinence

Read more about the stages of menopause.

HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU HAVE A URINARY TRACT INFECTION?

UTI symptoms depend on which part of the urinary tract is infected.

Lower tract UTIs

These are the most common form and affect the urethra and bladder. Symptoms can include:

  • Burning or pain sensation when you pee
  • Needing to pee suddenly and more often
  • When you pee, you’re not passing much urine
  • Pelvic pain or pain in your lower tummy
  • Pee that looks bloody or cloudy
  • Pee that has a stronger odour than what you’re used to

Upper tract UTIs

These are less common and mainly affects the kidneys. They are more serious and can be potentially life-threatening. Symptoms can include:

  • Pain and tenderness in your upper back and sides
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Urinary tract infections and menopause

Fluctuations and an overall decrease in your oestrogen levels throughout the stages of menopause change the vulval tissue, making it more fragile and also changes the balance of bacteria in your vulva which increases the risk of a UTI.

Your pelvic floor muscles may also weaken, which make it harder to fully empty your bladder.

Having a urinary tract infection can affect your quality of sleep and have and enjoy sexual intercourse. A urinary tract infection can  increase the risks of having recurrent or chronic UTIs or kidney infections. They can affect your overall quality and enjoyment of life.

Many types of urinary incontinence are temporary or improve with pelvic floor muscle programme.

It’s a good idea to have a chat with your doctor to see what types of medical and surgical treatment could be available to you.

The fear of going somewhere new where you do not know where the loos are can be overwhelming.”

Zinat

DISCOVER MORE

Is it normal to leak and pee a lot during menopause? Read more

We need to remove the shame and silence around menopause. Read more

How to stem the flow of heavy periods. Read more

WHAT RELIEF IS AVAILABLE?

Download Stella for personalised pelvic floor strengthening during menopause

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Renard J, Ballarini S, Mascarenhas T, et al. Recurrent Lower Urinary Tract Infections Have a Detrimental Effect on Patient Quality of Life: a Prospective, Observational Study [published online ahead of print, 2014 Dec 18]. Infect Dis Ther. 2014;4(1):125-135. doi:10.1007/s40121-014-0054-6