Around half of women postmenopause are affected by incontinence. Bladder issues are not just an inconvenience, they can be life-limiting for some women. If you’re running to the loo more often, have a sudden urge to go or are leaking pee, you don’t have to put up with it. We’ve explored below the effective treatments available to get your bladder back under control.
It’s embarrassing and stressful when your bladder has a mind of its own and it’s also hard to conceal. While it may be common, you don’t have to accept it as an inevitable part of menopause. If you’ve never had problems like this before, you can alleviate incontinence by learning more about your symptoms and finding the right treatment.
When I was perimenopausal I had a few incidents of leakage, which didn’t really bother me. At menopause I had more frequent incidents, one of which was extremely embarrassing. I went to my doctor and he recommended pelvic floor therapy. It really helped”
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Can menopause cause leaking?
Urinary incontinence (UI), to give it its proper name, is a common symptom of menopause due to fluctuating hormone levels and increasing age. Find out more about the stages of menopause.
The reducing levels of oestrogen, along with a number of other reasons, lead to weakening of your pelvic floor muscles that support your bladder.
The odd, occasional leak doesn’t necessarily mean you have urinary incontinence and can be considered normal for women over 40. After all, who hasn’t surprised themselves with a little leakage during a bout of laughing or after a coughing fit?
Top five things to help your bladder control
Lifestyle changes: Lose weight and reduce caffeine and alcohol
Medication: Bladder muscle relaxants can help
Short-term fixes: Absorbent pads and knickers
Surgical procedures: Your doctor can advise depending on your symptoms
Pelvic floor exercises: Before you resort to surgical routes or quick fixes, try Stella to help you strengthen your pelvic floor
Symptoms of incontinence
- A sudden and uncontrollable urge to pee
- Frequent involuntary loss of pee
- Peeing more than eight times in 24 hours
- Waking up more than once during the night to pee
- An uncomfortable feeling that your bladder is not fully empty
Learn more about urinary incontinence in our symptoms library.
What’s the difference between stress and urge incontinence?
There are two types of leaking pee – stress and urge incontinence – and you can have both at the same time.
Many women can experience leaks when exercising, coughing, laughing, heavy lifting or sneezing. It’s caused when your muscles cannot hold back pee when under stress.
You may experience an urgent and uncontrollable need to pee, causing you to empty your bladder all of a sudden leaving you little time to get to a toilet. You may still feel the need to go to the loo even if your bladder is empty.
What is the impact of incontinence on health and wellbeing?
Leaking pee can have a detrimental effect on your quality of life, and that’s why it’s best to seek help:
- Social embarrassment can make you limit activities and trigger isolation
- Fear of leakage can reduce your desire to have sex
- Stress and anxiety, especially for working women
- Depression and sleep issues
- Skin infections, such as dermatitis
- Bacterial and fungal infections
- Lack of exercise
- Risk of prolapse, when muscle weakening causes organs in your pelvis to bulge into your vagina
Will your bladder improve postmenopause?
Don’t ignore your symptoms as they are likely to worsen and often your bladder control can improve with treatment.
How can you manage or treat leaking?
Don’t just head for the short-term fixes, instead explore the longer-term solutions that will have great impact. Remember, as we age, our muscles only weaken so putting in effort now to support and strengthen your pelvic floor will help prevent further worsening of symptoms. Learn more by watching our Stella Presents….Pelvic floor in menopause?
The health of your pelvic floor is key to better bladder control if you have stress or urge incontinence. Pelvic floor therapy can help strengthen your pelvic muscles and manage a variety of bladder problems, including the urgency and frequency to pee.
Stella offers specific resources to help you learn about your pelvic floor, plus exercises for accurately activating your pelvic floor muscles to build strength and improve symptoms.
Find out more about the stages of menopause on our blog or head on over to our symptoms library.