bring about many changes; night sweats, mood swings, hot flashes and possibly
even urinary issues such as an overactive or sensitive bladder. There’s a lot
going on in a woman’s body as she ages, but it’s important to remember that
urinary incontinence is a very common issue for menopausal women to experience,
and there are treatment options available.
You may have
noticed that you are waking up more frequently at night to urinate, or you are
leaking urine when you sneeze, cough or even exercise. Some women may
experience more frequent urinary tract infections. Though these symptoms sounds
alarming, take comfort in the fact that urinary incontinence can be treated, and
in some cases even cured.
As women enter
menopause, their levels of estrogen begin dropping. Estrogen is the hormone
responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle, and it also keeps your bladder,
urethra, and surrounding pelvic muscles strong and functioning properly. As
women go through menopause their estrogen levels begin to decline, and this dip
in estrogen affects the muscle strength in the pelvic region, leading to
urinary incontinence, or lack of bladder control.
types of urinary incontinence are as follows:
. This is when the bladder muscles
squeeze at the wrong time (or all the time) causing leaks.
. This is the most common kind of
bladder control issue in menopausal women. The pressure caused from laughing,
sneezing or coughing can push urine through the weak muscle, resulting in
occurs when you are consistently
getting out of bed to use the bathroom several times a night.
. After menopause, women may begin to
have urinary tract infections (UTI’s). These can give you a burning sensation
Now that you
are more familiar with the types of urinary incontinence associated with
menopause, what can be done to treat these issues? Some lifestyle changes
include limiting caffeine as well as avoiding alcohol and spicy foods. Be sure
to drink plenty of water, but be careful about drinking water late at night. Kegel
exercises work by strengthening the pelvic floor muscles and building muscle
tone in your pelvic region. Maintaining an ideal weight may help with UI as
. Certain medications may help reduce UI
symptoms and treat some urinary tract infections.
of the pelvic muscles. If your urinary
incontinence is related to nerve impairment, stimulating the nerves of your
pelvic muscles may help.
. This is the most commonly used device
for the treatment of stress incontinence. A pessary is a stiff ring that’s
inserted into your vagina to help reposition your urethra to reduce urine leakage.
. By learning when your bladder muscles
contract, you may be able to gain better control over them. A wire is connected
to an electrical patch over your bladder which sends signals to a monitor, and
alerts you when your muscles are contracting.
to repair and lift the bladder into a
better position may be considered when other forms of treatment do not work.
in silence! Getting a physical examination can help your provider determine the
best method of treatment. Your doctor will do an exam as well as take a urine
sample. It’s important to discuss urinary incontinence with your healthcare
provider to figure out which treatment option is best for you. If you’re
suffering from urinary incontinence, contact the compassionate providers at Great
Plains Women’s Health Center to get diagnosed and treated. Remember, you’re not
alone, we can help!