Menopause

Menopause and Urinary Incontinence

animated woman standing with hands in front looking ashamed

Menopause is a pivotal period of transformation in a woman’s life. However, not all changes seem welcome, especially when it comes to bladder and bowel control. Incontinence can manifest in various ways, from occasional leakage to sudden and complete bladder emptying. Women may also experience frequent bathroom trips or difficulties fully emptying their bladder. Despite the stigma surrounding it, incontinence is a common issue affecting many women in midlife. But it’s essential to remember that this isn’t the norm and that you don’t have to suffer in silence.

What types of incontinence is most typical in menopause?

Stress incontinence

One common issue that many older women experience is stress incontinence – when coughing, laughing, or even lifting can cause a leak of urine. This involuntary leakage can be caused by sudden pressure on the bladder walls, which causes it to squeeze and lets urine escape.

Urge incontinence

Urge incontinence is a frustrating challenge for many older individuals. This common bladder control issue leads to uncomfortable spasms and contractions that result in an urgent need to urinate. Unfortunately, this issue can also lead to unintentional leaks of urine due to incorrect or constant bladder muscle contractions. Whether you’re sleeping, drinking, or simply listening to running water, urge incontinence can strike at any time, making it all the more important to find effective ways to manage the condition.

Overflow incontinence 

Overflow incontinence is a type of urinary issue that causes constant dribbling of urine. It’s a frustrating condition that makes it difficult to fully empty your bladder, leading to leakage when it overflows. People with this type of incontinence often experience a weak stream of urine when they try to urinate. This condition is common among individuals with damaged bladders or blocked urethras, as well as people who have nerve damage resulting from diabetes.

What are the first signs of incontinence?

1. A sudden urge to go to the toilet with little to no warning

2. Urine leakage or loss of control when coughing, laughing, sneezing or lifting something heavy

3. A constant need to urinate even though your bladder is empty

Menopause brings a slew of symptoms alongside incontinence such as vaginal prolapse and anxiety, but there’s no need to suffer in silence. While short-term solutions exist, they won’t provide lasting relief, which is why we encourage you to talk with your doctor.

  • Research – be prepared for any situation, including bathroom breaks. Before heading out, take the time to do some research on the nearest restrooms. And don’t forget to keep some spare change on hand for those pesky pay-to-use facilities.
  • Bedding protection – Keep your bedding clean and dry with a little help from technology. The internet offers a plethora of options to safeguard your mattress from accidents and spills, ranging from washable or disposable sheets to mattress protectors. And for those on-the-go moments or specialized needs, there are handheld urinals and specialized devices to prevent leaks.
  • Research pads – Keep yourself confidently protected from leaks with super absorbent pads and knickers to confidently tackle leaks and workout in comfort. You don’t have to settle for unattractive and uncomfortable underwear as modern companies offer both style and function in their designs.

What are the Treatments for Menopause Incontinence?

If you’re struggling with urinary incontinence during menopause, don’t worry – there are plenty of options to explore. The first step in finding the right treatment plan for you is understanding what type of incontinence you have. From there, your doctor might recommend lifestyle adjustments, such as:

  • Reducing caffeine and alcohol intake
  • Urinating at certain fixed times of day to train your bladder
  • Losing weight to reduce bladder and pelvic muscle pressure
  • Strengthen your pelvic muscles, increase structural bladder support and help close off your urethra by doing pelvic floor or Kegel exercises

When healthy habits fail to produce the desired results, your doctor might suggest alternative methods to improve your condition. Embracing more elaborate treatment options could help alleviate your symptoms throughout menopause and get your health back on track.

Conclusion

Don’t let occasional bladder leakage put a damper on your life as you age or go through menopause. There are solutions out there, and you don’t need to just accept it as inevitable. Take control and seek out ways to prevent and stop urinary incontinence. If it is interfering with your quality of life, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor.

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