Menopause and urinary incontinence: your need-to-know
If you’re going through the perimenopause or menopause and you’ve started to have difficulty with bladder control, you’re bound to feel concerned. After all, urinary incontinence can be embarrassing and interfere with work, your social life and your sexual relationship.
However, it’s important to understand that urinary incontinence isn’t something you ‘just have to put up with’. As Dr Sarah Jarvis says “Menopause used to be the start of an inevitable decline into old age – but no more!”
What you shouldn’t do is ignore urinary incontinence, as it rarely goes away on its own and may even get worse over time.
What to look out for
If you’ve started to notice leaks when you cough, sneeze or exercise or when you’re on the way to the loo, it’s a good idea to make an appointment for a chat with your GP.
Other signs that you might be suffering from a sensitive bladder are waking up more than twice at night to urinate or frequent urinary tract infections.
Why it happens
There are several reasons why you might experience problems with a sensitive bladder as you hit ‘The Change’.
Your oestrogen levels will be declining and your pelvic floor muscles becoming weaker. Your bladder may also becoming less elastic. Some women also put on a bit of weight which puts a further strain on their muscles.Some menopausal women also have a prolapse which is a sagging down of organs against the pelvic floor.
How to deal with it
The first thing you should do if you’re having any problems is book a chat with your GP who’ll be able to offer lots of help and advice.
Kegel or pelvic floor exercises can be a huge help and can be done pretty much anytime and anywhere. While you’re sitting in traffic, for instance!
It’s also a good idea to try to maintain a healthy weight, and to make sure you stay well hydrated (not drinking enough is a common mistake people make when they’ve got a sensitive bladder and can lead to urinary tract infections).
Another huge favour you can do yourself is to take a look at the Always Discreet range. There are panty liners, pads, and underwear, all of which are designed to stop you worrying about leaks and let you get on with your life.