You don’t have to be post-menopausal to suffer from a weak bladder, but whatever age you are, it has the potential to be embarrassing.
It’s a completely natural result of hormonal changes though, and luckily, whether it’s your first experience of urinal incontinence or it’s making an unwelcome return to your life, things have moved on in terms of both medical research and protection.
Indeed, urinary incontinence can be treated, better managed and even cured – as long as you don’t simply ignore the problem, hoping it will go away.
It’s important to be familiar with the most common signs of urinary incontinence, so you can start to rule out any other issues, and treat the right symptoms. They include:
• Leaking urine when you cough, sneeze or exercise
• Leaking urine on the way to the bathroom
• Waking up more than twice at night to urinate
• Frequent urinary tract infections
There are a number of reasons you might suffer from a weak bladder.
Weak pelvic floor muscles: during pregnancy and early menopause, your pelvic floor muscles tend to weaken naturally. Weaker muscles can mean less bladder control and a more frequent urge to visit the bathroom.
Prolapse: a prolapse is a sagging down of organs against the pelvic floor. Some women who have prolapse describe a feeling of a lump in the vagina where an organ is sagging down. That organ may be the uterus, bladder or bowel. Prolapse strains your pelvic floor.
Less bladder elasticity: the base of your bladder can lose elasticity and have trouble stretching to accommodate your bladder as it fills. The extra pressure on the bladder during pregnancy can increase the problem. As a result, your bladder is irritated, causing an “overactive bladder” sensation that makes you feel like you have to go more frequently.
Oestrogen depletion: one in 100 women experience menopause before the age of 40. If you experience early menopause, oestrogen production by your body drops. When this happens, your body is more susceptible to incontinence because the oestrogen that helped to keep the tissues around your bladder strong and working well is no longer present.
Weight gain: pregnant and peri-menopausal women tend to naturally gain weight as a result of the changes happening in their bodies. Since your pelvic floor muscles support much of your body weight, any excess weight further strains these muscles, so they cannot support your bladder as they should. This is called stress incontinence.
What you can do
Even if you’re not suffering from a weak bladder at the moment, strengthening your pelvic muscles with exercises could help prevent it, and if you are suffering the exercises can help alleviate symptoms.
It can be tough with all those hormonal changes, but try to keep around your normal healthy weight, and guard against infections by keeping up on personal hygiene, wiping front to back and drinking fluids regularly.
Your doctor can help you find out about bladder training and surgeries to treat prolapse or other underlying conditions that can make your bladder sensitive.
Whatever happens, you can always feel confident and fresh, even when leaks happen, with the Always Discreet range of liners, pads and Always Discreet Underwear, offering amazing sensitive bladder protection.
The liners and pads have a thin, flexible design for light to moderate protection, and the underwear comes with double LeakGuards™ to help stop leaks where they happen most.
Do you suffer from a sensitive bladder? How do you cope with the daily challenges? Share your experiences in the comments box below.