Bladder Incontinence and Your Period: What’s The Connection?
12 June 2023
Bladder incontinence is an issue many women might find themselves facing at some point in their lives. It causes upset and worry and requires having constant supplies on hand to protect your clothes and save embarrassment.
Wearing protection every day, "just in case," is expensive. It can also lead to soreness if plastic-covered, single-use bladder control pads are used. Urine leaks can worsen in the week before and during your period.
Yes, that's right, your monthly visitor might be related to those unexpected leaks. Let's explore the connection between bladder incontinence and your period.
What Is Bladder Incontinence During Period?
Bladder incontinence refers to the involuntary loss of urine. It can range from a few drops to more substantial leakage. People can feel isolated and ashamed. It is important to understand that bladder weakness affects 40-50% of adult women so sufferers are far from alone. During menstruation, the levels of estrogen in your body tend to decrease.
Some women may experience bladder incontinence during their period due to this hormonal shift. It can weaken the pelvic floor muscles, which are responsible for supporting your bladder and controlling urine flow.
Sneezing, jumping or coughing- even going for a walk - can cause unexpected leaks. This can ruin your day, especially if you are out and can't immediately change clothes. It can be embarrassing and uncomfortable.
However, understanding the connection between low oestrogen levels and weakened pelvic floor muscles can help you tackle the issue head-on. Track your cycle to know when you are likely to come on your period. Wear period pants to catch any accidental urine leaks . This can relieve the stress of wasting single use products if you wear them just in case.
Apart from hormonal changes during your period, it's worth noting that other factors can contribute to urinary incontinence as well. Age, pregnancy, childbirth, obesity, menopausal symptoms, and certain medical conditions can all play a role in weakening the pelvic floor muscles.
So, if you're experiencing bladder incontinence, it's essential to consider these factors alongside your menstrual cycle.
Book an appointment with your GP. This is a very common issue for women, so there's no need to be ashamed. They can provide bespoke advice and recommend appropriate treatment options to help you manage your symptoms effectively. Severe bladder incontinence can be investigated too.
"I love the cheeky pants, my fave are the lace trim, perfect for a leaky bladder when running or during your time of the month. They offer excellent protection, look pretty and they’re not so bulky as to leave a VPL. Perfect!" EA July '22 trustpilot
Can Period Pants Be Used for Incontinence?
Do you experience mild incontinence before and during your period? If so, you may be wondering if reusable period pants can protect against leaks. Well, the good news is that yes, period pants can be used for incontinence.
Washable period pants are specifically designed to absorb menstrual blood, but they can also absorb mild to moderate urine leaks. Reusable menstrual underwear are made with layers of absorbent fabric and a waterproof outer layer. This helps to prevent leaks and keep you feeling dry and comfortable.
If you're experiencing mild bladder incontinence during your period, period undies can be a convenient and discreet solution for incontinence protection. They may not cope with a full bladder release.
"Black boxer shorts for either periods or bladder trouble: soft, silky fabric, very absorbent, extremely comfortable to wear, thoroughly recommended. The padding runs right round to the back waistband, so great for overnight wearing. The only downside is you need a good few pairs, as they have to be dried gently, no tumble drying, but there is a special offer on, 5 pairs for £50, which is a bargain!" Susan, May '23 trustpilot
Can You Use Period Pads for Incontinence?
Yes, reusable period pads can be used for mild to moderate incontinence and bladder leaks. Period pads are designed to absorb menstrual blood so have layers of fabric with a waterproof backing. They are easy to change when out and about. They will not manage a large flood of urine all at once so opt for these if your leaks are small.
Washable incontinence pads come in increasing sizes to deal with leaks and have charcoal impregnation to help with odours. These are a great option if you want to avoid single use products.
"I really like cheeky wipe products. Their washable / reusable pads are much comfier than the perfumed plasticky disposables that irritate my skin and they work just as well. And the initial higher cost outlay pays for itself surprisingly quickly" May '23 trustpilot
We hope this information has been helpful and shed some light on this taboo topic. Remember, you're not alone in dealing with these issues, and there are solutions out there to make your life easier. Stay confident, stay comfortable, and keep rocking those period pants (and incontinence products, if needed)
If you found this blog useful you may like -
Menopause and incontinence: What you should know
How mindfulness can help an overactive bladder
Incontinence pads v's pants: All you need to know
When to change your incontinence pads and pants
Best incontinence pads for sensitive skin
Can you use incontinence pants for periods?
You can browse all our blogs here. If you want to know more about making the switch to reusable pee and period pants/pads, please contact the team. You can drop them a line or use the online chat. The team all use the products themselves and nothing is too much information. We all love to overshare based on our own experiences.
About the Author: Kirstin is mum to three and loves living by the sea. She is part of the Customer service team at Cheeky Wipes, and spends most days talking about poo, pee and periods. The business was honoured with a Queens Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development in 2021. This award celebrated their hard work over the last 13 years.