Menopause and Incontinence: What You Should Know
20 April 2023
Menopause is a natural phase in a woman's life that marks the end of her reproductive years. It is a time when our bodies undergo hormonal changes, including a decrease in oestrogen levels, which can effect woman's health.
One common issue that many women experience during menopause is incontinence, or the involuntary loss of urine. In this blog post, we will look at the link between menopause and bladder weakness. Why does it happen, what are the common symptoms, and how can it be managed.
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Can Menopause Cause Incontinence?
Yes, urine leaks can be a symptom of menopause. Oestrogen levels decrease during menopause. This can affect the pelvic floor muscles. These muscles provide support for the bladder and urethra. Postmenopausal women may find muscles become weaker, leading to problems with bladder control.
Why Does Menopause Cause Incontinence?
The decrease in oestrogen levels during menopause can have an impact on the pelvic floor muscles. Estrogen levels are important for maintaining the health and strength of these muscles, and its decline can lead to their weakening. As a result, the pelvic floor muscles may not be able to effectively support the bladder and urethra.
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Menopause Incontinence Symptoms
The types of urinary incontinence and most common symptoms of bladder weakness during menopause may include:
- Overflow incontinence - Pee leaks when coughing, laughing, sneezing, or lifting.
- Urge incontinence - Frequent and sudden urges to urinate.
- Difficulty holding urine for long periods of time.
- Needing to use the toilet more frequently, including during the night.
- The feeling of a constant urgency to urinate.
How to Manage Incontinence During Menopause
If you are experiencing incontinence during menopause, there are several strategies you can try to manage it effectively. Here are some suggestions:
- Pelvic floor exercises: Also known as Kegel exercises, can help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which may help improve bladder control. You can learn how to do these exercises from a nurse or a physio specialising in pelvic floor health. Secret whispers pelvic floor trainer can be a really useful tool.
- Wear incontinence protection: Using reusable incontinence pads or washable pants can help manage leaks and provide peace of mind. There are various types and styles available that are discreet and comfortable. Opting for reusable products such as reusable knickers and pads can help reduce costs. You won't run out, and they are much more gentle on sensitive skin.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol: Both can irritate the bladder, leading to more frequent urination and a higher chance of leaks. Limiting or avoiding these substances may help reduce symptoms.
- Bladder training: Gradually extending the time between bathroom breaks can help retrain the bladder to hold urine for longer periods. This can improve bladder control and reduce the frequency of urgent urination.
- Seek medical advice: If you are experiencing incontinence during menopause, it's important to talk to a Doctor. Your GP can assess the intensity of your symptoms. They can identify the source of the problem and suggest the best treatment plan for you.
Incontinence can be a common symptom experienced during menopause due to hormonal changes that affect the pelvic floor muscles. However, there are strategies that can help manage incontinence effectively. Pelvic floor exercises, using incontinence protection, avoiding bladder irritants, bladder training, and seeking medical advice can all help. Remember that you are not alone, and it's important to talk to someone for individual guidance on managing incontinence during menopause.
"I went through an early menopause at 33, so don't need the pants and pads for periods anymore. I've bought various products over this past year and have found everything fantastic, both for the description and other ways to use them.
The period and pee pants saved my clothes and carpets last week as I wanted to watch the end of a film before I went toilet. Obviously I'd left it a little late and as I hobbled up the stairs the floodgates open and by the time I got there, I'd emptied most of my bladder lol.
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As always, if you're unsure of what you need to make the switch to reusable sanitary products and period pads, please do drop the team a line or use the online chat function. The team all use the products themselves and just LOVE to chat pee poo and periods, all day long, nothing is TMI and we all love to overshare based on our own experiences...
About the Author: Kirstin Scriven is part of the Customer Experience team at Cheeky Wipes, which since 2008 has been selling the original reusable wipes kit. She is mum to 3 and loves the forest, the sea and the hills!
Along with the rest of our crack team, she spends most days talking about poo, pee and periods and loves a chance to overshare. The business was recognised with a Queens Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development in 2021, celebrating their hard work over the last 13 years.