Pelvic floor and bladder control issues may affect any woman in her life, but it becomes more common as she gets older. Bladder control issues arise due to hormonal changes that impair pelvic muscle strength. Urinary incontinence is quite common among pregnant women delivering or going through menopause.
It may become more difficult to control your bladder as you approach menopause. This is a frequently reported problem that might be caused by changes in your body. At this point, you begin the sudden urge to visit the bathroom more often and start passing drops of urine when you sneeze or cough.
Menopause Weakens the Bladder
At this point in your life, your ovaries cease producing estrogen. Women need the hormone; it kicks in during puberty to control the menstrual cycle and help them become pregnant. When it’s gone, your body may relax and in the process affect the abdominal muscles making the pelvic floor muscles less effective. In some instances, the bladder’s position may shift slightly.
Hot flushes, nocturnal sweats, and mood swings are symptoms of this life transition. However, some women may have bladder control problems as a result of other changes, including:
Weak Pelvic Floor Muscles
Like all other muscles in the body, the pelvic floor muscles weaken as menopause approaches. Because these muscles prevent the loss of urine and feces, any weakening might lead to an increased need to go to the bathroom and a reduced capacity to hold on for longer hours. Weak pelvic floor muscles may make controlling wind or gas more difficult and contribute to prolapse.
Oestrogen deficiency causes vaginal dryness because the vaginal membrane generates less mucus when the hormone is missing. Similar alterations may be seen in the urethra because regular intestinal bacteria might enter the urethra due to this dryness. You are more likely to acquire a urinary tract infection. Vaginal dryness may be treated with estrogen ointment or an estrogenic contraceptive sponge.
Weak Elastic Bladder
The bladder grows less elastic and stiffer to expand as women age. This decrease in flexibility may aggravate the bladder muscle, prompting it to be ‘overactive’ when the bladder is full. You will pass pee more often if you have an ‘overactive’ bladder. Combined with weakened pelvic floor muscles, it becomes considerably more challenging to hold on or delay going to the bathroom.
Menopause causes most women to gain weight. The pelvic floor muscles bear the majority of your body weight. Any extra weight puts additional tension on these muscles, weakening them in due course. When the pelvic floor muscles weaken, the bladder and bowel are not supported as well as they should be. You may begin to notice urine leakage when you sneeze or cough or may feel the need to use the bathroom more often and urgently.
How to Strengthen the Pelvic Floor Muscles to Gain Bladder Control
You may improve your pelvic floor muscles at any moment by doing ‘Kegel Exercises,’ which are simple and discrete. Contract your muscles for roughly 10 seconds as if you were holding in your pee, relax, and repeat this exercise many times a day.
The primary cause of urogenital atrophy is a lack of estrogen, and the most preferred treatment is hormone therapy (HT) for postmenopausal women. This treatment may help restore premenopausal vaginal health and alleviate numerous urogenital atrophy symptoms. The common urinary symptoms relieved by systemic HT include nocturia, frequency, urgency, and pain during urination. This treatment is administered orally and affects the entire body its efficacy is still debated among specialists.
Another treatment method is applying local estrogen to relieve symptoms of urine frequency, urgency, and stress incontinence. The external application of this hormone may prevent urogenital atrophy and prevent the recurrence of any UTIs.
Another common treatment for symptoms of vagina atrophy is the replacement of vaginal estrogen, administering tablets, and using creams and vaginal rings. However, it is imperative to note that not all women should receive hormone therapy for any menopausal urinary symptoms. Women with breast cancer, for instance, cannot receive HT. Such women are encouraged to use vaginal lubricants and normal moisturizers to ease dryness before intercourse.
Doctors and specialists prefer lifestyle changes and different medical procedures to avoid the common side effects of hormonal treatments. Some of these alternative treatments and wellness directions include: