Bladder Weakness During Menopause: Bladder weakness or urinary incontinence is not uncommon during menopause. However, incontinence can be quite uncomfortable and stressful for those affected.
An overactive bladder, frequent urination, and loss of urine are typical symptoms of a urinary tract infection. But they also occur with a weak bladder.
Even if the name suggests it: The bladder itself is not weak and therefore the cause of a strong urge to urinate and the unintentional, sudden discharge of large amounts of urine. One therefore correctly speaks of urinary incontinence. The most common forms are stress incontinence, urge incontinence, and a mixture of both.
Every third woman suffers from bladder weakness at least once in her life, young women as well as older ones, with around 40 percent of women over 60 years of age suffering from urinary incontinence, often in connection with menopause. We reveal the causes and treatment options.
Possible Causes of Bladder Weakness During Menopause:
Stress Incontinence: During menopause, stress incontinence is the leading cause of bladder weakness. It is mostly related to a weakening of the muscles and ligaments of the pelvic floor that support the bladder sphincter. If this is filled with urine, a signal is sent to the brain that it may allow the muscles to relax – but only when we are ready to urinate.
However, if there is an unintentional loss of urine , it is either due to an error in the signal transmission or – hence the word “stress” in the name – to physical exertion and stress in the abdomen. Laughing, sneezing, coughing, lifting heavy objects and, in women, pregnancy and childbirth can all trigger . In severe cases of urinary incontinence, any physical activity leads to unwanted leakage of urine (urge incontinence).
With age, the ligaments and muscles of the pelvic floor become more and more unstable. That makes him more prone to stress incontinence. During the menopause, however, hormones are often a cause of a weak bladder and the resulting incontinence. This is because during this phase a woman’s hormone levels are exposed to fluctuations that can have unexpected effects on the body. The drop in the estrogen level is most noticeable.
Estrogen is important for urethral and bladder health. A sharp drop in estrogen levels in affected women can therefore cause the muscles of the pelvic floor to weaken on their own. If there is physical strain, it can happen that those affected cannot prevent urination.
It can also increase the likelihood of urinary tract infections, which are also the main symptom of a constant urge to urinate. Estrogen ensures that urinary tract tissues remain strong and are better able to fight bacteria. When estrogen levels drop, you also become more prone to infection.
Pelvic Floor Exercises Can Help:
If you have a weak bladder or incontinence due to pregnancy, it is important to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. There is a special pelvic floor training program (also called “Kegel exercises”) for women. It is effective and discreet and should be done several times a day . It is important that you realize which muscles you are trying to exercise. If you can break the stream of urine while urinating, you’ve found the right muscles.
However, you should not interrupt the urine stream too often, as this weakens the muscles in the long term. Instead, once you know which muscles to work with, try relaxing and contracting them with an empty bladder. The following exercises are also recommended for people with only slight incontinence:
Exercises For the Pelvic Floor During Menopause:
- It is best to lie on your back or sit on a chair. Then let go of the pelvic floor muscles and quickly tense them up again. Repeat this exercise ten times.
- This should take you about ten seconds.
- Do the same exercise a little slower so that it takes you fifty seconds.
- Try to do these exercises three to four times a day.
In addition, your diet can have an impact on your symptoms. Caffeine is notorious for aggravating incontinence because it acts as a diuretic.
Furthermore, artificial sweeteners can lead to an increased urge to urinate. Instead, you should aim for a healthy body weight as this will reduce the pressure on your pelvic floor muscles. A healthy diet also ensures a balanced water balance in the body.
Are There any Herbal Medicines That Can Help Me?
There are herbal medicines that women can use with pelvic floor exercises that can help with a weak bladder. Bearberry leaves, for example, have antiseptic properties and effectively promote a healthy urinary system.
Menopausal women should remember that general treatment of the undesirable side effects of menopause can also provide relief from menopausal incontinence. Soy isoflavones mimic the effects of estrogen in the body, reducing symptoms associated with menopause.
What About Conservative Therapy?
If you are concerned about your health or if it is affecting your daily life, you should speak to your doctor. If home remedies and herbal medicines don’t work for you, your doctor may recommend certain prescription drugs.
If your incontinence is very severe, your doctor may suggest different surgical options. In any case, however, he will discuss with you which form of treatment is best for you and your complaints.