Though incontinence is a common symptom associated with several potentially avoidable diseases, including type two diabetes, some contributing factors are more inevitable. For women, menopause is one of these inevitable events that increases your risk of losing consistent control over your bladder. To learn what happens during menopause and why these effects impact urination, read through our facts about incontinence after menopause.
Menopause is an expected part of a woman’s life. It’s a time during which women stop menstruating; this typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 50. This timing isn’t exact—onset varies from person to person. The best way to know when you may go through menopause is by estimating according to when your mother experienced it.
During menopause, women no longer ovulate, meaning they are no longer able to begin the fertilization process to have a child. The early phases of menopause (during perimenopause) include irregular cycles and some hot flashes, the latter pertaining to sudden feelings of warmth around the face and neck. Leading up to your last cycle, you may experience more hot flashes, sleep irregularities, and other discomforts.
Due to this estrogen loss and other effects, women’s urination becomes more inconsistent and harder to control after menopause.
Several symptoms are connected to the lack of estrogen, a hormone that regulates women’s cycles and other facets of life. One of estrogen’s jobs is to promote the maintenance of bodily tissues, including vital muscle tissue. When your body lacks estrogen, your pelvic muscles lose strength, causing you to lose control over stopping and starting urination. Also, as your pelvic floor muscles falter, more pressure applies to your bladder from your organs and leads to stress incontinence, which includes bladder leakage when sneezing and coughing.
While hormonal changes contribute to post-menopausal weight gain, several lifestyle-related factors also play a part. As people age and experience menopause, they are experiencing muscle loss due to disuse. As their calorie-burning muscle mass lowers, their overall metabolism suffers, and they more easily gain fat and struggle to lose it. Due to weight gain, women experience more stress incontinence episodes because their weight presses on their already-weakening pelvic floor.
While menopause is inevitable for a woman, you don’t have to lose your ability to go where you’d like and your peace of mind while doing things. There are several reliable ways to manage post-menopausal incontinence symptoms and take back your life.
As your pelvic floor weakens, you can fight this muscle loss by making sure to go through your Kegel exercises, in which you practice engaging and releasing your pelvic muscles. By performing these—while you don’t guarantee that incontinence episodes will never occur or that your muscle loss reverses—you’ll prevent as much muscle loss as possible and reduce symptoms.
To combat your existing struggles immediately, consider utilizing waterproof underwear for women. Using some form of incontinence pad addresses the unpredictability of incontinence after menopause directly by preventing bladder leakage from ruining your day.