During the menopause, many of us are just a giggle away from disaster.
1 in 3 women will have issues with their pelvic floor but just like the menopause, bladder problems are still a taboo subject. I’m grateful that I’ve not (yet) had problems with my bladder but for many women I speak to, this is a daily issue.
What causes Bladder Problems?
Bladder problems tend to be caused by pelvic muscles weakened by declining levels of estrogen. This means that you might need to wee more often than normal, it might be painful to wee or you might experience leaking e.g when sneezing or coughing. During both perimenopauseand the menopause, pelvic muscles can become thinner and weaker.
My Top Tips
Build pelvic strength.
You may not have had to work on your pelvic muscles in the past, but just like any other muscle in the body, there are plenty of exercises you can do to strengthen them. These are often referred to as “kegel exercises” and there is a lot of exercise equipment out there made specifically to strengthen your pelvic muscles.
Drink water during the day, less at night.
If you’re peeing a lot you might think it better to avoid drinking lots of water. But this problem should never stop you from keeping hydrated. That said, if you do suffer from bladder problems, it’s best to avoid drinking lots of fluids late at night.
Try to maintain a healthy weight.
Regular exercise and a healthy diet are two of the most useful remedies for most menopausal symptoms – including this one. Extra weight puts more pressure on your bladder and so keeping a healthy weight can help keep bladder problems at bay.
Time your loo breaks.
Regain control of your bladder muscles! By scheduling your loo breaks, for example going every hour or every hour and a half, you can better control your muscles and get them used to a particular timetable. Once you’ve adjusted your muscle memory, start extending the time (add on an extra hour between breaks). This way, you can train your muscles to stay resistant for longer lengths.
It might take time for your body and muscles to strengthen up, and if you’re not quite there yet, there’s no need to add on extra stress of leaking at the wrong time. Keep your clothes protected by using incontinence pads, which (just like menstrual pads for your period) absorb any leakage.
Check for other symptoms.
If you suffer from bladder problems, it’s possible you are more at risk of developing bladder infections, like Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs).In fact, bladder infections become more common during and after the menopause. This is because the thinning of your bladder walls and urethra makes it easier for bacterial to break in and grow. The first sign of a bladder infection is pressure on the bladder when you don’t need to pee, and can be followed by painful wee or pain/pressure in your lower back or abdomen. If you feel you may have an infection, speak to your GP as soon as possible.
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