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A Brief Guide to Urinary Incontinence in Women

Urinary incontinence is a common phenomena that might affect women mostly during the old age or during menopause. Though this statement is not applicable to all women, according to research and medical surveys, a huge percentage of women have complained about suffering from urinary incontinence once in their lifetime, especially during menopause.

Urinary incontinence is the inability of the body to retain urine properly and discharge small amounts of it involuntarily from the body. There are a number of treatment and preventive measures one can take while tackling the problem of urinary incontinence. Women though, have to take a number of other precautions as well, since menopause can cause further complications while treating urinary incontinence.

What is the Relation Between Urinary Incontinence and Menopause?

Bladder control problems or urinary incontinence are common for women going through their menopause. After your menstrual cycle ends, your body stops making the female hormone estrogen. We know that estrogen controls the menstrual cycle and the changes during pregnancy, but the unknown fact is that it also helps in keeping the lining of the bladder and the urethra healthy. As women age, many factors can weaken the pelvic floor muscles that are responsible for the bladder control resulting in urinary incontinence. This includes some damage that might have occurred during pregnancy, childbirth, or even if you gain weight due to menopause.

Types of Incontinence That Can Affect Women during Menopause

  • Stress Incontinence: Stress incontinence is one of the major types of incontinence that affects a women after or just before her menopause. Pressure applied on the pelvic muscles due to coughing, sneezing, or lifting can push urine through the weakened muscles. This kind of leakage is called stress incontinence. It is one of the most common kinds of bladder control problems in older women.
  • Urge Incontinence: Urge incontinence can also occur during a women is going through her menopause. It is also a very common bladder control problem. With this condition, the bladder muscles squeeze at the wrong time or all the time, and this causes leaks.
  • Painful Urination: Pain urination is another problem that a woman might face, as the bladder and urethra are no longer protected by the estrogen.
  • Nocturia: Nocturia is one of the many problems that women going through menopause face. It is referred to as the frequent involuntary or voluntary urination women might experience during the night.

Precautionary Measures to Prevent or Control Urinary Incontinence in Women

A Brief Guide to Urinary Incontinence in Women

1. Excercising

The pelvic floor muscles in your abdominal region, help you hold your urine. Urine may leak if the muscles get weak. This can happen from pregnancy, prostate surgery, or excessive weight. But we can strengthen the muscles to improve the symptoms. The exercises that strengthen these muscles are called Kegel exercises. We should get into the habit of doing them daily, about every 2 waking hours. They can stop leakage or significantly prevent it. Kegel exercises can also help if you have a sudden urge to urinate. By relaxing and contracting the muscles very quickly we can control this urge. Many times, that will remove the sensation of urgency.

A Brief Guide to Urinary Incontinence in Women

2. Schedule Trips to the Bathroom

Speaking in layman’s terms, if your bladder is empty you might not leak. Urinating before you have the urge can avoid accidental leakages. For example if you get the urge to urinate every 3 hours, go to the bathroom after every 2 ½ hours. If you visit the bathroom too often, then try to increase the amount of time between the visits. Combine this practice, called bladder training, with pelvic floor exercises for good results.

A Brief Guide to Urinary Incontinence in Women

3. Consuming Adequate Liquids

Leakage accidents are more likely to occur when your bladder is full. If you drink a lot of liquid, even water, you might feel an urgent need to urinate. Limit the amount of caffeine and alcohol, as they produce more urine. Drink 6 to 8 glasses of liquid per day. Drastically reduce the amount of liquid consumption after 4 p.m. if you experience leaks overnight. But do drink throughout the day as not drinking will still result in your body making urine, but it will be concentrated and will thus irritate the lining of your bladder. That can cause more of an urge than in the other cases.

A Brief Guide to Urinary Incontinence in Women

4. Losing Weight

Heavy or extra weight can lead to leaks because it pressurizes the bladder or the urethra, which is the tube leading from the bladder. This is mostly related to stress incontinence and leaks from coughing, laughing, sneezing, or lifting. According to research, women who are heavier tend to have more problems, and weight loss sometimes can help improve the condition.

A Brief Guide to Urinary Incontinence in Women

5. Wearable Equipment

Technology has enabled us to use devices that can be worn to prevent leakages. Placing a support in the vagina may help prevent leaks. Your doctor might fit you with a soft silicone device called a pessary. Or she might suggest you to use a tampon to reduce leaks. Doctors often recommend tampons for women who just leak when they go running. You don't want to wear a tampon all the time, but it's convenient for an activity like this. Remember that you should use no more than 2 tampons a day and change your tampon every 6 hours to prevent toxic shock syndrome.

A Brief Guide to Urinary Incontinence in Women

6. Undergarments

One can always choose from a wide range of undergarments that are made to control incontinence. These undergarments are hidden perfectly under your clothing and hence can be carried around or worn easily whenever one needs them. You can choose from types like belted undergarments, beltless undergarments, cloth like briefs, stretch style briefs, pads and liners, etc. You can also opt for protective underwear that are super absorbent and prevent leaking. All these products are sensitive to the skin. Even though these product offer proper skin care, sometimes, due to leakage or other conditions, infections or rashes can be a common phenomena. Using skin care products such as lotions, creams, and powders can help you get rid of these issues easily.

 

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