This Article is About
incontinence
natural diuretic
estrogen levels
internal organs
pelvic area
muscle tone
muscle groups
culprit
blood flow
Incontinence And Menopause
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Incontinence And Menopause

It's happened to ALL of us. We laughed, or sneezed, or coughed, and leaked urine at the same time. Incontinence can be a very embarrassing problem for women to deal with. Do you find that you are avoiding situations for fear of not being near a bathroom? Is your sleep interrupted frequently through the night? If incontinence is, indeed, the culprit, I hope you will be encouraged to know that there are several treatment options available.

But first, what exactly is incontinence?

Incontinence is referred to as 'involuntary' loss of urine from the body. It takes many different forms, too. Some woman may leak...some may rush out....others have a constant feeling of fullness and the urge to continually urinate. Surprising as it might seem, 40% of menopausal women will suffer with incontinence. So, why does incontinence strike 40% of menopausal women? One of the reasons is thought to be the decreased production of our dear friend, estrogen. Estrogen has many important functions and one of them is related to muscle tone. As estrogen levels decrease our muscle tone decreases, too. This doesn't just hold true to the big muscle groups we are familiar with, but also to muscles that support our internal organs. There are a myriad of muscles that support the pelvic bowl.

In addition to muscle tone decreasing, it is thought that blood flow decreases to the pelvic area. The incontinence problems tend to be more problematic for women who were pregnant and delivered their children naturally. It just seems that the muscles of the pelvic bowl are not strong enough to hold the opening of your bladder in the closed position.

So now that we know why the problem occurs, what can we do about it?

The good news is that there are several self-help treatments available. Most of them will offer great results with continued vigilence. The first, and easiest suggestion would be dietary changes.

Caffeine is a natural diuretic, so it would stand to reason that decreasing your caffeine intake would greatly reduce your incontinence symptoms. It is also very beneficial to increase your intake of organic vegetables and fruits for improved organ function. An inflammed bladder caused by a high-acid diet (processed foods, etc) is more likely to have incontinence issues than a bladder that is fed a high-alkaline diet rich in vegetables and fruits. There are also stress-building exercises you can perform to strengthen the muscles of your pelvic bowl.

One is called bladder retraining. In this exercise, when the urge to urinate occurs, hold it for five minutes and then empty your bladder. Each day you will want to increase your water intake and increase the number of minutes you hold your urine before emptying your bladder. The goal will be to hold your urine for 10-15 minutes before urinating. In time, this will strengthen your bladder and the urge to urinate will occur only when the bladder is very full. When doing bladder retraining, it is very important to be drinking a minimum of 8 glasses of pure, clean, filtered water daily. Drinking sodas, fruit juices and other sugared beverages increase the risk of bladder infections.

Kegel's are another exercise you can perform that has great success in strengthening the bladder. There are two ways to perform Kegel's. First, lay flat on the floor (or bed) with your legs slightly apart and your feet flat on the ground (your knees will be bent) Contract the muscles of the pelvic bowl, like you are trying to stop a stream of urine. Hold for a second or two. 3 sets of 15 per day is recommended. When you become a pro doing these exercises laying down, try them in the seated position. You should clearly feel the muscles of the pelvic bowl lift and contract when you do these exercises. You can try stopping your stream of urine so that you can feel what muscles are involved. Again, the goal is to do 3 sets of 15 per day. With vigilence, your incontinence will be greatly improved. If, however, with dietary changes and exercises, the problem is still impacting your quality of life , please consult your gynecologist for other options.

A minimally-invasive procedure that might work well for you would be a pessary. A pessary looks like a little umbrella and holds your bladder off the pelvic floor. There are other procedures, too, that your gynocologist can discuss with you.

Please know that you are not alone and that remedies are available to help you with this symptom of menopause.


Street Talk

Thanks for the good info...Dr. Becky. It's not happening yet but I need to prevent to happen. Drinking green juice everyday really helps a lot ,too.

Reply
  about 8 years ago
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