Menopause is notorious for causing hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings, but there’s another issue with which menopausal women struggle: bladder control. Though it isn’t as easy to openly discuss bladder control problems, it doesn’t make the condition any less frustrating. Bladder control issues are common, and it’s something our experts at Serrano OBGyn can help you overcome.
If you’re struggling with bladder control problems or other symptoms of menopause (e.g. hot flashes, vaginal dryness, or irritability), we can help you balance your hormones with lifestyle changes and BioTE® pellet therapy.
In the meantime, Dr. Christopher Serrano has created this blog to shed light on common bladder control issues.
What are the types of bladder control problems?
Bladder control issues refer to any condition that impacts a person’s ability to release (or hold) urine. This accidental leaking is called urinary incontinence, and it can affect men as well as pregnant women and menopausal women.
Bladder control problems can negatively affect your quality of life. For instance, if you leak urine while laughing, coughing, or running, you might be inclined to skip out on exercising or joining in social events. This can also create embarrassing situations at work.
There are five different types of bladder control problems.
1. Stress incontinence
If you find that any sudden movement – laughing, sneezing, or coughing – causes a leak, you may be dealing with stress incontinence. Exercises, including jumping, running, or doing sit-ups, can also cause leaks. Stress incontinence is defined as an accidental urine leak caused by pressure on the bladder.
Stress incontinence doesn’t just impact women going through menopause. Pregnant women may struggle with stress incontinence, particularly near the end of pregnancy, when the weight of the growing uterus continues to press on the bladder.
2. Urgency incontinence
Though stress incontinence causes leaks (even if you don’t feel like you need to go), urgency incontinence is a bladder control problem characterized by a strong and sudden urge to urinate. If you have trouble getting to the toilet in time, you might be dealing with urgency incontinence, which is often called overactive bladder.
Hormonal fluctuations (such as during menopause) can contribute to overactive bladder, according to the experts at Mayo Clinic.
3. Reflex incontinence
If you leak without pressure (from laughing or coughing) and without the urge to urinate, you might have reflex incontinence. This type of incontinence occurs more often if your bladder nerves are damaged.
4. Overflow incontinence
Overflow incontinence is another common bladder control bladder. In this case, incontinence develops when the bladder doesn’t empty all the way. Because of this, your bladder becomes too full, leading to leaks.
According to WebMD, some antidepressants can prevent your bladder from emptying fully.
5. Functional incontinence
Functional incontinence refers to bladder control issues caused by an external factor. This includes physical disabilities as well as physical barriers. For example, if you have arthritis and struggle with the button on your pants, the incontinence isn’t caused by a bladder problem.
What type of incontinence do you have?
When you come to Serrano OBGyn, we’ll first determine what’s causing your bladder control issue. Dr. Serrano uses this information to develop the appropriate treatment plan for you.
In the meantime, the National Health Service offers these tips to reduce leaks:
- Practice Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles
- Stop smoking
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Drink plenty of water (avoiding water won’t treat incontinence)
You might also benefit from wearing a sanitary pad liner.
You aren’t alone
Bladder management problems can lead to embarrassing situations, but it’s important to remember that you aren’t alone. We’re here to help support you on your journey through menopause. Whether you’ve been struggling with bladder management for months, or you’re just starting to see the signs, we can help. Book an appointment at our San Antonio office today.