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Incontinence & Overactive Bladder Health Center

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Menopause and Bladder Control Management

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As you go through menopause, it may become harder to control your bladder. That's a common issue. Changes in your body can cause it.

Here's what you can do to take charge of the problem.

Incontinence (OAB) Types and Concerns

Urinary incontinence affects about 12 million Americans -- more women than men. It happens when you lose urine by accident.

Other Types of Incontinence

Slideshow: Urinary Incontinence in Women

Urinary incontinence, or loss of bladder control, is a frustrating problem for more than 13 million Americans. View the slideshow.

Why Does Menopause Make Your Bladder Weaker?

Your ovaries stop making estrogen during this time in your life. That hormone is essential to women as it kicks in for puberty, as it controls your menstrual cycle, and during pregnancy. When it’s gone, your body gets to have a break from working so hard at all these stages.  

You may know this life shift comes with hot flashes, night sweats, and mood changes. But some other changes can lead to bladder control issues for some women.

  • Your vaginal tissue become less elastic.
  • The lining of your urethra, the tube that empties urine from your bladder, begins to thin.
  • Your pelvic floor, the group of muscles that supports both your urethra and bladder, weakens.

What Bladder Issue Do You Have?

The most common ones women face during and after menopause are:

Stress incontinence. You might lose a few drops of urine when you’re coughing, sneezing, or laughing. Or you might notice leaking when you’re lifting something heavy or doing something that puts pressure on your bladder.

Urge incontinence. The need to pee comes on fast and unexpectedly. You might not make it to a bathroom in time. This is sometimes called an “irritable” or “overactive” bladder.

Nocturia. Some women wake up several times in the middle of the night with an urge to pee.

Painful urination. After menopause, women are more likely to have urinary tract infections (UTIs). They can give you a burning sensation while peeing.

What Else Can Cause Leakage?

Menopause isn’t always the reason why your bladder is acting up. Your muscles may have naturally weakened due to age. Or you might have had injuries as a result of giving birth to a child, or several children.

Condition like diabetes or multiple sclerosis can cause nerve damage, which in turn can also cause bladder problems.

Think about any medicines you take, too. Some antidepressants and pain meds can keep your bladder from emptying. Your doctor may be able to change your dose or prescription.

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