Menopause and Bladder Control Management
What Can You Expect at the Doctor’s Office?
Your family doctor or OB/GYN may be able to help you find out what's going on. Or she may refer you to a urologist -- a doctor who specializes in urinary tract problems, or a urogynecologist -- a specialist in pelvic floor disorders.
You'll get a pelvic exam, and a test to see if there's an infection. If so, treating the infection may help your incontinence problems.
Your doctor may want to check your bladder and pelvic floor. The tests you may have include:
Physical urine stress test. Your bladder is filled with water, then you're asked to stand up and cough, or to walk to see if any urine leaks.
Bladder ultrasound. This painless imaging test lets a doctor see how fully your bladder empties.
Cystoscopy. This test looks inside your bladder. You'll be given anesthesia so you won't have any pain. After it takes effect, a doctor slides a long, thin, lighted tube with a lens into your urethra.
Urodynamic testing. This can check how well your bladder stores and releases urine. You'll be asked to empty your bladder, and then a thin tube will be inserted through your urethra into your bladder to check for any remaining urine.
What Can You Do?
That depends on the type of incontinence you have, but small changes may help you regain control of your bladder.
Tighten your pelvic floor.
Kegel exercises involve repeatedly tightening and releasing your pelvic floor muscles for a few seconds. You can get the idea of how to do them by stopping your urine, but don’t do that routinely. If you block the flow of pee, it might lead to an infection. Aim to do three sets of 10 Kegels each day.
Watch what you drink. Coffee, tea, soda, and alcoholic drinks may cause your bladder to fill quickly, then leak.
Limit liquids later in the day. If you usually wake at night needing to go, cut back on the amount of fluids you drink during the evening.
Keep a healthy weight. Extra pounds put more pressure on your bladder.
Time your bathroom trips. If you make bathroom breaks on a set schedule -- for instance, every hour -- it can help you regain control of your bladder muscles. Once you see improvement, try slowly extending the time you head to the toilet.