It can mean worrying about leaks when you cough, sneeze, laugh, exercise, or - for a quarter of women with incontinence – even when you have sex.
Wet Wet Wet sang about a “Sweet Little Mystery”. But urinary incontinence (UI) is neither sweet nor mysterious, rather a distressing experience affecting as many as 30 to 50 per cent of women at the onset of menopause.
Oestrogen helps to keep the bladder and urethra (the tube that passes urine from the bladder out of the body) healthy and functioning properly. Nearing menopause, your oestrogen levels begin to drop causing pelvic muscle weakness and thinning of the urethra. UI symptoms increase as oestrogen levels continue to fall.
Caused by weak pelvic floor muscles stress incontinence – leaking urine when you laugh, cough or sneeze - is more common in perimenopause. Other types of incontinence include urge, when an overactive bladder means urine leeks as you feel a sudden intense need for the loo, and overflow incontinence when you can’t fully empty your bladder so it fills up again and overflows. Some women have both stress and urge incontinence.
And the good news is….
In 85% of cases, weakness can be improved by exercise, you’ve nothing to lose by trying out our simple self-help solutions but plenty to gain!
The best ways that may help control menopause incontinence
Changes to your diet, doing pelvic floor exercises and maintaining a good level of fitness, could help you to improve bladder issues. Otherwise, medical options are available.