Menopause announces its presence through a sizable list of hormonal and possible physical changes for a woman.
“This time of transition can lead to incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, as well as vaginal dryness, irregular bleeding, hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, mood changes and slowed metabolism,” says McLeod Gynecologist Melissa Brooks. “The good news is that many of these issues will improve with treatment. The most frequent complaints involve a drop in estrogen. A number of treatments, including hormone replacement therapy (HRT), can help control these symptoms.”
Stress incontinence — the loss of urine when coughing, laughing, sneezing or during physical activity – is the second most common complaint. Your pelvic muscles hold the urine in the bladder, much like using two fingers to pinch a balloon with to keep the air in. If your pelvic muscles that control the bladder opening weaken, urine can leak out.
Before you see a Gynecologist about your problem, keep a bladder diary for a week or so. Meanwhile, there are a number of actions you can take to reduce the problem of stress incontinence:
Another issue menopause age women face is Pelvic Organ Prolapse. The muscles fail to support the bladder or uterus, which fall into the area where the vagina is located. In addition to menopause, other conditions that can cause or worsen prolapse include multiple births, large babies, obesity, high impact activities and frequent heavy lifting.
As in the case of stress incontinence, Kegels exercise can help. Devices called Pessaries can also be used to hold the organs in place.
Occasionally, with both stress incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse there are surgical treatments (many of then outpatient procedures) that can result in a major improvement in your condition.
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE
See a Gynecologist, who can perform a few simple in-office tests to determine the extent of your hormonal, incontinence or prolapse problem. Together you can discuss the risks, side effects and most appropriate treatment plan for you.