During menopause, falling estrogen levels contribute to hallmark symptoms such as hot flashes and mood swings, but a symptom set that many women may feel unprepared for are urinary and bladder changes.
Similar to other commonly experienced menopause symptoms, like vaginal dryness or shifts in vaginal pH, changes in urinary habits during this transitional period can be influenced by volatile and declining estrogen levels.
In this quick video featuring Bonafide Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Alyssa Dweck, learn more about what urinary changes may occur in menopause and how to better support your bladder health during this time.
I'm Dr. Alyssa Dweck, OBGYN in New York and Chief Medical Officer at Bonafide. One of the most common and also the most distressing concerns I hear from my patients in my office day to day revolves around urinary complaints, especially as they relate to the menopausal time of life.
Common Urinary Changes During Menopause
The most common concerns include frequency, the need to go to the bathroom all the time, urgency, that sudden feeling that you had better get to the bathroom or you're not going to make it, and even the occasional leakage of urine.
What’s Causing These Urinary Symptoms During Menopause?
What's really behind the symptoms of overactive bladder? Well, in part, this is due to diminished estrogen levels experienced during menopause. The vulvovaginal tissues, or the tissues surrounding the urethra, and even the bladder, are very sensitive to estrogen. And with diminished levels of this hormone in the body, certain urinary symptoms mentioned here, may occur.
Also, there may be some association [of urinary symptoms] with family history, with diet and lifestyle, and also, with prior childbirth. These are symptoms that are separate from your standard urinary tract infection, but they still can be quite distressing.
How to Manage Urinary Changes During Menopause
So, what can one do about this? Well, first, modify your diet and perhaps eliminate or limit amounts of caffeine, hydration and even alcohol consumption, which might cause bladder symptoms. Number two, maintain [a healthy] weight. Number three, consider Kegel exercises or even seeing a pelvic floor physical therapist for help with this. And then finally, moisturize the vagina. Because a vaginal moisturizer can really provide the tissue with a more elastic resilient and less tendency toward injury and help to prevent and manage these symptoms.