Nope, it’s not your imagination — it’s your pelvis. Just as vaginal tissue can become drier, less elastic, and weaker as estrogen bottoms out with menopause, the urethra may go through similar changes that could interfere with its capacity to control urine flow. Plus, pelvic muscles that support the bladder and urinary tract—muscles that also help control the need to urinate—can also weaken. The official, super-sexy name for this: urogenital atrophy. Along with more bathroom breaks, don’t be surprised if you also experience some incontinence—68 percent of women in midlife do. That can mean leaking a little urine when you cough, sneeze or laugh (hel-lo buzzkill) or occasionally feeling a sudden, cross-your-legs-and-race-to-the-toilet urge to go…and even leaking a bit before you make it. Yet 40 percent of women don’t seek help from their doctor. That’s a shame, because effective treatment options exist, including pelvic floor physical therapy. The good news: In one study, PT reduced the number of leakage episodes in postmenopausal women by a healthy 75 percent.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2018, Dec) The Menopause Years: FAQ. Retrieved from https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/The-Menopause-Years
Baylor College of Medicine Research, Center for Research on Women with Disabilities. Menopause. Retrieved from https://www.bcm.edu/research/centers/research-on-women-with-disabilities/topics/sexuality-and-reproductive-health/menopause
Sran, M. et al. “Physical therapy for urinary incontinence in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis or low bone density: a randomized controlled trial.” Menopause. 2016 Mar;23(3):286-93.
Waetjen, L. Elaine et al. “Factors associated with reasons incontinent mid-life women report for not seeking urinary incontinence treatment over 9 years across the menopause transition.” Menopause. 2018 Jan; 25(1): 29–37.
Waetjen, Elaine L. “Factors associated with seeking treatment for urinary incontinence during the menopause transition.” Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2015 May; 125(5): 1071–1079.
Mayo Clinic, Women’s Health. (2016, Apr 21) Menopause weight gain: Stop the middle age spread. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/menopause-weight-gain/art-20046058
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