Estrogen and incontinence
Estrogen is important for maintaining a healthy bladder and urethra. Estrogen keeps the lining of bladder and urethra supple. When during menopause the level of estrogen drops it can become more difficult for some women to prevent embarrassing accidents. Not only hormonal changes can direct effect the bladder health, also stress can cause incontinence. Stress can cause the pelvic floor muscles to weaken. Women with stress can easily dribble urine when making quick movements such as lifting objects or coughing.
Luckily, incontinence is treatable and often curable. There are several measures you can take to improve bladder control:
- Pelvic floor exercises – Pelvic floor exercises help to build strength in the bladder muscles around the urethra, vagina and rectum. To do the Pelvic floor exercises you have to contract your pelvic floor muscles for a few seconds and then relax them. Try gradually to increase the time of contraction to 15 seconds.
- Training your bladder – The idea is to increase the time between urination until you are able to hold your urine for three hours or longer. After a few weeks, your bladder should hold more urine and you will need to urinate less frequently.
- Increase fluid intake – This may seem contradictory, but increasing fluid intake will dilute your urine and make it less irritating to the bladder lining. You should daily drink six glasses of water to help maintain bladder capacity.
- Medications – Your doctor can prescribe drugs which inhibit contractions of an overactive bladder or tighten muscles at the bladder neck and urethra. Hormone Replacement Theraphy can reduce incontinence put can have harmful side effects, such as an increased risk for cancers of the breast and endometrium.
- Dietary changes – You should limit the intake of salt and caffeine (coffee, tea and coke) and eat a balanced diet that is high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.