If you are a woman who has gone through menopause, and start to experience bladder leakage, know, that it is common. In fact, one study showed that over 50% of women, aged 65 and older have experienced some type of bladder leakage. This bladder leakage can vary from leaking a few drops to full bladder. It can be leakage when you cough, laugh or sneeze, medically called “stress urinary incontinence”. It can also come from not being able to make it to the bathroom in time when you feel an urge, called “urge incontinence”.
We want to emphasize that bladder leakage may be common in the older population, but should not be considered normal, it is a sign of dysfunction, and there is something that you can do about it. Incontinence is one of the leading factors that can lead someone to end up in a nursing home. With increased leakage, family members feel they can no longer help take care of them and it is one of the main reasons for admissions into nursing homes.
Bladder leakage for women is more common during the post-menopausal years, this is becuase women produce less estrogen, a hormone in your body, that helps keep the tissue in the pelvic floor area healthy and able to function optimally. It allows for the pelvic floor tissue and muscles to do their job of closing off the urethra, where urine comes out, and prevent bladder leakage. Even women that have good muscle strength in their pelvic floor, once the pelvic floor tissue starts to thin and become more dry, leakage starts to happen.
Women that have given birth, the body is able to make up for the fact that the pelvic floor muscles may not be as strong, because the tissue is able to assist however with menopause, the loss of estrogen doesn’t allow the body to compensate as much.
Since bladder leakage is more common in the aging population, it may seem like there is nothing that you can do except wear diapers, but that is so far from the truth. Incontinence can be treated. You don’t have to go down the route of medications or surgery, there are often things that you can do to train your own body to prevent or get rid of bladder leakage if you are experiencing it.
At Legacy, we work with women of all different ages, all day long, who are dealing with bladder leakage and we are able to get them dry and active again without the use of medications or surgery. We want to empower women to take control of their bladder versus their bladder being in control of them.
If you are a woman going through menopause, and have noticed that you’re dealing with more bladder leakage issues, please know that it’s not a normal part of aging. It is common, but there’s stuff that you can do about it. We encourage you to call us at Legacy Physical Therapy to talk with one of our pelvic floor therapists to start you on your leakage free journey!