Monday, April 18, 2005

Menopause and Bladder Control

Does menopause affect bladder control?

Yes. Some women have bladder control problems after they stop having periods (menopause or change of life). If you are going through menopause, talk to your health care team.

After your periods end, your body stops making the female hormone estrogen. Estrogen controls how your body matures, your monthly periods and body changes during pregnancy and breast-feeding.

Some scientists believe estrogen may help keep the lining of the bladder and urethra plump and healthy. They think that lack of estrogen could contribute to weakness of the bladder control muscles.

Pressure from coughing, sneezing, or lifting can push urine through the weakened muscle. This kind of leakage is called stress incontinence. It is one of the most common kinds of bladder control problems in older women.

Recent studies have raised doubts about the benefits of taking estrogen after menopause. The studies also point to added risks from taking estrogen for many years. No studies have shown that taking estrogen improves bladder control in women who have gone through menopause. Your doctor can suggest many other possible treatments to improve bladder control.
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