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How can I improve bladder control during menopause?

Dwindling estrogen levels can give some menopausal women bladder troubles, like urinary incontinence. Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles with Kegel exercises can help improve bladder control. To perform a Kegel, squeeze as though you're trying to clench your vaginal walls together. Hold for five seconds, then release your muscles for five seconds. Do this exercise four or five times in a row. Aim for three sets of 10 each day. Need an added incentive to do your Kegel exercises? Building strong pelvic floor muscles can help boost the intensity of your orgasms, too.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

Some women develop bladder problems for the first time when they reach menopause. During menopause, women stop making estrogen. One of this hormone's many roles is to keep the lining of the bladder and urethra healthy. (The urethra is the tube that empties urine from the bladder.) Changes in the urinary tract that occur due to the loss of estrogen can cause a problem known as overactive bladder—that is, you may suddenly need to pass urine when there's no bathroom anywhere in sight.

Not all women develop bladder problems during menopause, however. You can lower your risk for overactive bladder by keeping your weight down, exercising regularly, and not smoking.

Patricia Geraghty, NP
Women's Health

A certain percentage of women will experience bladder control issues after menopause. This may include loosing some urine with coughing, sneezing, jumping or laughing. This is called stress incontinence. Another type is losing urine when you feel the need to empty your bladder, urge incontinence. Treatment involves a physical examination and ruling out infection. Further treatment may involve any or all of medications, physical therapy and exercise, and surgery.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.