You may have noticed over the last several months that we have been peppering the blog with various signs and symptoms of menopause. Well, today we discuss menopause and bladder leaks. Not a sexy topic to be sure, but unfortunately, bladder leaks are something that many women will deal with as they head into menopause.
Scared of grabbing the jump rope for cardio? Don’t want to jump on the trampoline with your kids anymore? Need to cross your legs when you sneeze? Guess what? You’ve got company and it feels good to know others are going through what you are, right?
Let’s start with the basics.
We know that our three fav hormones (estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone) are busy fighting it out in a major way during two specific times in our lives – puberty and perimenopause. These fluctuations cause the start of your menstrual cycle in puberty and the end of it in menopause and are the reason for many of our crazy symptoms during this time.
Estrogen is produced by the ovaries primarily, and is responsible for developing and maintaining both the reproductive system and female characteristics, such as breasts and pubic hair. Estrogen contributes to cognitive health, bone health and aids in the cardiovascular system but most people think of estrogen’s role in female sexual and reproductive health.
We all know Estrogen, but did you know there are three different types of estrogen?
This is the estrogen found in the body after menopause. It is a weaker form of estrogen and the body can convert it to other forms of estrogen, as necessary.
Both males and females produce estradiol, and it is the most common type of estrogen in females during their reproductive years.
Low levels of this type of estrogen can cause weight gain and cardiovascular disease. Too much estradiol may result in depression, loss of bone density, skin issues (such as acne), and loss of sex drive.
Almost undetected in women who are not pregnant, levels of estriol rise during pregnancy as it helps the uterus grow and gets the body ready for delivery of the baby.
So – what does Estrogen have to do with menopause and bladder leaks?
So – now that you know a little about estrogen, here’s the why around menopause and bladder leaks.
The muscle tissue in and surrounding the bladder and urethra (the short tube that passes urine from the bladder out the body) requires estrogen to remain supple and strong. When estrogen levels drop in menopause, the tissue around the bladder and urethra isn’t as happy and healthy as it once was.
These tissue changes have a few interchangeable names you may have heard – like vaginal atrophy or a GSM – genitourinary syndrome.
Really? As if its not hard enough having a period once a month, giving birth and then going through menopause – but now we have to remember a name like GENITOURINARY SYNDROME?
OK – so never mind all the “official names” – this is all you really need to know.
Because of the thinness of the tissue in the bladder area, the bladder becomes weaker and the pelvic floor muscles (which you have already tested pushing out baby) can’t provide as much support as they used to. All this leads to…you guessed it… leaking!
So now what?
HOW TO DEAL
Of course, you can work on strengthening your pelvic floor with exercises such as KEGELS. My fav place to perform these pelvic floor strengtheners is when I’m driving and stop at a red light. I know – weird, but it works! Those traffic lights are the perfect length of time to get in a few dozen reps 🙂 In my personal experience, these can help, but probably won’t stop leakage completely.
Typically, the average women dealing with menopause induced bladder leakage deals with a few drops when they laugh, cough or sneeze. Not a ton, but just enough to make you a little uncomfortable. Of course, if you like to go hard on the cardio at the gym, or have had several babies, you might experience a little more “action” down below.
You might be using a pantyliner, or even a pad to help out – but man, we aren’t 16 anymore and who wants to wear a pantyliner when your period is on the way out?
Here’s the good news ladies! Danni and I have recently found a product that we LOVE for these little annoying leaks – and we loved it so much we thought we would share.
SPEAX are pee-proof undies that are cute – dare I say sexy – that make you feel just a little more secure when working out – or even daily activities. They come in a variety of shapes and colours (hip huggers, thong, bikini, french cut) and have the added benefit of being WAY more environmentally friendly than those pantyliners.
Seriously ladies, bladder leaks are just gonna happen at this time in our lives. Why not feel confident, and secure while dealing with them?
We were so thrilled to find these – but let us know what you think – or if you have a fav product YOU use to feel confident. We would love to hear from you!
Here’s to jumping on the trampoline well into “old age!” 🙂
If you are interested in trying SPEAX, check out our Speax page HERE and get $10 off your order.
If you want more on menopause: