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How does menopause affect my bladder control?
Unfortunately, bladder control issues (also called urinary incontinence) are common for women going through menopause. There are several reasons why this happens, including:
- Estrogen. This hormone plays several roles in your body. It not only controls your period and promotes changes in your body during pregnancy, estrogen also keeps the lining of your bladder and urethra healthy.
- Pelvic floor muscles. Supporting the organs in your pelvis — your bladder and uterus — are called the pelvic floor muscles. Throughout your life, these muscles can weaken. This can happen during pregnancy, childbirth and from weight gain. When the muscles weaken, you can experience urinary incontinence (leakage).
Specific bladder control problems that you might have can include:
- Stress incontinence (leakage when you cough, sneeze or lift something heavy).
- Urge incontinence (leakage because your bladder squeezes at the wrong time).
- Painful urination (discomfort each time you urinate).
- Nocturia (feeling the need to get up in the night to urinate).