Change of life
Menopause is a 10-15 year long period of a woman’s life. It is the transition between fertility and seniority. The menopause begins when the ovarian function concludes. This is indicated by the last regular menstruation that is not followed by another within a year. This can be expected around age 48-52. Rarely the ovaries stop working before age 40. This is called menopause praecox, premature menopause. Sometimes the menstruation becomes irregular a few years before the menopause.
The ovaries almost completely stop producing progesterone and two out of the three estrogen hormones: estradiol and estriol. The hormone level decrease starts the decline of the sexual organs; the vagina and the uterus. The end of the ovarian function increases the accumulation of fat, a typical senior characteristic.
Frequently inconteninence develops during menopause. Incontinence is the lack of voluntary control of excretory functions.
- lower estrogen hormone level increase dryness of the mucus membranes, reduce flexibility of the urethra, so the urethral muscles have to work harder to hold the urine in the bladder
- muscles loose their tightness and their ability to contract
- the natural ageing process starts the degradation (atrophy) of the pelvic muscles and ligaments. This causes the sinking of the lower internal organs
- during menopause the existing mild incontinence symptoms intensify
- bladder capacity decreases
- obesity advances the descent of the lower internal organs
Other common symptoms
One of the changes many women experience is increased difficulty controlling bladder and bowel. Common Symptom, such as emptying bladder frequently and rushing to the toilet (urgency) to pass urine. Other symptoms include:
- urine leakage during coughs, sneezes, shouting, blowing nose or exercise
- leakage of urine as going to the toilet
- getting up twice or more over night to empty bladder
- inability to control wind
- rushing to the toilet to empty bowels
- frequent urinary tract infections
Ignoring these problems is not the best solution because they usually do not go
away and they get worse over time. It is common that they often interfere
with work, sexual and personal relationships and social activities.
Bladder and bowel control during menopause
Menopause may cause problems with bladder and bowel control. The followings are:
A. Weakness of pelvic floor muscles
The pelvic floor muscles tend to weaken during menopause. As these muscles control both the bladder and bowel, the weakness may result in less control of the urge to visit the toilet and/or the ability to visit the toilet on time. Also, weak pelvic floor muscles may cause difficulties controlling wind. Furthermore, they may play a part in the onset of prolapse, which is sagging down of internal organs. Women complains about feeling bloated, heaviness or lump in the vagina that can be the uterus, bladder or bowel, which can put excessive strain on the pelvic floor.
B. Vaginal Dryness
The significant loss of the estrogen hormone results in vaginal dryness because the lining of the vagina is not producing enough mucus. The urethra that is connected to the bladder also develops similar issues. In the vagina this may result in the normal E coli bowel bacteria moving in and increasing the risk of frequent urinary tract infections. Personal hygiene is important and all women should pay attention to wipe correctly from front to back. Plenty of water, drinking cranberry juice or taking cranberry capsules may help prevent urinary tract infections.
C. Weight gain
It is common that during menopause many women gain weight. Significant weight gain can result in risking of developing bladder and bowel control problems. The tiny, palm size of the pelvic floor muscles support most of your body weight. Any excess weight further strains these muscles and ligaments; thus, do not support the bladder and bowel. Usually woman may notice involuntary leakage (stress incontinence) when coughing, laughing, standing up, lifting and sneezing, or the need to frequently or urgently visit the bathroom. It is advisable to keep the body weight in a healthy range.
D. A less elastic bladder
Lack of hormones result in less elasticity at the base of the bladder, which makes it difficulty in stretching. With full bladder the lack of stretch may irritate the bladder muscle and may become over active. This may cause frequent bathroom visits. A program of bladder training and pelvic floor muscles exercises may help you regain control.
Many women complain around menopause that they have a hysterectomy or prolapse repair and after the surgery they have a problem with bladder control. Unfortunately after the surgery the urethra, bladder, vagina or the rectum can prolapse too. It is not known whether the surgery or other issue cause the problem. Preventing further health problems and recover faster after surgeries, pelvic floor exercises with other treatments can be beneficial.
F. Anal trauma and surgery
Around menopause some women who have had babies may find hard to control bowel issues. The anal sphincter, muscle around the anus, may be damaged due to prolong labor or episiotomy, and tears but this may not become an issue until later in life. Some women need a surgery to repair this problem and some may need only the pelvic floor muscles exercises to recover.
G. Other health problems
Other multiple or chronic health problems may cause or worsen incontinence. Neuropathy/Diabetes has been identified for higher risk as nerve damage is a common complication of this illness. Loss of sensation, inadequate emptying, constipation and constant diarrhea can cause nerve damage in the bladder and bowel. To stop or prevent further nerve damage it is advised to keep your diabetes well controlled.
To prevent and manage poor bladder and bowel control, lifestyle changes are important to do. Healthy eating customs, drinking plenty water, posture, exercises that do not put excessive pressure on the internal organs, pelvic floor muscle exercises, learning how to empty the bladder and bowel correctly, as well as the position on the toilet, and protecting leg veins are easy to incorporate in to your life style and promotes your wellbeing.
PelviLates® helps maintain toned, strong pelvic muscles. The trained, flexible muscles are able to balance the effect of the natural changes and keep you healthy and active.
Even if you already experience incontinence, PelviLates® can improve and often eliminate incontinence and other conditions related to weak pelvic muscles.
Serious cases always require the help of doctors. A growing number of physicians recommend pelvic exercises before surgery. Often a few months of regular exercises can improve the symptoms so successfully that surgery is no longer necessary.
Age is no object! Seniors can achieve the same result as their younger counterparts.
A scientific study at one European hospital proved that we can reverse the aging process by as much as 20-30 years. Physicians measured the strength of pelvic muscles of seniors before and after the program. At the end of the program the average strength was as much as the typical value for a 20-30 years younger adult. Of course, our personal experience is the most important. Some participants are able to cure the incontinence that plagued them for 30 years in as little as 10 weeks. The earlier we start the regular exercises, the sooner we achieve the desired result.
We can live healthy, independent life without restrictions.