One thing which is often not discussed but is a common problem for women as they get older is incontinence. I’ve touched on bowel incontinence before with my posts about Crohn’s but today I wanted to share a little about urinary incontinence-and what can cause it.
Hartmann Direct, who stock a range of incontinence products to help women try to live a normal life, have kindly sponsored this post and asked me to share my tips and advice on bladder issues in women. Let’s take a look first of all at some of the common causes…
Pregnancy and childbirth
We’ll start with an obvious one. This occurs as, when pregnant, the baby puts a lot of pressure on the bladder. As the baby grows, this pressure heightens and a lot of ladies start to have problems with incontinence during the second and third trimester. Pushing the baby into the world can cause pelvic muscles to weaken around the bladder which can then make incontinence occur. In fact, a lot of women then suffer from incontinence for the rest of their life.
As this article states, women who have had kids are a third more at risk of incontinence due to the damage to the pelvic floor muscles.
I was surprised to learn that urinary complications can be linked to Crohn’s (although, let’s be honest, what isn’t!). This is most likely to be things like UTIs (this is a great resource for that area!) but in rare cases, fistulas can actually connect to the urethra. Other potential conditions it can be linked to are Epilepsy, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and MS.
If your estrogen levels are all out of place, those important pelvic floor muscles which protect your bladder can weaken over time. Estrogen levels lower when we go through the menopause but this can also happen with PCOS. A study found, 24% of people with PCOS have urinary incontinence.
What can be done to help urinary incontinence
- Work on your pelvic floor muscles – this is a good guide to doing the exercises.
- Avoid diuretics like coffee and tea as they make us wee much more!
- If estrogen is the issue, this can be supplemented.
- There are also various incontinence products that can be useful-like pads.
I hope those tips were useful. I hadn’t thought much about urinary incontinence as a woman in my 30s but now it seems that we should all be cautious and start doing our pelvic floor muscles! Thanks to Hartmann Direct for sponsoring and inspiring me to write this post and do take a look at their products if you’re struggling.