Of all the unwanted symptoms menopause can trigger, urinary incontinence can be one of the most frustrating. It’s uncomfortable and embarrassing. It can cause you to change your daily routine or step back from activities you love. Post-menopausal urinary incontinence affects more than 40% of women 65 or older, but it can happen to younger women, too.
Common Symptoms of Urinary Incontinence
“Incontinence” does not mean your bladder has suddenly failed to function altogether. Instead, it’s common for symptoms to sneak up on you – a few drops that escape when you sneeze or laugh or move in a certain way, for example. That’s called stress incontinence because your actions put extra pressure on your bladder.
You may experience urges of incontinence, the overwhelming feeling that you have to go right now. You may not make it to the bathroom in time.
If your bladder doesn’t empty completely when you urinate, a situation called overflow incontinence, you may continue to feel that “incomplete” sensation. In some women, this type of incontinence results in repeated dribbling of urine.
It’s not unusual to suffer from more than one of these symptoms. And you may just feel a sense of dampness without feeling leakage. Regardless, it can negatively affect your personal hygiene, relationships, and quality of life. Untreated, incontinence can also lead to more problems such as skin rashes or urinary tract infections.
Sometimes urinary incontinence is temporary. It can be brought on by:
- Certain medications that act as diuretics
- Foods or beverages that are spicy, citrusy, or contain caffeine or alcohol, as these things can irritate the bladder
- Pregnancy, due to the baby’s weight and hormonal changes that affect the bladder
- A urinary tract infection, which can heighten the urge to go
Persistent urinary incontinence in women is most often caused by the loss of estrogen during and after menopause. Estrogen supports vaginal health, including the lining of the bladder and the urethra. Without estrogen, these tissues weaken. Surgical removal of the ovaries has the same effect as menopause in triggering these changes, and some breast cancer treatments also significantly reduce estrogen levels.
Regardless of age, you may be more prone to urinary incontinence if you have a family history (especially of urgent symptoms, if you smoke, or if you’re overweight.
Options for Treating Urinary Incontinence
Temporary causes are easily addressed. You can avoid trigger foods and beverages, pregnancy eventually ends, and urinary tract infections are very treatable.
When problems become chronic, treatment might include:
- Wearing of shields, liners, or pads specially-designed panties to protect clothing from leaks
- Working to retrain your bladder by consciously resisting the urge to go and gradually holding off longer
- Pelvic floor rehab (Kegel exercises) designed to restore muscle tone
- Medications, including local estrogen replacement
Current or past breast cancer treatment often precludes use of hormonal therapies, and the same is true if you have a history of heart attack, blood clotting disorders, or stroke. And many women just don’t want to take hormones due to the high cost or for other reasons. Other treatment options may work to reduce symptoms, but they do not solve the problem.
MonaLisa® Touch Offers Long-Term Relief
MonaLisa® Touch is a non-invasive laser-based treatment that uses precisely targeted heat energy to stimulate regeneration and rehydration of tissues in the vaginal area. The treatment promotes growth of new, healthy skin cells and new supportive collagen, and it helps return the vaginal canal to its naturally slightly acidic state.
MonaLisa® Touch is simple and safe. With 3 in-office treatments that take just 5 minutes each, you can effectively say goodbye to urinary incontinence. Even better, the treatment will also alleviate multiple other post-menopausal vaginal symptoms such as dryness, uncomfortable intercourse, and chronic urinary tract infections.
Ready to try the alternative that works? It’s as easy as scheduling an appointment.