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Urologic Dysfunction After Menopause

Facts on Urologic Dysfunction After Menopause

  • Urologic conditions that can occur around the time a woman goes through menopause include
  • The level of estrogen in a woman's body decreases during menopause. The role this hormone plays in urologic dysfunction continues to be studied.
  • While some researchers have found that estrogen loss may influence a woman's urologic function, the evidence is in no way conclusive, and other factors, such as the effects of childbirth on the body, have not been discounted.
  • The good news for women is that a variety of treatments exist for all of these conditions, and women with urologic dysfunction can find relief and improved quality of life by seeking qualified medical care.

Urologic Dysfunction After Menopause Causes

Urinary tract infections

Urinary tract infections are divided into two categories. A lower urinary tract infection is sometimes referred to as cystitis and involves the lining of the urethra and irritation of the bladder. An upper urinary tract infection is called pyelonephritis and involves the kidneys of the upper urinary tract.

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Illustration of the female urinary tract system

Urinary tract infections are most often caused by bacteria entering the urinary tract through poor hygiene or sexual intercourse. Low estrogen levels result in vaginal dryness and atrophy, which allow bacteria to enter the bladder, causing infection. Some researchers suggest that delayed urination and dehydration resulting in decreased urinary output may also contribute toward the development of urinary tract infections.

Bladder control problems

Bladder control problems, or urinary incontinence, occur with greater frequency in both men and women as they age. Many people aged 65 years and older experience bladder control problems that can range from a little leakage to uncontrollable wetting. The problem is more common in women than in men. Studies have suggested that a significant percentage of women older than 60 years and living at home have some form of incontinence.

Bladder control problems have many possible causes, including reduced levels of estrogen in the body. For menopausal women, contributing factors may be nerve damage from childbirth, pelvic surgery, and weakened pelvic floor muscles.

Bladder prolapse

Prolapsed bladder is a problem unique to women because of a woman's anatomy. The front wall of the vagina helps keep a woman's bladder in place. If and when the tissues of the vagina wall are weakened from the stress of childbirth, changes during menopause, or repeated physical straining due to constipation or heavy lifting, the bladder can prolapse or descend into the vagina.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/19/2016

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