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Urologic Dysfunction After Menopause (cont.)

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.


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. Some evidence has shown that heredity and lowered levels of estrogen may play a role in women who have frequent urinary tract infections. 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. An estimated 1 in 10 people aged 65 years and older experience bladder control problems that can range from a little leakage to uncontrollable wetting. An estimated 13 million people in the United States suffer from bladder control problems, but the problem is more common in women than in men. Studies have suggested that 15% to 35% 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.

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