Urologic Dysfunction After Menopause (cont.)
Urologic Dysfunction After Menopause Self-Care at Home
Urinary tract infections
Urinary tract infections should not initially be self-treated at home; however, the following measures can be taken to reduce the discomfort that accompanies urinary tract infections:
- Take a pain-relieving medication, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), or acetaminophen (Tylenol).
- Place a hot water bottle on the abdomen to ease pain.
- Continue to drink plenty of water.
- Avoid coffee, alcohol, and spicy foods that can irritate the bladder.
Bladder control problems
Women can help minimize symptoms of bladder control problems by doing some or all of the following:
- Avoid foods and drinks that irritate the bladder. These include alcohol, caffeine, carbonated drinks, chocolate, spicy foods, citrus fruits, and acidic fruits and juices.
- Drink plenty of fluids but do not drink too many. Six to eight cups a day is enough, unless a woman is losing fluids due to exercise or heat.
- Urinate regularly and do not delay urinating or having a bowel movement.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- If necessary, wear absorbent pads and change them often.
- Practice Kegel exercises to strengthen pelvic floor muscles. Kegel exercises are often taught in childbirth classes and involve contracting pelvic floor muscles for 10 seconds and then relaxing for 10 seconds. Repeat the exercise 10 to 20 times three times a day. Doing this exercise correctly ensures a woman is working the proper muscles. To find the muscles, a woman can place her first and second fingers into her vagina and squeeze as if holding in urine. The muscles a woman feels tighten around the fingers are the muscles that she should be contracting and relaxing during Kegel exercises.
- Keep a voiding or urination diary to track voiding patterns. Write down the time of the urge to urinate, strength of pain or urge, time of urination, volume of urination, amount of leakage, and types and amounts of fluids consumed and when. This can help the doctor determine the precise cause of the dysfunction as well as help predict which therapies may be most successful.
If a woman has mild-to-moderate bladder prolapse, her doctor may recommend avoiding heavy lifting or straining as well as performing Kegel exercises. A woman may also be instructed to increase fiber in her diet to reduce constipation.
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