Role of Hormones in Women’s Urinary Health + Lifestyle Changes to Manage Incontinence

Urinary health is vital as you age, and it affects up to 50% of adult women as you get older. Involuntary urinary leakage can be embarrassing and unwelcome. There are many causes of incontinence, one of which can be attributed to your hormones.

Estrogen is a hormone that is primarily associated with reproductive health and plays a significant role in helping to maintain your urinary health. If you’re dealing with incontinence, it could contribute to the symptoms you’re experiencing.

The Role of Hormones in Urinary Health

Estrogen is a hormone for women that has an important function. It regulates the menstrual cycle, supports vaginal health, and maintains bone density and your urinary tract. 

In your urinary tract, estrogen is what keeps your tissues flexible and healthy. It helps the functionality of your urethra and bladder to keep them working at optimum capacity so you can maintain vitality.

When aging occurs, the estrogen levels within your body begin to decline. During menopause, they decline more substantially. The transition usually starts between the ages of 45 to 55. Menopause lends to a range of symptoms, including the following:

  • Hot flashes
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Weak pelvic floor muscles
  • Reduced elasticity in your urinary tract
  • Vaginal dryness

Lower estrogen levels make it extremely difficult to control your bladder. It often results in urinary leakage or incontinence without proper preventative measures.

Types of Urinary Incontinence

When lowered, the hormone estrogen can cause two types of urinary incontinence: Stress incontinence and Urge incontinence. 

Urge incontinence is the type of incontinence when you have a sudden urge to go and end up leaking urine. It’s due to the overactivity of the detrusor muscles that control the bladder, and it’s a serious condition, sometimes referred to as an overactive bladder. 

Stress incontinence is an involuntary loss of urine due to pressure on the bladder. It usually is preceded by coughing, sneezing, laughing, or exercise. The loss of support from the muscles in your pelvic floor makes it so that you cannot hold in the urine when pressure is exerted, even if it’s just a minimal amount.

The lower levels of your hormone estrogen cause embarrassing and frustrating urinary problems. Fortunately, there are preventative and other treatment options you can explore.

Managing Your Urinary Health and Lifestyle Changes You Can Make

Since you cannot control your hormone levels and may deal with incontinence, you may want to consult with a doctor about diagnosis and treatment. One of the more effective methods is Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to supplement your body with the estrogen it isn’t making and restore your hormonal balance.

You might also be interested in getting medication from your doctor. There is topical estrogen therapy, which usually comes in the form of a cream. You can treat vaginal dryness with topical creams that restore elasticity and moisture. 

Some lifestyle changes you can make to help manage incontinence include:

  • Pelvic floor exercises – strengthening the muscles in your pelvic floor with exercises like Kegels can help improve your bladder control. Consider enrolling in a yoga class or taking exercise courses for your pelvic muscles.
  • Increasing your fluid intake – monitor your water intake and increase it if possible, taking frequent bathroom breaks to be sure and empty your bladder and keep it healthy and functioning.
  • Decrease your caffeine and alcohol – these are known bladder irritants, so try to limit your intake.
  • Managing your weight – if you’re overweight or obese, it may help to pay attention to your nutrition to help lose weight since weight loss can help reduce urine leakage and improve other medical conditions associated with your incontinence. 
  • Bladder training – you can learn to go to the bathroom less frequently and have better control of your muscles by scheduling your bathroom visits. You can go to the toilet at specific intervals during the day, work to suppress urges gradually, and then slowly increase the time between your trips to have a routine.

Take Control of Your Hormones

Incontinence due to a hormonal imbalance can significantly impact your quality of life. However, you don’t have to accept it. There are many ways to maintain a hormonal balance to improve your urinary health and functionality.

Speak to your doctor about your concerns when dealing with incontinence. Your doctor may refer you or help you with what you can do at home. Make some minor changes in your lifestyle to take control of your urinary tract and regain your confidence and comfort.