As women menopause, they may notice some changes in their bodies, which are the symptoms of menopause. Instead of getting themselves checked and seeking treatment, some women treat these symptoms, such as low estrogen bladder symptoms, as normal and ignore them. It is best not to feel ashamed of acknowledging menopause and the symptoms that come with it, to get yourself checked and then treated so you can maintain a happy and healthy lifestyle.
Low Estrogen Bladder Symptoms
The following are the commonly occurring symptoms of the bladder associated with low estrogen levels:
Urinary incontinence is the loss of control over one’s urination or defecation. Some people may suddenly pass urine when coughing, sneezing, or laughing sometimes. The condition can be so severe that a person urinates before even having the time to find a toilet.
In this condition, the person feels pain before or after urination. The patient feels pain in the bladder and fails to empty the bladder fully.
Overactive Bladder (OAB) syndrome
Urinary urgency is the characteristic symptom of OAB syndrome. The frequency of urination increases too, and so does nocturia, in which the person gets forced to wake up during the night to urinate.
Some other low estrogen bladder symptoms include:
- Pain or itching in the vagina
- Painful sex
- Menstrual cycle becomes irregular, and you may not even get periods
- Vaginal dryness
- Bleeding after sex
- Problems having an orgasm
- Low estrogen levels cause the urethra to become thin, so it increases the frequency of urinary tract infections (UTIs) and results in low estrogen UTI symptoms
- The uterus may fall into the vagina in a condition known as uterine prolapse
- Hot flashes
- Headaches or migraines that already existed earlier may become more severe
- You may experience fatigue
- You may suffer from mental issues such as depression and mood swings, and have trouble focusing
Low Estrogen Levels and Weight Gain
Sex hormones like estrogen control glucose and lipid metabolism, which is why they affect fat levels in the body and can lead to weight gain. That is not good for your health as it also increases the chances of other issues such as cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and diabetes.
How And Why Do Low Estrogen Bladder Symptoms Occur?
Low levels of estrogen in the blood cause the thinning of the tissues that line the vagina. When the lack of estrogen causes a change in the tissues of the vagina, bladder, or urethra, it is known as urogenital atrophy. This condition is commonly known as genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM). At least fifty to seventy percent of the women who enter the stage of menopause in their lives suffer from GSM.
Since the vaginal tissues become thin and dry, the vagina and the muscles around it lose strength and elasticity, and cannot support the surrounding structures, such as the bladder and the urethra, as they would under normal conditions. That compromises the bladder and leads to low estrogen bladder symptoms.
However, it is not necessary that only women suffering from GSM experience low estrogen bladder symptoms. Some women (as many as 15% of the women not going through menopause) may suffer from the symptoms during childbirth or due to breastfeeding.
Some other reasons a woman might have low estrogen in her body include exercising excessively, an underactive pituitary gland, genetic malfunctions, toxins, or autoimmune disorders that cause the ovaries to fail. Estrogen levels may also go down because of chronic kidney disease and eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa.
Essentially, doctors diagnose insufficient levels of estrogen by the low estrogen bladder symptoms you talk about. The doctor will analyze your symptoms and ask about your family history to draw a valid conclusion. Your doctor may also ask you to get some tests done to confirm the diagnosis. For example, he may ask you to get your follicle-stimulating hormone levels checked. A pituitary hormone test checks if the endocrine system is producing a sufficient number of hormones. In case the pituitary hormone test gives abnormal results, your doctor may ask you to get a brain scan.
Doctors recommend the following treatments for people suffering from low estrogen bladder symptoms:
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
The main cause of low estrogen bladder symptoms is the lack of estrogen in the body. Estrogens are a group of sex hormones in the body that play a significant role in maintaining a normal reproductive cycle in a woman’s body. In HRT, the low levels of estrogen get replaced which not only lowers the symptoms of menopause but also has other long-term benefits.
Doctors may carry out HRT by assigning you skin patches, tablets, gels, or sprays. That is systemic HRT, i.e., its method of intake is oral, and it affects the whole body and helps reduce symptoms such as urinary urgency, nocturia, and painful urination.
Women suffering from low estrogen bladder symptoms, in which the vagina or bladder is involved are given vaginal estrogen only. These can be given by utilizing creams, tablets, and vaginal rings. That is local estrogen, applied externally and helps with urinary urgency and stress incontinence, and prevents urogenital atrophy. Estrogen therapy increases the risk of cancer which is why only small doses of estrogen are assigned, and those too for only one or two years.
The pessary is a device with a ring placed along the walls of the urethra and vagina to give them and the surrounding muscles of the balder, uterus, and rectum to give them support and prevent leaking.
Some doctors may recommend physical therapy in the form of pelvic floor exercises to make weakened muscles stronger, fix pelvic function and also strengthen the core. One such exercise is Kegels in which you mainly focus on tightening your pelvic muscles.
Change in lifestyle
Exercising and eating healthy to maintain an average weight are the best ways to have a healthy lifestyle at any point of your life, and are especially important when experiencing menopause bladder symptoms. Cutting down on caffeine, alcohol, or carbonated drinks can also be helpful as drinks increase the volume of urine and stimulate the bladder.
Changing urination habits
Ensuring that you urinate before having sex or exercising can help you avoid a situation of urinary incontinence.
Medicines such as beta-3 agonists and anticholinergics help people suffering from overactive bladder syndrome by relaxing muscle spasms in the bladder.
In case all the above forms of treatment do not work, surgery can help the person deal with urinary incontinence. Some non-estrogen medicines also help treat vaginal atrophy.
See Also: Do UTI’s Increase Post Menopause?
As many as 40% of women suffer from menopausal bladder symptoms. It is best to get an early diagnosis to reduce the chances of a complication later on. Instead of dismissing these symptoms as a part of aging, get a check-up. Our technicians at Family Medicine Austin have sufficient knowledge and can help you diagnose and treat low estrogen bladder symptoms. We also offer hormone replacement therapy, and our technicians also deal with UTIs in the case of low estrogen UTI symptoms.