During your menstrual cycle, your body releases several different hormones. Lots of different ailments and conditions have been associated with these hormones, including urinary incontinence.
This is yet another thing you can blame your monthly period for!
Urinary incontinence comes in many different forms, and each one can be as inconvenient as the last.
In this article, we will explore the link between bladder incontinence and your period, as well as exploring why this occurs. Let’s dive in!
Is Urinary Incontinence Linked To Your Period?
Research has suggested that women experience a slight loss of bladder control just before their period.
In a small study of 483 women, 42% of these women experienced a loss of bladder control just before their period, and 36% experienced this loss of bladder control during their periods.
What Is The Link Between Urinary Incontinence And Your Period
There is limited research on this topic at the moment, but there is some evidence that links incontinence with menopause.
Menopause, much like the menstrual cycle, leads to a decrease in oestrogen, or changing oestrogen levels. Oestrogen levels are much lower right before, during, and after your period.
It is thought that these low levels of oestrogen that occur in menopause and menstruation could cause (see also: Does Menopause Cause Constipation?)increased incontinence problems.
It is believed that oestrogen could decrease the strength of the urethra, meaning that the tube that connects your bladder to your urinary meatus is weakened. This may cause incontinence.
These natural changes in oestrogen levels can also affect the orientation of the cervix. This can impact the sphincter of the urethra, meaning the ability to start or stop the flow of urine effectively.
So, it is believed that Increased incontinence before and during our periods is due to a decrease in oestrogen levels which changes the pressure around the urethra.
This means that it cannot fully close, allowing the flow of urine to continue slightly.
What Other Factors Cause Urinary Incontinence In Women?
Urinary incontinence is caused by many different factors. There are lots of different reasons that can impact urinary incontinence, including temporary factors such as medications or caffeine and alcohol.
Some neuromuscular disorders can cause this issue.
Let’s take a look at some of the main causes of urinary incontinence:
Stress On Your Bladder
Stress incontinence occurs when the pressure inside your bladder becomes too strong for the urethra (the tube through which urine leaves the body) to stay closed.
As the bladder fills with urine, this pressure increases.
In some cases, any sudden pressure that is added to your bladder could cause urine to leak out of the urethra. For instance, laughing or sneezing could create this pressure.
If the muscles in your urethra are weakened, they may not be able to stay closed.
This damage may have been done due to:
- Damage in childbirth, especially through vaginal birth
- Increased pressure on your tummy because of pregnancy
- Damage to the bladder during surgery
- Neurological conditions such as MS or Parkinson’s disease
- Certain medications
Urge To Pass Urine
The need to frequently pass urine can be caused by a problem with the muscles in the walls of the bladder. These muscles can relax to cause the bladder to fill with urine and they contract when you let the urine out.
However, sometimes these muscles contract too often, meaning you suddenly and urgently need to go to the toilet.
This issue is referred to as an overactive bladder and it is caused by:
- Drinking alcohol
- Drinking caffeine
- Urinary tract infections or tumours in the bladder
Sometimes, incontinence can be caused by a blockage or obstruction within the bladder. Your bladder may fill up, but you will not be able to empty it because something is stopping it from being emptied.
As well as this, pressure from the urine that is not released from your bladder can mean that you experience frequent leaks.
Your bladder may be obstructed by:
- Bladder stones
This can also be caused by your detrusor muscles not contracting properly, meaning that your bladder does not empty.
This can happen because of damage to your nerves or certain medication.
What Causes Total Incontinence?
Total incontinence occurs when your bladder struggles to store any urine. This can mean that you experience constant leaking between urination.
This can be caused by:
- A problem from birth
- Injury to your spinal cord
- A bladder fistula
Medicines That Cause Incontinence
Some medications can cause incontinence, disrupting the normal bodily function of storing and passing urine. These include:
- Certain antidepressants
- Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors
Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing incontinence that is caused by one of these medications.
Risk Factors For Bladder Incontinence
There are lots of risk factors that increase your chances of developing urinary incontinence. They include:
There is thought to be a genetic link which means you are more likely to experience urinary incontinence if others in your family have experienced the problem.
Urinary incontinence becomes much more of a problem as you get older. It is more common in middle age, and much more common in those over the age of 80.
When Should You See A Doctor?
It is important to see a doctor about bladder incontinence, whether it occurs during your period or not. Your doctor can help to figure out the cause for this and come up with a treatment or management plan.
It can be a difficult thing to discuss with your doctor, but try not to be embarrassed! Many people have experienced this before, so you’re not alone!
So, there you have it! Some people experience bladder incontinence that occurs during your period. After reading this article, you should have all the information you need on this, including other causes for bladder incontinence.
We hope you feel well-informed on this topic following this ultimate guide!