Menopause seems to be the culprit behind several types of middle-aged female misery.
Overactive Bladder (OAB)
During menopause, a woman’s body undergoes a significant decrease in hormone production, which can lead to several effects on the urinary system.
In addition to causing UTIs, it can contribute to the development or exacerbation of overactive bladder (OAB) through various hormonal and physiological changes.
Here are some ways in which menopause may cause or contribute to overactive bladder:
Estrogen Decline: Estrogen plays a crucial role in maintaining the health of the urinary tract. As estrogen levels decrease during menopause, the tissues in the bladder and urethra may become thinner and less elastic, making them more susceptible to irritation and inflammation.
Bladder Muscle Changes: Estrogen also helps to maintain the tone and strength of the muscles in the pelvic floor, including those surrounding the bladder. As estrogen levels decline, these muscles may weaken, leading to decreased bladder support and control.
Urethral Changes: Reduced estrogen levels can affect the tissues of the urethra, making it more prone to irritation. This may contribute to a sense of urgency and frequency in urination, common symptoms of overactive bladder.
Vaginal Atrophy: Vaginal atrophy, a condition characterized by thinning and drying of the vaginal walls, is common during menopause. This can lead to discomfort during sexual activity, and the associated pain may contribute to urinary symptoms.
Neurological Changes: Hormonal fluctuations during menopause can also impact the nervous system, potentially affecting the signals between the brain and the bladder. This can result in an increased urge to urinate and difficulty controlling bladder function.
It’s important to note that while menopause can be a contributing factor, other factors such as age, genetics, lifestyle, and medical conditions can also play a role in the development of overactive bladder.
How To Recognize The Difference in OAB versus UTI
While both overactive bladder (OAB) and urinary tract infections (UTIs) can involve urinary symptoms, they are distinct conditions with different causes and characteristics.
Some symptoms, such as urgency and frequency, can be present in both conditions, but the underlying causes are different. OAB is related to bladder muscle dysfunction or nerve issues, while UTIs are usually caused by bacterial infections.
The key difference is pain: OAB does not typically have it, but UTI’s are often extremely painful.
Always Looking For The Next Bathroom
Overactive Bladder (OAB):
Urge Incontinence: OAB is characterized by a sudden and strong urge to urinate, often resulting in involuntary urine leakage (urge incontinence).
Stress Incontinence: Certain abrupt movements which put stress on the bladder, such as sneezing, bending over, lifting heavy object may cause involuntary leakage.
Frequency: There is an increased frequency of urination, but the volume of urine may be small.
Nocturia: OAB can lead to waking up at night to urinate frequently (nocturia).
Lack of Pain: Unlike UTIs, OAB is not typically associated with pain or discomfort during urination.
In A State Of Burning Pain
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI):
Pain or Burning Sensation: UTIs often cause a burning sensation or pain during urination.
Frequency and Urgency: There is a frequent and urgent need to urinate, driven by a feeling of constant pressure in the bladder.
Cloudy or Strong-Smelling Urine: Urine may appear cloudy, and it might have a strong, unpleasant odor.
Lower Abdominal Discomfort: Some individuals with UTIs may experience lower abdominal discomfort or pain.
Fever and Fatigue: UTIs can be associated with systemic symptoms like fever and fatigue.
Treatments For OAB and UTI
OAB is generally caused by a loosening of the muscles surrounding the bladder, allowing urine to escape more easily. Treatment options for overactive bladder (OAB) may include:
Bladder training: Gradually increasing the time between bathroom visits.
Scheduled toilet trips: Going to the bathroom at set times, even if you don’t feel the urge.
Pelvic floor muscle exercises (Kegel exercises): Strengthening the muscles that control urination.
Anticholinergic medications: These can help relax the bladder muscles.
Beta-3 agonists: Medications that can also relax the bladder muscle.
Sacral nerve stimulation: Involves electrical stimulation of the sacral nerves, which control bladder function.
Botox can be injected into the bladder muscle to help control overactive bladder symptoms.
UTIs are caused by bacteria entering the tract through the urethra. Treatment options for UTIs may include:
A urine culture will identify which type of bacteria are causing the UTI. The urologist will then match, and prescribe, the most effective antibiotic to treat that infection.
Due to the recent development of antibiotics resistance and recurring UTIs, a variety of natural supplements have been used bu doctors to treat UTIs
D-Mannose powder: clears out the bacteria causing the infection
Cranberry extract with 36 mg PAC: provides protection against new infections
Apple cider vinegar formula: dissolves biofilms
Read more here about managing your UTI with natural products.