Q Can the menopause af­fect the blad­der?

Woman's Weekly (UK) - - Dr Melanie -

AThe menopause is trig­gered by fall­ing oe­stro­gen lev­els. The most com­mon symp­toms are hot flushes, sweats and vagi­nal dryness, but many tis­sues are af­fected. The vagina and vulva, womb, ovaries and blad­der are par­tic­u­larly in­volved, and an es­ti­mated four out of five women may be af­fected by gen­i­touri­nary syn­drome of the menopause (GSM). The vulva and vagina may look pale and thinned and feel dry, ir­ri­tated or sore dur­ing ev­ery­day ac­tiv­i­ties, and es­pe­cially dur­ing love­mak­ing. GSM can also make you pass urine more ur­gently or fre­quently, or be linked to in­con­ti­nence or re­cur­rent uri­nary in­fec­tions. Your GP can check your urine, re­fer you for tests if nec­es­sary and ad­vise which would be suit­able treat­ments for you.

GSM can be specif­i­cally tar­geted us­ing pre­scribed vagi­nal oe­stro­gen (a short course of pes­saries or cream, fol­lowed by reg­u­lar ‘top-ups’) or slow-re­lease vagi­nal rings. How­ever, you may find hor­mone re­place­ment ther­apy tablets, patches or implants bet­ter if you have other menopausal symp­toms, too. You could also try a vagi­nal mois­turiser such as Re­plens MD for re­lief, or one of a wide range of per­sonal lu­bri­cants for love­mak­ing (visit the con­tra­cep­tion counter at your phar­macy). Ask ad­vice be­fore mix­ing prod­ucts.

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