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Symptoms of Menopause and Incontinence

Incontinence Related Menopause


Women in their later years have an increased risk of Urinary Incontinence. Although bladder leakage is not an inevitable part of aging, it is very common in women. This is especially evident during and after menopause.


When women experience menopause, their levels of estrogen begin to reduce. The lowered levels of estrogen can cause the lining of the urethra to thin. The urethra is a small tube that allows urine to pass outside of the body. The pelvic floor muscles that surround the urethra and the bladder may also weaken with age. This is called “pelvic relaxation”. Ultimately, these two factors may increase the risk for Urinary Incontinence during menopause. And if you have given vaginal childbirth, your risk for Urinary Incontinence will increase even more.


The most common types of Urinary Incontinence found in women are Stress Urinary Incontinence and Urge Urinary Incontinence (Overactive Bladder). These types of Urinary Incontinence generally happen pre-menopause, increasing the likelihood of it continuing during and post-menopause. These types of Urinary Incontinence involve the involuntary leakage of urine and or the sudden urge to urinate. This urge to urinate is caused by a spasm in the bladder, and you may feel the need to pee even if your bladder is not full. These symptoms can be uncomfortable and embarrassing for women, especially in public or intimate situations. But there’s nothing to be embarrassed about! Urinary Incontinence is so common and totally natural for your body to experience.


Months or years before you go through (premenopause) menopause, you may experience these symptoms:


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  • Irregular periods
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  • Vaginal dryness
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  • Hot flashes
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  • Night sweats
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  • Sleep problems
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  • Mood changes
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  • Weight gain and slowed metabolism
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  • Thinning hair and dry skin
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  • Loss of breast fullness
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  • Poor Bone Health
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  • Incontinence
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It’s possible, but very unusual, to menstruate every month right up to your last period. More likely, you’ll experience some irregularity in your periods.


Skipping periods during perimenopause is common and expected. Often, menstrual periods will occur every two to four months during perimenopause, especially one to two years before menopause. Despite irregular periods, pregnancy is possible. If you’ve skipped a period but aren’t sure you’ve started the menopausal transition, you may want to determine whether you’re pregnant.


5 Awesome Foods to Alleviate Symptoms of Menopause


Your doctor may recommend many medications or exercises to alleviate your symptoms of menopause, and you should implement these into your life. To take it one step further in a holistic and easier way, you can implement these foods in your diet.


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  1. Legumes
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“Some of the more bothersome symptoms associated with menopause result from a state of estrogen deficiency,” says Erica Matluck, ND, a naturopath at One Medical Group in San Francisco.


The most phytoestrogen loaded foods like soybeans, chickpeas, and lentils can help with the estrogen deficiency. Legumes are PACKED with folic acid, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B, and fiber. They are also 20-25% protein, making them a superfood. If you want to alleviate the symptoms of menopause due to the estrogen deficiency you should include phytoestrogens in every meal. Fiber also alleviates symptoms of incontinence!


2. Flaxseed


Menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, sweating, and vaginal dryness can be minimized with the intake of flaxseeds. Flaxseed’s contain a lot of essential fatty acids, which can relieve inflammation, fluid retention, depression and irritablity as well according to Karyn Duggan, a certified nutrition consultant at One Medical Group. You can purchase whole flaxseed or ground flaxseed. Because of the nutty flavor it tastes great in meals like oatmeal and smoothies.


3. Green Leafy Vegetables and Nuts


Dark green leafy vegetables like vegetables like kale, collards, or other leafy greens (and prunes, even though not a vegetable) are packed with calcium and magnesium. According to Denis Londergan, RD, LD an integrative dietitian/nutritionist at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, these these cruciferous vegetables are great for bone health. Walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and almonds are great as a snack or topping for your favorite salad because they are packed with polyunsaturated fatty acids that increase bone health.


Because of the lessening of estrogen, calcium and magnesium bone health is at risk. Menopausal women at higher risk of developing osteoporosis and broken bones. These foods also help to alleviate migraines, depression and anxiety.


So integrate leafy greens into your diet, (try them in your eggs, steam them along with the main course, add them to a smoothie) and sprinkle some tasty nuts atop a salad.


4. Cold-Water Fish


Cold-water fish are fish that thrive in cold water like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and herring. These fish are amazing sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids help relieve hot flashes and depression. A study published in the journal Menopause in 2011 that over 40 women confirmed this study. Cold-water fish are also great sources for protecting against heart disease. Since blood flow is affected during menopause, this diet will reduce the heightening risk of heart disease in menopausal women. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommend incorporating a serving of fish into meals at least two times each week.


This not only improve menopausal symptoms and heart health, but also the environment! (See Meat Free Monday).


5. Winter Squash


Examples of winter squash are Acorn, butternut, calabaza squash, delicata, hubbard, Kabocha, Kabocha, and Spaghetti squash. Winter squash contain vitamin A, which is essential for skin, teeth, bone, and soft tissue health, according to National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dry skin and poor bone health accompany menopause. Winter squash are packed with fiber, which helps menopausal constipation (another symptom of menopause). So integrating winter squash into your diet is a great and creative idea.


You can implement winter squash into your diet in a variety of different ways. Add cubed squash to stews, grated squash to muffin mixes, and try mashed squash instead of mashed potatoes. Or use spaghetti squash as a replacement for noodles when making spaghetti. It’s just as tasty and full of nutrients.

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