Menstrual Cycle and Incontinence: Does Your Period Affect Bladder Control?
I set out this week to write an article about how a woman’s monthly cycle can affect her bladder control. You see, I’ve personally noticed increased urine leakage during my period, and when I’ve shared this with other female friends they often concur that they also have a similar experience. When I asked a well-respected urogynecologist about this he told me that it wasn’t altogether uncommon, as a woman’s hormone levels change throughout her cycle and those hormone changes can lead to increased incontinence.
Unfortunately as I researched, or I should say attempted to research, this situation I was disappointed by the lack of evidence or information relating a woman’s monthly cycle to her incontinence. I did however find a lot of information that menopause can certainly lead to incontinence. Women have many different kinds of estrogens in their body (nope, that wasn’t a typo; it’s actually estrogens- plural). These estrogens help develop female characteristics, and they are also responsible for your monthly period by causing the lining of your uterus to build up before being released every 28 days or so. During menopause your estrogen levels naturally decline, which can lead to increased incontinence.
Prior to going through menopause your estrogen levels change throughout your monthly cycle. Estrogens are highest while ovulating. Right before, during, and right after your period is generally when your estrogen levels are at their lowest. Additionally, during the time leading up to menopause, called "premenopause" or "perimenopause", a woman’s estrogen levels begin to gradually decline. So while I wasn’t successful in my quest to find multiple studies backing up my theory on menstrual cycle and periods, I still feel that my friends and I probably aren’t the only ones out there noticing this "phenomenon".
Jasmine wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Incontinence.