Hormones and LBL

Fannypants.com knows that education is one of the most important aspects of managing urinary incontinence. If you are a woman and you experience light bladder leakage (LBL), you may or may not be aware of the connection between hormone fluctuations and LBL.

Dr. Sara Gottfried, Harvard trained gynecologist and Yoga teacher, reports that women need to find natural solutions to medical problems, NOT just take a pill.  Although there are some instances when medication can be very useful in the treatment of urinary incontinence, there are many natural interventions-some that can even halt symptoms of LBL altogether.

According to Gottfried, there are 3 times in a women’s life when hormonal changes cause higher risk for LBL-during pregnancy, immediately post-partum (after childbirth), and during the perimenopause/menopause transition period.

Gottfried goes on to explain that during pregnancy bladder leakage can occur as a result of mechanical problems-the weight of the baby displacing the bladder.  The hormones during pregnancy, however, are a different scenario altogether.  A women’s hormones are at an all-time high level during pregnancy-then after birth the level of estrogen and progesterone plummet quickly.  Placenta delivery causes a temporary mock menopause which can result in post-partum depression and LBL-as a result of lower estrogen levels.

Low estrogen can cause the opening of the urethra (tube where urine flows out of the body) to relax-allowing urine to leak.  This is the same mechanism that occurs during hormonal changes caused by perimenopause and menopause.

One of the best natural strategies for LBL according to Dr. Gottfried is a plan for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles.  Strengthening movements such as Kegel exercises can really help women control bladder leakage, according to Gottfried.  Another non-invasive treatment is the application of a small amount of local estrogen applied directly to the sphincter-says Gottfried.  Women should discuss these options with their gynecologist, nurse practitioner or midwife.

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