Urinary incontinence affects up to 50% of adult women — and it gets increasingly common with age. Incontinence is the involuntary leakage of urine, and there are many possible causes.
One factor that has gained significant attention as a cause of urinary incontinence is low estrogen. Estrogen, a hormone primarily associated with reproductive health, plays a crucial role in maintaining urinary health, and it could be contributing to your symptoms.
Get the answers you need from our gynecology team at OB-GYN Associates of Marietta. Here’s what you should know about the links between low estrogen levels and urinary incontinence.
The role of estrogen in your urinary tract
Estrogen is a female hormone that plays a vital role in your body throughout your life. It’s responsible for regulating your menstrual cycle, maintaining bone density, and supporting overall vaginal and urinary tract health.
Within your urinary tract, estrogen helps keep the tissues healthy and flexible, promoting optimal function of both your bladder and urethra.
As you age, your estrogen levels decline significantly — especially during menopause. This hormonal shift can lead to a range of symptoms. A few of the most common? Vaginal dryness, hot flashes, and urinary incontinence.
Low estrogen levels also contribute to weaker pelvic floor muscles and reduced elasticity in your urinary tract. These changes can make it more difficult to control your bladder, which can result in urine leakage.
Understanding the types of urinary incontinence
Low estrogen levels can contribute to two main types of urinary incontinence: stress incontinence and urge incontinence.
Stress incontinence develops when activity puts increased pressure on your bladder. A few examples of this are coughing, sneezing, laughing, or exercising. In these cases, weak pelvic floor muscles are unable to provide proper support for your bladder, so urine may leak out.
Urge incontinence, or overactive bladder, happens when you feel a sudden and intense urge to urinate, followed by involuntary urine leakage. Low estrogen levels can irritate your bladder muscles, resulting in increased sensitivity and overactive bladder.
How to manage urinary incontinence and low estrogen
Low estrogen levels can cause frustrating and embarrassing symptoms, but fortunately, you have treatment options. Our team specializes in approaches that include:
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
One of the most effective treatment methods is hormone replacement therapy (HRT). HRT supplements your body with the estrogen it no longer makes, helping to restore hormonal balance, improving urinary tract health, and reducing urinary incontinence symptoms.
Topical estrogen therapy
If vaginal dryness and urinary incontinence are your primary symptoms, topical estrogen therapy may be a good option for you. This treatment gives your body extra estrogen in the form of creams or rings.
These localized treatments provide estrogen directly to your vaginal tissues, helping restore moisture and elasticity.
Pelvic floor exercises
Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles through targeted exercises, such as Kegels, can significantly improve urinary control. These exercises involve contracting and relaxing your pelvic floor muscles, and regular practice can lessen urine leakage.
Finally, some simple lifestyle changes can make a difference in managing urinary incontinence. We may recommend monitoring your fluid intake, avoiding bladder irritants like caffeine and alcohol, and scheduling regular bathroom breaks to empty your bladder.
Urinary incontinence can significantly impact your quality of life, but you don’t have to live with it. Maintaining hormonal balance during and after menopause helps improve the health and function of your urinary tract, and it could be the solution you’ve been looking for.
You're not alone, and it’s possible to regain your confidence and comfort. Call to schedule an appointment at one of our offices in Marietta or Woodstock, Georgia, today.