Hot flashes, night sweats and UTIs are common during menopause. But while the first two will go away, UTIs may continue to be a problem.
Why? During menopause, the level of estrogen plummets, causing changes in the urinary tract such as decreased bladder elasticity and changes to the bladder lining. As you age, the bladder loses both its volume and its elasticity, and you will likely have to go to the bathroom more frequently. Urinary tract infections (bladder infections and kidney infections) tend to be more common as women age. This risk begins to increase within a few years of your final menstrual period.
Additionally, the weakening of the pelvic muscles that come with age, along with activities and movements such as exercise, coughing and laughing can put pressure on the bladder and cause small amounts of urine to leak, increasing your risks for a UTI. Lack of regular physical exercise may also contribute to this condition.
Bladder prolapse is more common after menopause. Prolapse happens when the front wall of the vagina is weakened – usually due to the stress of childbirth and changes during menopause, repeated straining from heavy lifting or constipation. The weakened vaginal wall that normally helps keep the bladder in place now lets the bladder prolapse (or drop) into the vagina. In this position, the bladder can’t empty completely and the bacteria that stay can multiply into a UTI. If you think you have a prolapsed bladder, see your doctor to determine the best course of action.