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Can Menopause Cause Urinary Tract Infections

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Two: Utis Caused By Anatomical Issues

Urinary Tract Infection – Overview (signs and symptoms, pathophysiology, causes and treatment)

The other UTIs, she says, are due to anatomical problems. Prolapse and weakened bladder muscles may stop the bladder from emptying completely in urination, and that can lead to recurrent UTIs.

If bladder muscles are weak, they donât contract properly anymore, and again, a woman may not be able to empty her bladder completely.

The urine that isnât expelled becomes a breeding ground for unhealthy bacteria, enough of the bad bacteria build up to overwhelm the good bacteria, and pretty soon, the woman finds herself with another UTI.

How do you treat them?

First, get a diagnosis from an ob/gyn, Dr. Rebecca says, so you know whatâs actually happening. Then, if appropriate, a physical therapist may be able to help strengthen weak bladder and pelvic floor muscles. Medication can help you empty your bladder more completely, and if the problem is a prolapse, surgery might be your best bet.

Utis And The Female Anatomy

Infection-causing bacteria typically gain entrance to your urinary tract through the urethra, that tiny tube-like structure that carries urine away from your bladder and out of the body. Once they gain a foothold in the urethra, bacteria can quickly multiply and spread upward into the bladder and other structures in your urinary system.

These structural differences help explain why women are much more likely to develop UTIs than men. Female anatomy and hormonal changes also play significant roles in recurrent postmenopausal UTIs.

Solutions For Chronic Utis

Antibiotics do an excellent job of clearing UTIs. But like most women, you probably dont relish the idea of taking antibiotics frequently. And rather than just treat UTIs, youd rather avoid getting them in the first place.

If youre getting chronic menopause-related UTIs, the following solutions could help:

Recommended Reading: How To Cure A Urinary Tract Infection On Your Own

What Is It Like Living With Vaginal Atrophy

Vaginal atrophy can seriously affect your quality of not just your sex life, but life in general. The pain, dryness, burning/itching, spotting, bleeding, urinary problems, UTIs and discharge can make you very uncomfortable and interfere with your daily living. One in four women report that vaginal atrophy has had a negative impact on other areas of their lives including their sleep, sexual health and general happiness.

Depression And Mood Swings

Urinary Incontinence and Bladder infections during Menopause

Changes in hormone production affect the moods of women during menopause. Some women report feelings of irritability, depression, and mood swings, and often go from extreme highs to severe lows in a short period of time. Its important to remember that these hormone fluctuations affect your brain and that feeling blue is not unnatural.

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Estrogen Specifically Impacts Positive Bacteria

In the second part of the study, the researchers focused on the 34 women who were taking menopausal hormone therapy. These women had more of a particularly helpful species of bacteria, Lactobacillus, in their urine.

The findings in this study suggest that hormone therapy may encourage colonization of the urinary tract with potentially beneficial Lactobacillus species. This in turn may provide colonization resistance against infection, De Nisco explains.

These results add to existing research supporting the beneficial effects of estrogen on the urogenital microbiome and its possible impact in reducing the prevalence of chronic UTIs, Dr. Ellerkmann says.

RELATED: Hormone Therapy May Boost Womens Brains

Why Are Women At A Higher Risk Of Utis Post

When you are perimenopausal, menopausal, or postmenopausal, the lack of the hormone estrogen plays a key role.

  • Stress incontinence: Over 40% of menopausal women face urinary incontinence. This happens in advanced age women because, over time, the muscles of the pelvic floor become weak. Estrogen stimulates blood flow to the pelvic region, which strengthens pelvic floor muscles. Therefore, when estrogen decreases, these muscles become weak, and they lack the strength to keep the bladder closed. In addition, prolonged use of wet, moist absorbent pads exposes your urethra directly to bacteria and increases the chance of a UTI.
  • Lower urinary tract symptoms As they get older many women may find they have problems with their urinary tract . Some women may experience OAB leading to problems with urinary urgency. If you would like more information on bladder problems, please visit our main Bladder Problems section
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections Commonly called cystitis, this is another form of a waterworks problem. A common symptom of cystitis is a burning pain when passing urine

Recommended Reading: How Does The Urinary System Work

What Can You Do About Recurring Utis

If you keep getting a UTI during menopause or at any other time in your life, its important to see your doctor so they can check if there is any underlying cause for your repeated infections, and whether there is anything they can do to help prevent it. While this can be an uncomfortable topic to discuss with your doctors, these issues are extremely common. Proper treatment should help you to enjoy your sex life once more, without the worry that you will end up with another UTI.

You Dont Have To Suffer With Utis

Urinary Tract Infection, Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.

Urinary tract infections can severely impact our lives, and there is no reason for us to go on suffering. We at Women’s Health Network feel that educating ourselves about our bodies and taking the steps to care for them physically and emotionally will always lead to greater health and happiness.

Take time to understand the causes of your urinary tract infections and ways to prevent them. Consider boosting your immune systems defenses this way youre likely to experience greater immunity from infections of all kinds, not just UTIs. You will be surprised at the difference you can make!

1 Jhamb, M., et al. 2007. Urinary tract diseases and bladder cancer risk: A case-control study. Cancer Causes & Control . URL : .

2 La Vecchia, C., et al. 1991. Genital and urinary tract diseases and bladder cancer. Cancer Res., 51 , 629631.

3 Jankovi & Radosavljevi. 2007. Risk factors for bladder cancer. Tumori, 93 , 412. URL : Cmd=ShowDetailView& TermToSearch Cmd=ShowDetailView& TermToSearch=17455864 .

4 2007. Urinary tract infection. URL: .

6 University of Maryland Medical Center . 2006. Urinary tract infection. URL: .

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How Is A Uti Diagnosed

To find out whether you have a UTI, your doctor or nurse will test a clean sample of your urine. This means you will first wipe your genital area with a special wipe. Then you will collect your urine in midstream in a cup. Your doctor or nurse may then test your urine for bacteria to see whether you have a UTI, which can take a few days.

If you have had a UTI before, your doctor may order more tests to rule out other problems. These tests may include:

  • A cystogram. This is a special type of x-ray of your urinary tract. These x-rays can show any problems, including swelling or kidney stones.
  • A cystoscopic exam. The cystoscope is a small tube the doctor puts into the urethra to see inside of the urethra and bladder for any problems.

Low Estrogen In Menopause Can Lead To Changes In Our Urinary Tract

Its not enough that fluctuating hormones can cause insomnia,hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, weight gain, loss of libido, and just a general feeling that our entire bodies and lives are falling apart when we start going through perimenopause. But guess what? Low and fluctuating estrogen levels can also contribute to urinary tract infections as well!

The fun never ends does it?

Many of you myself included may be experiencing or have experienced, a change in vaginal tissue once your estrogen levels begin to drop. Vaginal dryness and vaginal atrophy are very common for us as we age and our bodies produces less estrogen.

Unfortunately, this change in the vaginal environment, as it were, can also create conditions where the bacterial flora changes as well. So an imbalance of the good bacteria can also contribute to the occurrence of urinary tract infections.

Pregnancy, certain birth control, and even an impaired immune system can also contribute to UTIs. While most of us arent too worried about pregnancy or needing to use birth control in our perimenopause and menopause years, a lot of women who are menopausal also deal with a compromised immune system if they have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, for example.

So if you are a fibromyalgia sufferer and have issues with chronic UTIs and dont know why, it could be your immune system.

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Drink Enough Fluids And Timing Can Help

Although nowadays its hard to find someone who isnt drinking from a water bottle all day long, some women restrict fluid intake due to incontinence. Inadequate fluid consumption can lead to UTIs for some women.

Adequate fluid intake may work in several ways for recurrent UTI prevention. First, it may dilute urine which studies show helps manage the growth of bacteria leading to an infection in the first place. Second, it increases urination which in turn helps to flush bacteria out of the bladder and urethra.

The Institute of Medicine recommends having 91 ounces of fluid, 20 percent coming from foods and 80 percent, or 72 ounces, coming from all beverages . Of course, people who exercise need more water, and the recommendation is to drink one cup before you begin exercising and one cup of water for every 15 minutes of exercise.

There are several strategies for drinking adequate fluids without concern for not being able to get to a bathroom in time. One thing you can do is to divide up your fluid intake throughout the day. Also, drink fluids when you know you will be close to a bathroom.

It would be great to get through an outing or even the whole night without several trips to the bathroom. Although this varies according to the individual, many people report that restricting fluids 2 hours before going on an outing can significantly reduce your need to find a bathroom urgently while you are out.

Cranberry In The Prevention And Treatment Of Utis

What Every Woman Should Know About UTI

Cranberry contains a proanthocyanidin that counteracts bladder colonization by E. coli by inhibiting the attachment of bacteria to the uroepithelial mucosa. Anti-inflammatory activity of cranberry extract prevents the development of symptoms but also to lower intercellular bacterial propagation, and thus reduces the frequency of UTIs and the propensity towards chronic infection.

Evidence shows that consumption of cranberry juice significantly reduces clinical UTIs episodes in women with a

Also Check: How Can A Man Get A Urinary Tract Infection

Why Incontinence With Menopause

Your bladder sits above your pelvic bones and is supported by your pelvic floor. The pelvic floor is less of a floor and more of a sling of tendons and muscles that support your internal organs. Think of a hammock of muscles that run between the pubic bone in the front, and stretches back to the tailbone at the back.

A womans pelvic floor muscles support her uterus, bladder, and colon. The bladder relaxes and fills with urine throughout the day. If it is working properly, the small opening that opens and closes to release urine will keep the bladder closed until you can use the bathroom. During pregnancy and then menopause, your pelvic floor muscles will be less able to hold the urine in and the sphincter can open unexpectedly.

With age, and as a woman gets closer to menopause, hormone levels drop steadily. Hormones work to keep your bladder and urethra healthy. Lower levels of estrogen and testosterone can cause pelvic floor muscles to become weak. As these hormone levels continue to drop during menopause, UI symptoms can become worse.

Urge Incontinence is a little different than stress incontinence. Urge incontinence causes women to lose control entirely or too quickly. They might feel the urge to go but are not able to reach a bathroom in time. The relationship between your menopause and bladder results in an overactive bladder, which urges you to pee constantly.

Consider Adding Some Cranberry To Your Diet

Research supports the benefit ofcompounds found in cranberries, known as proanthocyanidins , for reducing the risk of getting a UTI. If given a chance, bacteria that enter the urinary tract will attach themselves to the inside surface of the bladder wall.

Studies have shown that it takes36 mg ofproanthocyanidins to help fend off bacteria from sticking to your bladder wall before they have a chance to hang around and cause an infection. You can get this level of PACs in 8-10 oz of 27% cranberry juice, 1 ½ cups of fresh cranberries, ½ cup of cranberry sauce, and 1 ounce of sweetened dried cranberries.

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What Are Uti Symptoms For Women After Menopause

UTIs may present themselves differently in postmenopausal women. The typical features of UTI should next be examined: urinary urgency, frequency, dysuria, hesitancy, and low back pain. Because postmenopausal women may not present to the clinician with typical UTI symptoms, it is important to investigate for atypical UTI presentations. Symptoms of increasing mental confusion, incontinence, unexplained falls, loss of appetite, and nocturia are atypical clinical manifestations that may occur in the older postmenopausal female:

  • Urosepsis or septic shock .
  • Have symptoms only of urinary incontinence or a combination of symptoms.
  • Mental changes or confusion, nausea or vomiting, abdominal pain, or cough, and shortness of breath.
  • A study of women aged 18 to 87 years revealed that a generalized sense of feeling out of sorts was frequent in adult women with acute uncomplicated lower UTI.

Read Part Two Of Dr Kim Series On Menopause :

Mayo Clinic Minute: Treating Urinary Tract Infections


Jung, C., & Brubaker, L. . The etiology and management of recurrent urinary tract infections in postmenopausal women. Climacteric : the journal of the International Menopause Society, 22, 242249.
Pearce MM et al. The female urinary microbiome: a comparison of women with and without urgency urinary incontinence. MBio 5, e0128314 (2014
Schneeweiss J, Koch M & Umek W The human urinary microbiome and how it relates to urogynecology. Int. Urogynecol. J. 27, 13071312 .
Siddiqui H, Lagesen K, Nederbragt AJ, Jeansson SL & Jakobsen KS Alterations of microbiota in urine from women with interstitial cystitis. BMC Microbiol. 12, 205 .
Hooton TM Recurrent urinary tract infection in women. Int. J. Antimicrob. Agents 17, 259268 .
Mody L & Juthani-Mehta M Urinary tract infections in older women. JAMA J. Am. Med. Assoc 311, 844854 .
Raz R et al. Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections in Postmenopausal Women. Clin. Infect. Dis 30, 152156 .
Terlizzi, M. E., Gribaudo, G., & Maffei, M. E. . UroPathogenic Escherichia coli Infections: Virulence Factors, Bladder Responses, Antibiotic, and Non-antibiotic Antimicrobial Strategies. Frontiers in microbiology, 8, 1566.

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Urinary Tract Infections And Cystitis Factsheet

UTIs refer to infections of your bladder , the urethra and your kidneys, and they can affect more than half of women at some time in their lives.

What are the signs of a UTI?

When you have a UTI, the lining of your bladder and/or urethra can become inflamed, and your urethra can be very sensitive. Common symptoms include:

  • Discomfort, pain or a stinging/burning sensation when you pass urine
  • Needing to pass urine more frequently or suddenly feeling very desperate to go
  • Needing to pass urine more at night time
  • A constant feeling that you need to pass urine, even when your bladder is almost empty
  • An ache in your lower tummy
  • Cloudy, dark and / or strong-smelling urine, which may contain blood
  • You may experience confusion or heightened brain fog
  • You may have signs of a high temperature or unusually low temperature
  • If the infection spreads to your kidneys you may feel more unwell, with fever, nausea and vomiting. If this happens its important to see your GP.

What causes UTIs?

Sometimes UTIs, like cystitis, can also be triggered after sexual intercourse.

How to treat UTIs when you have one

There are a few self-help measures that can help ease the symptoms of a UTI and reduce the risk of recurrence.

  • When you first notice symptoms, try to drink plenty of water
  • Avoid strong coffee, tea, acidic fruit juices and fizzy drinks, as these can make symptoms worse
  • Take a painkiller such as paracetamol or ibuprofen

How to prevent UTIs from occurring

When to see your GP

Further resources

Menopause And Uti: Recurrent Uti That Wont Go Away

Maybe itâs been a few months and you were thinking, âoh, yay, finally no more UTIs,â but on your next trip to the bathroom, the burn and ache say otherwise.

Urinary tract infections are incredibly common among women. Some experts say half or more of all women will have at least one in their lifetime. Lets discuss what you need to know about menopause and UTIs.

Read Also: How To Detect Urinary Tract Infection

Can Vaginal Atrophy Be Prevented

A womans body naturally secretes less estrogen with age. This cannot be prevented. Without intervention, its unlikely that the ovaries will make more of the hormone.

However, there are ways to keep vaginal atrophy from getting worse. Avoid tight-fitting clothing, panty liners, perineal pads and any of the following that you may find irritating to your vagina:

Menopause And Your Urinary Tract

Urinary incontinence â the loss of bladder control â is a common and ...

It has been debated whether the changes in a woman’s urinary tract with age are due to menopause and the lack of estrogen or are related to the aging process alone. However, it is known that the bladder is loaded with estrogen receptors, so the reduction of estrogen that happens in menopause probably doesn’t help.

With age, the bladder begins to lose both its volume and its elasticity, and it’s normal to have to go to the bathroom more frequently. As the bacteria concentration in your genital region increases your urethra may thin, allowing bacteria easier access to your bladder. For these reasons, urinary tract infections are more common as women age. This risk begins to increase within four or five years of your final menstrual period.

The bladder also begins to thin, leaving women more susceptible to incontinence, particularly if certain chronic illnesses or recurrent urinary tract infections are also present.

The pelvic muscles weaken as you age. You may find that exercise, coughing, laughing, lifting heavy objects, or performing any other movement that puts pressure on the bladder can cause small amounts of urine to leak. Lack of regular physical exercise may also contribute to this condition.

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