Menopause, along with pregnancy and childbirth, has been acknowledged by medical experts as one of the main causes for the occurrence of pelvic floor disorders (PFD), particularly stress urinary incontinence (SUI), the most common form of PFD. Over 40 percent of menopausal women have been estimated to suffer SUI, with risk of surgery increasing by 20 percent when these women reach 80 years of age.
Below are reasons for this occurrence which will provide women a better understanding and hopefully will help in addressing these very common disorders.
Weak Pelvic Floor Muscles
As one gets older, just like the rest of the muscles in the body, the pelvic floor muscles also start to weaken and lose mass. Studies have shown that muscle strength deteriorates by five percent every decade after the age of 30. Menopause has been closely tied with the ageing process with women experiencing this stage between the ages of 45 and 55 years.
Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI) may result when the pelvic floor muscles lose strength since it may not be able to support pelvic organs such as the bladder and bowel causing these to descend or drop from their normal positions towards the vaginal wall.
Bladder Becomes Less Elastic
The bladder may also become less elastic as one grows in age, very similar to the weakening of the muscles. The muscles of the bladder may become overactive with this loss of elasticity since this irritates the bladder making it difficult to stretch. Stress incontinence or frequent urination may result which is made worse by the weakening of the pelvic floor muscles.
Loss of Estrogen
The association of menopause and the loss of the hormone estrogen has long been established by medical experts. Once the level of estrogen drops, vaginal dryness in the vaginal lining and urethra may be experienced by the woman. The onset of incontinence and other pelvic disorders such as urinary tract infections may be hastened with this dryness.
Even before the onset of menopause, women start to gain weight as they grow older. Due to several other factors, this weight gain becomes more pronounced as women enter the menopausal stage.
Weakening of the pelvic floor muscles may result with any additional weight since this tends to put a strain on these muscles. The muscles may not be able to support the bladder and bowel leading to incontinence once this happens.
Although menopause may be considered as an inevitable occurrence in a woman’s life, this does not mean that one has just to live with it. As proven by clinical trials, there are many things a woman may do to prevent or manage these conditions without undergoing invasive treatments. In addressing these problems, behavioral and lifestyle changes have been shown to be very effective, even allowing women to maintain a positive quality of life.
With these conservative measures, it is hoped that a woman suffering from POP or SUI may not have to undergo a surgical procedure for treatment. This option may only put unnecessary risks to women, in light of the controversy surrounding vaginal mesh surgeries. Severe complications associated with these procedures, which have become very common recommendations among doctors, have resulted causing serious injuries to women.
These victims, due to the pain and suffering they experienced, have been compelled to take legal actions such as filing of vaginal mesh lawsuits. These lawsuits have been moving quite satisfactorily, with the latest news highlighting a court ruling, saying a jury’s verdict to award $2 million in damages as a sound decision.