Menopause & Urinary Infections

urinary infections
Urinary infections can be an uncomfortable, even painful, companion to menopause. And multiple trips to the loo in the middle of the night are not what you need when insomnia is already an issue. Dr Stephanie Goodwin, a London-based GP and menopause specialist, explains what you can do.

Can menopause bring on urinary infections?

Yes, because around the time of the menopause, there are often changes in the vaginal tissues and the urethra (where urine comes out of the bladder) due to low oestrogen levels. This can cause significant urinary symptoms.

What are the symptoms to watch out for with urinary infections?

Women are more likely to get urinary infections with pain on passing urine, increased frequency of passing urine or passing blood in the urine.

Can urinary infections be treated?

Yes, you usually need treatment with antibiotics.

Will antibiotics always do the trick?

Not necessarily. I often see women who still have problems because they’ve been treated with antibiotics when there hasn’t been an infection there. This is because the urethra is very delicate and when oestrogen levels fall, it becomes even more delicate and prone to inflammation.  So the symptoms of urethral inflammation can be very similar to an infection but antibiotics won’t help. Women are more likely to experience this after intercourse.

If intercourse is painful with a urinary infection, what can be done to help?

To reduce these symptoms, using lubricants during intercourse can be very helpful.  You should also remember to pass urine just before and just after sex in order to reduce the risk of a full blown infection.

Any other remedies for menopause urinary infections?

Oestrogen inserted into the vagina in tiny capsules is also extremely helpful and can reduce the frequency of infections, discomfort and getting up in the night to pass urine.  Some women who leak urine when they cough or sneeze (stress incontinence ) or who have urinary urgency also improve with vaginal oestrogen. Vaginal oestrogen tablets are licensed for indefinite use in women after the menopause.

Read more from Dr Stephanie Goodwin and find out about her clinic, at www.drstephaniegoodwin.co.uk

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