Menopause and 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.

What to do about menopausal urinary infections

Menopausal urinary infections are not uncommon. At menopause, there are often changes in the vaginal tissues and urethra due to low oestrogen levels. This can cause significant urinary symptoms.

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

Watch out for 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 they haven’t had an infection. This is because the urethra is very delicate. 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.

And if intercourse is painful with a urinary infection?

To reduce these symptoms, using lubricants during intercourse can be very helpful.  Do 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. It 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 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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