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Incontinence and bladder problems

Information for women, their partners and families about incontinence and other common bladder conditions experienced during and after the menopause.

Bladder problems after the menopause

The fall in the level of the hormone estrogen that occurs around the time of the menopause can cause a range of bladder problems. Common symptoms are:

  • Frequency - an increased need to urinate
  • Urgency - a sudden urgent desire to urinate
  • Nocturia - the need to wake and pass urine during the night

More information about the impact of the menopause on the bladder is available from:

Preventing bladder problems and urinary incontinence

It’s not always possible to prevent incontinence, but the following may help reduce the chance of it developing:

  • Controlling your weight
  • Avoiding or cutting down on alcohol
  • Keeping fit - in particular, making sure your pelvic floor muscles are strong

More information about preventing urinary incontinence is available from:

Treating and managing bladder problems and urinary incontinence

Your healthcare practitioner may recommend that you undergo a medical procedure to treat and manage your incontinence or bladder condition. There are a number of different procedures, and the links below provide information about the various options.

Some operations involve the use of mesh or tape - see below for more information

Mesh and tape

As of July 11 2018, use of mesh for incontinence has been paused while extra safety measures are put in place.

If you have had vaginal mesh inserted and think you are experiencing complications, or you want to find out about the risks involved, speak to your GP. You can also report a problem with a medicine or medical device on GOV.UK. https://www.gov.uk/report-problem-medicine-medical-device

In a number of operations for stress urinary incontinence, mesh or tape (supporting material) is used to provide additional support to tissues. It is currently recommended that operations using mesh are only performed by specialists with expertise in this technique and only after a full discussion about the benefits and risks of such surgery with the woman.

The NHS has developed a leaflet that provides information about the use of mesh in the treatment of stress urinary incontinence:

For more information about mesh, please visit our mesh page to access a range of resources to support your informed decision-making.

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