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Written by

Kate Dyson

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Kate is a content specialist who is passionate about women's health. She's also mum to three kids, two dogs and unsurprisingly, a lover of wine.

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Glossary

For words you might want to know more

Menopause and bladder health

The relationship between menopausal hormonal changes and their impact on bladder function, including increased susceptibility to urinary symptoms and urinary tract infections.

Overactive bladder (OAB)

Describes a condition characterised by a sudden and uncontrollable urge to urinate, often exacerbated by hormonal changes during menstruation.

Pelvic floor exercises

These exercises, such as Kegels, target the muscles that support bladder control and can help reduce urinary leakage and improve overall bladder function.

Time to give up booze for your bladder health?

Did you know that alcohol is a massive trigger for your bladder leaks? You might have noticed the connection after drinking - but even the odd glass or two can result in significant issues with your bladder in the long term.

During menopause, many women find that their body processes alcohol differently to when they were younger. Who remembers bouncing out of bed after a particularly hard session the night before when they were in their early 20s, compared to the struggle for days in our 40s? This is because as we age, our liver especially struggles to metabolise toxins such as alcohol in the same way it did when we were younger. But what about the bladder?

Let's take a closer look at the relationship between alcohol and our bladder.

Why does it make me pee more?

Ethanol, the primary component of alcohol, acts as a potent diuretic, stimulating the kidneys to produce more urine. This increased urine production leads to more frequent trips to the restroom and can exacerbate bladder overactivity and urgency. Moreover, the diuretic effect of alcohol contributes to dehydration, reducing the body's overall fluid volume and concentrating urine, which can irritate the bladder lining.

How does alcohol irritate the bladder?

Alcohol, particularly in high concentrations or when consumed in excess, can irritate the bladder lining. This irritation triggers inflammation and heightens bladder sensitivity, leading to symptoms such as urgency, frequency, and in some cases, bladder pain. Chronic exposure to alcohol-induced bladder irritation may contribute to the development of bladder overactivity and exacerbate pre-existing bladder conditions.

How does it affect control of the bladder?

Alcohol disrupts the intricate balance of neurotransmitters and receptors involved in bladder control. Specifically, it interferes with the function of the detrusor muscle, responsible for bladder contraction, and the urethral sphincter muscles, which regulate urine flow. This disruption can manifest as bladder overactivity, characterised by involuntary contractions and a sudden urge to urinate, as well as impaired muscle coordination, leading to urinary leakage and incontinence.

Can alcohol cause UTIs?

Alcohol consumption compromises the body's immune response and disrupts the natural microbial balance within the urinary tract. The combination of dehydration, bladder irritation, and immune suppression creates an environment conducive to bacterial growth and colonisation. Consequently, individuals who consume alcohol regularly may experience an increased incidence of urinary tract infections (UTIs), characterised by symptoms such as burning urination, frequency, and urgency.

How does menopause play a part?

Menopause brings significant changes to a woman's body, including a decline in oestrogen levels that can affect bladder health. With oestrogen playing a crucial role in maintaining bladder function and pelvic floor muscles, this hormonal shift can lead to increased bladder irritability and sensitivity. As a result, women experiencing menopausal symptoms may find that even moderate alcohol consumption exacerbates urinary symptoms and discomfort, highlighting the importance of understanding how menopause impacts alcohol metabolism and bladder health.

In addition to hormonal changes, menopause can also affect how the body processes alcohol. Liver function may decline with age, impacting alcohol metabolism and potentially prolonging exposure to alcohol byproducts in the bloodstream. This can exacerbate bladder irritation and urinary symptoms, particularly in the context of menopausal hormonal changes. With increased susceptibility to urinary tract infections and alterations in the urinary microbiome during menopause, adopting a comprehensive approach to bladder health and practicing moderation in alcohol consumption becomes crucial for supporting urinary function and overall well-being during this transformative phase of life.

Try alcohol -free alternatives

Embrace bladder-friendly alternatives like mocktails, crafted from non-alcoholic ingredients for a refreshing sensory experience without the adverse effects of alcohol. You'll find lots of alternatives here, too.

De-alcoholised wine retains the essence of traditional wine with reduced alcohol content, ideal for wine enthusiasts aiming to cut back. Prioritise hydration with water and bladder-friendly beverages to maintain urinary tract health and reduce the risk of bladder irritation and UTIs.

Practice mindful drinking by setting limits and alternating alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic options to support bladder health during social gatherings. Seek support from healthcare professionals if struggling with alcohol consumption or experiencing persistent bladder symptoms, as addressing underlying issues can lead to improved overall well-being.

Jude’s clinically proven supplements give you better bladder and pelvic floor control, helping you sleep through the night and regain the freedom to live life on your own terms. With just one capsule morning and night, you'll have relief from need-to-go urgency in just 12 weeks.

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