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Kate Dyson

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Kate is a content writer, social media obsessive and community creator. 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

Hormonal fluctuations

Refers to the natural changes in estrogen, progesterone, and prostaglandin levels throughout the menstrual cycle, which can impact bladder function and lead to increased urinary urgency.

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.

Why do I need to pee more on my period?

Have you ever found that during your period, you feel the urge to pee more? If so, you aren't going mad, it's a real link between our hormones and our menstrual cycle.

For many women, the monthly menstrual cycle isn't just about dealing with cramps and mood swings; it can also bring about changes in urinary habits, including increased urgency and even leaks. While it might seem like an inconvenient coincidence, there's actually a strong biological connection between your hormones, menstrual cycle, and bladder function.

Hormones at Play

To understand why your bladder might act differently during your period, we need to delve into the role of hormones. Oestrogen and progesterone, the hormones that are part of your menstrual cycle, have a profound impact on various bodily functions, including bladder control.

During the first half of your cycle, oestrogen levels rise, leading up to ovulation. Oestrogen has a relaxing effect on the muscles in your bladder and urethra, which can help maintain bladder control and reduce urgency.

As you move closer to ovulation and into the second half of your cycle, progesterone takes over. Unlike oestrogen, progesterone has a slightly different effect on bladder muscles. Instead of relaxing them, progesterone can make them more sensitive and prone to contraction, increasing the sensation of urgency.

The Menstrual Shift

When your period is on the horizon, both estrogen and progesterone levels drop rapidly. This hormonal shift can cause a disruption in the delicate balance of your bladder muscles, leading to increased urgency and even leaks.

Additionally, prostaglandins, hormone-like substances produced by the body during menstruation to aid in uterine contractions, can also affect bladder function. Prostaglandins may irritate the bladder, leading to heightened sensitivity and a greater urge to urinate.

Understanding Overactive Bladder (OAB)

For some women, the urinary urgency experienced during menstruation may be indicative of a condition known as overactive bladder (OAB). OAB is characterised by a sudden and uncontrollable urge to urinate, often accompanied by frequency and nocturia (waking up to urinate at night).

While the exact cause of OAB is not fully understood, hormonal fluctuations, particularly those associated with the menstrual cycle, can play a significant role in triggering symptoms.

For women with OAB, the hormonal changes that occur during menstruation may exacerbate bladder symptoms, leading to increased urgency and leakage.

Managing Menstrual-Related Bladder Symptoms

If you find yourself dealing with urinary urgency or leaks during your period, there are steps you can take to manage symptoms and improve bladder control:

Stay Hydrated

Although it may seem counterintuitive, staying hydrated can help dilute urine and reduce irritation to the bladder. Aim to drink plenty of water throughout the day, but be mindful of caffeine and alcohol intake, as these can exacerbate bladder symptoms.

Practice Bladder Training

Bladder training involves gradually increasing the time between bathroom trips to help retrain your bladder to hold urine for longer periods. Start by delaying urination by a few minutes and gradually increase the interval over time.

Do your Pelvic Floor Exercises

Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles through exercises such as Kegels can help improve bladder control and reduce urinary leakage. Aim to perform pelvic floor exercises regularly to strengthen the muscles that support bladder function.

Manage Stress

Stress can exacerbate bladder symptoms, so finding ways to manage stress and relax can be beneficial. Incorporate stress-reducing activities such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises into your daily routine.

Speak to your GP

If you're experiencing persistent or severe bladder symptoms during your period, it's important to see your GP. They can evaluate your symptoms, rule out any infection and make appropriate referrals as necessary

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