Ask Marilyn: Since the menopause started I keep leaking a little urine. Are there any natural ways to stop this?

Q: Since the menopause started every time I sneeze, cough, laugh or run I can’t stop leaking a little urine. Are there any natural ways to stop this happening?


A: About half of women experience ‘stress incontinence’ in the menopause because levels of the hormone oestrogen –which keeps the muscles at the base of the bladder tight and strong – decrease. Performing pelvic floor workouts or Kegel exercises to help strengthen your pelvic muscles can help combat the problem. To find out which muscles you need to use, stop urinating midstream by contacting your muscles; these are your pelvic floor muscles. Use these muscles to perform a Kegel; contract and hold for a count of five and then relax. Repeat 10 times at least five times a day and you should notice a big improvement. You can also practise stopping the flow of urine when you go to the toilet. There are some really good pelvic toners on the market now that help with stress incontinence and are very easy to use. There are two that I would particularly recommend, so for more information on these go to or call 0845 8800915. 


Retraining your bladder may also help. Begin by allowing yourself one trip to the toilet every hour for a week and then the following week extend the time between trips by half an hour. Continue until you can hold your urine for three hours at a time. This exercise teaches your bladder to hold more urine and become less sensitive when full.


Don’t be tempted to drink less if you are prone to incontinence. Restricting your fluid intake won’t stop leaks. In fact it can make things worse by producing highly concentrated urine that irritates the bladder. Drink lots of water instead. You’ll know when you are hydrated if your urine appears clear to pale yellow. If it’s dark yellow you aren’t drinking enough. And finally, as your symptoms are linked to lowering levels of oestrogen be sure to eat plenty of phytoestrogens (plant oestrogens) found in soya, legumes and nuts and seeds.

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