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BY: Alice Lesch Kelly
A few laugh lines, some gray hairs: You expect these sorts of shifts as you leave your 20s (or 30s or 40s) behind. But sometimes, physical changes can perplex even the most health-savvy women, making them wonder if a new symptom is a harmless part of ageing or a cue that something is wrong. Here are four common cases that make you wonder too:
1. You pee a little when you sneeze.
Up to 37 percent of Australian women experience urinary incontinence, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. The New Zealand Continence Association also reports that incontinence is common in New Zealand with about 17 percent of women noting a problem.
As women age, or if they have had multiple babies, the small muscle that is responsible for keeping the bladder closed can become weak. A sneeze or cough can cause it to allow a little leak of urine. It’s even more likely if your bladder is full.
What you can do: Tighten the muscle with Kegel exercises. If you know how to stop a stream of urine while you’re peeing, you know how to do a Kegel. Do 10 Kegels three to five times a day -- hold each one for a count of 10. Also, do a Kegel whenever you feel a sneeze or cough coming on.
2. You wake up with a headache nearly every day.
Morning headaches may be due to bruxism -- the subconscious grinding of teeth that often occurs while you’re asleep. Grinding teeth causes headaches by overworking the temporal mandibular joint, or TMJ. The muscles in the jaw and neck can become painful and sore, and this can spread to the typical headache locations as well.
What you can do: Talk with your doctor or dentist. If your bruxism is being caused by stress, you can ask your practitioner to recommend relaxation techniques to rest your tongue, jaw and lips correctly, says Dr. Michael Adams, an Adelaide dentist. Pain from grinding can be soothed with heat and anti-inflammatories. Also, wearing a mouth guard during sleep can protect your teeth and prevent waking up with pain.
3. You misplace your keys, forget to turn off appliances and get lost more often.
As you get older, it’s quite normal to forget things at times. But while hormonal changes worsen your memory, frequent gaps in recollection and difficulty doing familiar tasks can signal dementia.
What you can do: You can expect to forget where you put your keys now and then, but see a doctor if you are forgetting to turn off appliances, getting lost when you’re outside, becoming withdrawn, and constantly needing to be reoriented to time, place or story. Be sure to take it easy as you get older too. Researchers from Sweden’s University of Gothenburg discovered a link between stress and dementia.
4. You’ve been getting recurrent bladder infections for several months.
Frequent bladder infections may be a sign of Type 2 diabetes, warns Diabetes New Zealand. When blood sugar is too high, it acts as a diuretic, causing an increase in thirst and urination. Diabetes also alters the immune system and can make you more susceptible to a bladder infection.
What you can do: See your doctor if you have any kind of recurrent infection or if you have other diabetes symptoms, such as increased thirst or blurry vision.
Like this article? Comment below or connect with us @OralCareHealth (Australia & New Zealand)
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