In your 50s
This occurs when the muscles in the pelvic floor that surround the bladder are weakened. It is often caused by pregnancy, childbirth or the menopause.
About six out of 10 cases of incontinence can be cured or improved with exercises. But if that doesn't work, then surgery to support the muscles below the bladder may be advised. The other option is medication. Duloxetine, usually used to treat depression, has recently been found to help with stress incontinence. It's thought to work by making the muscles around the urethra contract more strongly.
If you haven't had a period for 12 successive months and then you bleed again - no matter how briefly - it's considered to be post-menopausal bleeding. It's relatively common - up to 30 per cent of menopausal women experience this. Often it is the result of some forms of HRT or a symptom of a condition called hyperplasia of the uterus.
In the worst-case scenario it can be a sign of cancer of the womb. Most women will be referred to hospital for an ultrasound, biopsy or hysteroscopy to try to find out the cause. Treatments range from a ‘wait and see' approach to hormones or, in the case of cancer, a hysterectomy. David Sturdee, president of the International Menopause Society, says, ‘The cause of post-menopausal bleeding always needs to be identified. Most cases are resolved without a hospital admission.'
This happens when the muscles and ligaments making up the pelvic floor are weakened by giving birth and the normal ageing process. This can cause the womb to move out of position.
The most common symptom is a sensation of ‘something falling down below'. A prolapse may also cause difficulties with sexual intercourse. It can be treated with surgery where the weakened muscles of the pelvic floor are pulled together with stitches to make it stronger.