Vitamin D deficiency is more common at this time of year because daylight hours are shorter and UV levels are low, making it difficult for the body to synthesise vitamin D. The vitamin plays an integral role in healthy function of the body, helping with the absorption of calcium for strong bones and teeth and keeping the immune system in good shape. If a deficiency develops, symptoms such as tiredness, muscle weakness and bone pain may occur.
But one symptom many people may not associate with the condition is urinary incontinence.
Vitamin D deficiency may contribute to pelvic floor disorders, such as urinary and decal incontinence, according to one study.
“Higher vitamin D levels were associated with decreased risk of any pelvic floor disorder in all women,” said researcher Samuel Badalian of SUNY Update Medical University in Syracuse, New York, and colleagues in Obstetrics & Gynecology.
He added: “Given the increase in the number of patients with pelvic floor disorders, further evaluation of the road of vitamin D is warranted.”
Having urinary incontinence means you pass urine unintentionally, explains the NHS.
When and how this happens varies depending on the type of urinary incontinence you have.
The health body advises: “It’s a good idea to see your GP if you have urinary incontinence.
“It’s a common problem, and seeing your GP can be the first step towards finding a ay to effectively manage it.”
Other symptoms of vitamin D deficiency many wouldn’t necessarily associate with the condition are hair loss and chest pain.
Research has demonstrated that lack of vitamin D can lead to hair loss because vitamin D stimulates new and old hair follicles.
When there isn’t enough of the vitamin in your body new hair growth can be stunted.
Deficiency in the vitamin has also been linked to alopecia, a condition which causes bald patches on the scalp and hair loss in other areas of the body.
Another study, ‘Serum ferritin and vitamin d in female hair loss: do the play a role?’, found women 18 to 45 years old who experienced alopecia or other types of hair loss had low levels of vitamin D
If you feel pain when you press on your breastbone, also known as the sternum, which is located in the middle of your chest, this could be a sign of vitamin D deficiency says Karen Langston, a spokesperson for the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.
Speaking to Arthritis Foundation she added: “The biggest concern [of vitamin D deficiency] is osteomalacia, or the softening of the bones.
“In children, it’s called rickets. It also can cause brittle bones, weak muscles.
“Other symptoms are fractures of the hip and pelvis, bone pain and tenderness, tooth decay and hearing loss because the bones in the ear become soft.”