Incontinence is not a life-threatening condition, but it can still have an impact on your well-being. It’s not just your physical health that may be affected. Incontinence can also take an emotional toll.
Although everyone handles a physical condition differently, it’s common for emotional issues to occur when incontinence develops. For example, someone with incontinence may feel anxious about urine leakage in public and start to avoid social situations. Decreasing social contact can be isolating and lead to loneliness. In extreme cases, it can cause someone to become reclusive.
Incontinence may leave someone feeling helpless or anxious, which can lead to depression. According to research published in the World Journal of Urology, a significant number of people who have incontinence also have depression.
It’s also common for people who have incontinence to feel embarrassed about their situation, especially if incontinence is severe. Embarrassment may cause a person to avoid intimacy with a partner and decrease self-confidence.
What makes the situation worse is many people do not want to discuss their condition. Typically, if you have a medical problem, you might go to your healthcare provider and discuss the situation. But some people are reluctant to discuss incontinence even with their doctor.
Coping with Incontinence
The first step in dealing with incontinence is acknowledging the problem. Ignoring the issue won’t make it go away. Remember, incontinence is nothing to be ashamed about. There is a medical reason why it develops. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to improve emotional wellbeing.
Visit your healthcare provider: One of the first things to do is discuss the situation with your doctor. There are several treatments for incontinence, which may decrease symptoms, such as medication, pelvic floor exercises and lifestyle changes.
Seek support: Sometimes talking with someone who is experiencing the same issue can be helpful. Having a medical condition can make you feel alone. Talking with others who have the same problem may provide support, resource information and tips on coping. In-person and online support are available for people with incontinence.
Educate yourself: Learning more about incontinence causes and treatments can help you feel more in control. Educating yourself allows you to make informed decisions about what treatment is best for you.Use incontinence products: Products designed for incontinence offer protection from leaks, odor and skin breakdown. Using the right product can help you feel more confident and prevent you from being afraid to go out and live your life to the fullest.