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Living With Incontinence? You’re Not Alone

by | Apr 1, 2022 | Blog

It’s thought that millions are affected by incontinence, both men and women. Yet even though incontinence can affect people of all ages, many of us are too embarrassed or uncomfortable to talk about it.

However, it’s only by talking about it that you can find your way to a solution or to things that can help you to live well with incontinence.

Speaking with your doctor should be your first step, and while it may feel awkward this will ease over time.

The different types of incontinence

You may be surprised to learn that there are lots of different types of incontinence that can affect people.

  • Stress
    This is the most common type of incontinence and can be a result of a weakened pelvic floor
  • Urge
    Also sometimes known as unstable or overactive incontinence.
  • Faecal  
    This is bowel incontinence.
  • Mixed
    This is where people have a combination of stress and urge incontinence.
  • Overflow
    Often caused by a blockage or obstruction preventing your bladder from emptying properly.
  • Nocturnal Enuresis
    Also known as bedwetting. It’s incontinence that happens at night when you’re sleeping.

Separating the myths from the facts

Perhaps because many of us are so reluctant to talk about incontinence, there are a lot of myths out there that simply aren’t true. Here we debunk some popular misconceptions.

Myth: “I can control it by drinking less”

In reality, you can actually make your incontinence worse by not drinking enough, as this can cause bladder irritation.

What could actually be contributing to your incontinence is the type of drink you’re having, as too many caffeinated drinks, alcohol or some fruit juices can be irritating to your bladder. If in doubt, it’s usually better to drink water for hydration.

Myth: “It’s just because I’m getting old”

You don’t have to accept incontinence as a part of getting older and shrug it off. Incontinence can have many different causes, so it’s always important to speak to your doctor as they will be able to offer you help and support.

Myth: “I don’t need an incontinence pad, I can just use a sanitary pad”

Sanitary pads are designed for use during your menstrual cycle, they’re not designed for use with urine, meaning you’ll likely end up feeling very uncomfortable and irritated. You should always use incontinence pads or pants as these are specially designed to deal with urine.

Myth: “There’s nothing that can be done about incontinence”

This is not true. There are lifestyle changes you can try and treatment options available, depending on what type of incontinence you have. The key thing is to speak to your GP who can help you out.

There are also a variety of incontinence products that will help you go about your day in confidence, knowing you’re protected against leaks.

Myth: “I can’t talk about it, it’s only affecting me”

You are not alone in experiencing incontinence and there is help and support out there. Incontinence can affect your mental health as well as your physical, which can have a knock-on effect into all areas of your life.

You are not alone. Please speak with your GP for help and support with incontinence.

Tips for living with incontinence

Consider what you drink

Alcohol and caffeinated drinks can all irritate your bladder, so try to reduce the amount of these you drink. Cut them out altogether, if possible.

Download an app to find a nearby toilet

It can be incredibly stressful to urgently need a toilet and not know if there’s one you can use nearby. There are free apps available for Android and Apple phones that can tell you where your nearest toilet is.

Get a RADAR key

The RADAR National Key Scheme lets those with a RADAR key get access to locked public toilets, like those found in places like shopping centres or train stations. It’s small enough to carry with you and you can get a version with a larger head.