What Now? Advice for Newbies from the Depend Community
When you first start experiencing leaks – whether a trickle or a surge – it can send your head spinning with anxiety and confusion. What should you do next? Who can you turn to for advice?
A few months back, we posted a query on our Depend.com forums, requesting helpful tips for those who new to incontinence. As expected, our members shared some wonderful advice, which we’ve summarized here.
Know that you’re not alone. According to the National Association for Continence, “one-third of men and women ages 30-70 have experienced loss of bladder control at some point in their adult lives and may be still living with the symptoms.” That means that one in three of people with whom you interact (in that age range) are managing incontinence. One community member advised, “Don’t be discouraged, there are MILLIONS of us out there who have plumbing problems to some degree or another. You may feel like you are the only one, but that is so far from the truth.”
Get medical attention. Even if you’re only experiencing urgency or small leaks, you should still see your doctor to find out why and what can be done. There are so many different causes – from overactive bladder to damaged nerves – and each one presents unique treatment options. If you don’t feel comfortable with your doctor’s recommendations for testing and treatment, considering getting a second opinion, perhaps seeing a urologist, a gastroenterologist or a pelvic floor therapist. Explore and try different options before you decide which one/s will work best for you.
Tell someone. While it can be challenging to discuss with others, incontinence is caused by a medical condition. You can give up any shame or self-blame you feel in discussing it with your loved ones. If you take the risk and talk about it, you’re inviting them to be closer to you and you may be surprised by their supportive responses.
You can also join the [url http://depend.com/articles-discussion]Depend.com discussion forums[/url] to converse with others who know exactly what you’re going through. Talking about something like incontinence can help you release any fear you have of being discovered or having to hide your condition.
Experiment with protection. Different types of protection work for different situations, times of day and even body types. Experiment and try pads, briefs, adjustable underwear, and maximum absorbent protection with tabs. Certain fits and styles may suit you better than others for daytime use, outings (and proximity to restrooms) and overnights. You can experiment with sizes (and styles for men) using the Depend [url http://depend.com/starter-kit]Fit Kit for Women or Men[/url].
Don’t worry, people won’t automatically know. In the beginning, you may be supersensitive to your use of protection, particularly of being found out because of the required thicker undergarments under your clothing. “99.99% of people will never know what you are wearing,” noted one Depend community participant. Besides, with one of three adults between the ages of 30 and 70 using protection at some point or another, if it was noticeable, wouldn’t you have noticed someone else’s by now?
To help with discretion, our male commenters suggest wearing dark colored pants, one size larger than necessary to ensure a good fit with your protection. Women frequently recommend wearing slimming garment, tights or control top hosiery for compression and better fit under work clothes.
Keep a stash handy at work and in your car. It’s not uncommon these days for both men and women to carry a backpack, briefcase or messenger bag, which can be used for carrying a change of clothing and extra protection wherever you’re going. Extra rash cream, cleansing wipes and large zip-close plastic bags for disposal are handy, too.
Know that it will get easier. We often hear “this is hard” or “this is so embarrassing” from people just beginning to adjust to incontinence. We also hear “it gets easier” from those who have been managing their condition for decades. You will figure it out and you will adjust. Fortunately for all of us, human beings are resilient that way.
What about you? Do you have any tips for newbies? Or any questions for those who have it all worked out?