Refusing to Give in to Stigma: 6 Things You Can Do Right Now to Feel Better About Your Leaky Bladder
When you’re dealing with bladder leaks, you may feel embarrassed, or even ashamed, of not being able to control a basic bodily function. So how can you avoid letting stigma about bladder leaks cause you to hide out at home? As the National Association for Continence (NAFC) puts it, “Let’s get past the embarrassment and get on with our lives!”
Here are six things you can do right now that should help:
Reframe how you think about it.
Fight negative feelings by reminding yourself that your leaks are caused by a medical condition AND you’re in good company. Over 65 million people of all ages in the U.S. manage incontinence as part of their daily lives. It’s not a character flaw or a purposeful behavior; it’s a medical condition. If someone feels comfortable making fun of it, that’s their character flaw, not yours.
If you haven’t already, get to the doctor!
According to the NAFC, 80% of people who experience bladder leaks will see improvement or even elimination of their bladder leaks when they pursue medical treatment. Most medical conditions that cause incontinence can be treated. If you’re waiting to see a doctor because it’s embarrassing, remember that urologists spend all day, every day with people just like you. It’s no big thing and you’re not unusual to them.
Don’t let leaks sideline you.
There are so many ways to manage incontinence, from absorbent pads to Depend® underwear in assorted styles. If an accident happens while you’re trying to figure out the most effective product, learn from it and then shake it off. Our product selector is a great place to get started. Experiment to discover what works best for you, then get out there and live your life.
Do your homework.
Knowledge really is power. Learn as much as you can about your condition. Join online communities (like the one at Depend.com) so you can converse with others who live with leaks and get answers to questions you have about living an active lifestyle.
Confide in a close friend or relative.
Keeping your incontinence under wraps can be exhausting. While you may be hesitant to share your story, when you share the basic facts about your condition with someone compassionate, you may be surprised by how much better you feel. Plus, your friends and family might not be as judgmental as you think. You may even find yourself wondering, "Why did I wait?"
When you’re taking good care of your body – paying attention to the nutritional value of your food, exercising regularly, taking time to relax and rejuvenate, drinking enough water – you will feel better physically, mentally and emotionally. When you feel good, you’re more likely to have the confidence to pursue the activities you enjoy. You’re worth the effort!
What about you? What helped you get past the stigma of bladder leaks and move on with your life?
Australian Govt. – Dept. of Health and Ageing
NAFC.org – The National Association for Continence
The Simon Foundation for Continence