Even though it’s not an uncommon condition, urinary incontinence still causes significant embarrassment among those who suffer from it. So much embarrassment, it turns out, that many women don’t bother to discuss their symptoms with their doctors at all. In fact, communication â€“ or lack of it â€“ was one of eight common barriers to care that were uncovered during a recent series of focus groups that explored women’s UI symptoms and their care.
The other seven barriers that were identified include:
Mistakenly believing that incontinence issues are a â€œnormalâ€ part of the childbearing process or â€œtypicallyâ€ occur following childbirth or as a result of hereditary factors
- Denial or avoidance – essentially, My symptoms will go away if I just ignore them
- Having other health issues that were perceived as being more important and taking precedence over UI symptoms and care
- Fear of treatment, including both medications and surgical options and their aftereffects
- Inconvenience due to access limitations, such as insurance issues, HMO problems, need for referrals, need to use specific providers or need for multiple appointments or need for multiple appointments
- Lack of knowledge about treatment options and benefits
- Physician barriers, including doctors who are dismissive or fail to respond with appropriate information about available treatment options
In addition to communication problems that arise from hesitancy or embarrassment, focus group participants also said communication efforts were hampered when they felt rushed for time during hurried doctor visits.
The fact is, both urinary and fecal incontinence issues can be successfully treated, and they are relatively common. The key to improving or even eliminating symptoms lies in seeking treatment from the appropriate care provider.
What’s more, some incontinence symptoms may be indicators of more serious underlying health conditions, and delaying care can have significant negative consequences. Feeling embarrassment isn’t an uncommon reaction for people who suffer from UI; but learning to overcome that embarrassment to seek out appropriate care options is vitally important, not just for your incontinence issues, but for your overall health as well. Get help, call The Incontinence Institute today.