Incontinence affects millions of Americans, but most people do not want to talk about it. Despite how common, incontinence can be an embarrassing issue and it is somewhat taboo. We are here to change the conversation and correct misconceptions. Since so much information about it is passed on by word of mouth, there is misinformation out there about incontinence. Check out Myths about Incontinence, Part 1 to see some other myths.
Myth #1: It’s no big deal, it’s not that serious.
False. Having incontinence is a big deal. It can mean embarrassment in public, or at work. Incontinence can make you want to avoid leaving the house, social interaction and intimacy. It can lead to skin irritation, anxiety, loneliness and even depression. Incontinence can negatively affect your quality of life to the point where it controls your life. This is your life and health – you should seek help if you are having bladder or bowel leaks. The truth about incontinence is that it is a health issue that should be taken seriously, and it can be remedied.
Myth #2: It only happens to the elderly.
False. Incontinence can strike young mothers, childless women, teenagers and men. Another common misconception is that urinary incontinence only affects women. But really, bladder and bowel incontinence can affect men and women alike, and people of all ages. Incontinence is more likely to happen to elderly people, because muscles weaken as you age, and because many times the elderly may have mobility issues and are not able to make it to the restroom. Incontinence is also prevalent in those with dementia.
And it’s true that male incontinence is less common than female incontinence, but it happens to millions of men. One of the main causes for male incontinence is prostate removal as part of treatment for cancer.
Myth #3: No one else understands, so you can’t tell anyone.
Unfortunately, this is a widely held misconception. People suffering from incontinence do not tell their spouse, their friends, and try to hide it as best they can. However, it is a fact that incontinence affects over 30 million Americans. And, this number may even be larger than reported because so few people report it. Incontinence is more prevalent than you may think. It’s just that people aren’t talking about it. It may benefit you to swallow your embarrassment and bring it up with those close to you. They are probably concerned about your behavior, and try to understand and help you. Or, if you suspect a loved one is suffering and you don’t know how to bring it up, here’s how to talk about it.
There is a perceived stigma associated with incontinence. We are taught from a young age to go to the bathroom on our own, and control our urges to go. But when you have incontinence, you are unable to control the urges. It is a health issue, not a control issue – you can’t control it. But you can get help for it.
At the Incontinence Institute, we want to start the conversation and keep it going. Incontinence is a health issue, and it’s treatable. Many people do not even tell their physician about their symptoms. It is important to bring it up with your primary care physician or contact us to set up an appointment. Or call our discreet, dedicated Medical Concierge at 1-800-771-1953 to learn more.