The ability to sit through meetings at work, attend a spin class, walk the dog around the neighborhood, catch a movie with friends, or go out for dinner – these are small parts of life that many of us take for granted. For someone with overactive bladder syndrome, stress urinary incontinence or bowel incontinence, even these small parts of life may be out of reach. Worrying about leaks, anxiety over knowing the location of the closest restroom, or the potential for accidents are some reasons why people with incontinence miss out on everyday life.
Over time, people with incontinence can start to lose their quality of life. Many become homebound, paralyzed with fear about accidents and feeling like they are unable to go anywhere for fear of an embarrassing situation.
A study that came out last month in BMC Urology looked into just this: how quality of life is affected by incontinence. The study focused on people with incontinence and co-morbid depression. The link between depression and incontinence has already been established, and this study delved into the effect of incontinence on people who already have depression.
The study focused on depression and psychological factors that could help explain why people with bladder incontinence get depressed. The study hypothesized that the lower quality of life “may be a result of incontinence limiting what they are able to do in their everyday lives.”
One finding of the study was that younger people and unmarried people were more likely to experience depression when they had bladder incontinence. According to the study, “this is not unexpected, as incontinence is often considered a disease of older women who have had children.” A lack of explanation for the cause of their incontinence leads to lower mood and depression.
The study concluded that depression and incontinence both reduce quality of life. When people suffer from both depression and incontinence, it impacts their mental and physical health and can increase the persons negative perceptions of their illness. The study recommends that physicians should identify and manage depression when treating patients for incontinence.
Decreased quality of life is an unfortunate, difficult part of incontinence for many people. But there is help. Incontinence is 100 percent treatable. If you are experiencing bladder or bowel symptoms, contact us. Or call our discreet, dedicated Medical Concierge at 800-771-1953.