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Encourage others to start talking and gain control of their bladder health!  We've made it simple for you to share National Bladder Health Week news, resources, tips and tools with your friends, family and healthcare providers.  We have a variety of  simple activities you can choose from to promote awareness of bladder health.  They are cut and paste one of the sample newsletter or emails below.

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Depression And Incontinence

Sarah Jenkins

Depression And Incontinence World Health Day 

Do you suffer from urinary incontinence? If you do, you are one of over 35 million Americans that live with the condition every day. Incontinence can be a mild inconvenience, or it can be a completely devastating condition that greatly restricts a person’s life. While there are many treatments that exist for incontinence, the condition holds a strong stigma and sense of extreme embarrassment and shame for those who live with it on a daily basis, which prevents them from discussing it with anyone – even their doctor.

When someone has severe incontinence, they are in constant fear of having an embarrassing accident.  Not making it to the restroom on time is always a concern and they seek out ways to ensure that they are always near a bathroom.  This can greatly restrict how much they are willing to travel from their home – even for work.  As a person becomes more and more reclusive due to their condition, they may suffer from anxiety, loneliness, and depression. Their relationships with friends, family, and work can all suffer. 

This is unfortunate since there are so many treatment options available to men and women these days. Behavioral modifications, medications, advanced therapies or surgeries can all be used to treat urinary incontinence effective.  There truly are some great tools available.

If you suffer from urinary incontinence, or depression, don’t continue to let it control your life.  Take the appropriate steps below to treat it:

Talk to your doctor.  This is really the first step. While it can be hard to open up about something so personal, doing so will put you on the path to recovery – for both incontinence and depression. 

Lose Weight. If you are carrying around a few extra pounds, it’s worth the effort to shed them, since the added weight can contribute to stress urinary incontinence, as well as weak pelvic floor muscles. 

Exercise.  Getting regular exercise is always a great idea. But, for urinary incontinence and depression it can have a doubly good effect.  Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles can give you greater control over urinary incontinence. Your pelvic muscles benefit from all types of exercises but working with a trained physical therapist can really help you to focus on them with specific moves and postural tips.  And, most exercises produce a chemical called endorphins, which can produce a positive feeling in the body. In fact, regular exercise has been shown to decrease symptoms of depression. And it doesn’t take much – just 30 minutes of an exercise like walking (or really, anything that you enjoy) 3-5 times a week can do the trick.

Look into medical treatment. There are medications that exist for both urinary incontinence and depression. Your doctor can talk with you about the different types available and work with you to find one that’s right for you. Additionally, advanced procedures like sacral neuromodulation, which uses mild electrical pulses to stimulate your sacral nerves, or Botox injections into the bladder, which can help to strengthen bladder control, may be an option for you.  There are also various surgical procedures that can be very effective in treating urinary incontinence.

Regardless of which outcome you choose, the most important thing to do is to take some sort of action. Life doesn’t have to be limited by incontinence and with the myriad of treatment options available there is no reason that it should be a source of depression.  Don’t let leaks rule your life!  Take control and get help today.

NAFC is proud to support the efforts of the World Health Organization today during World Health Day, 2017, which is focused on raising awareness of depression. If you or a loved one suffers from depression, talking about it can be a first step towards recovery.  Learn more about the 2017 World Health Day at www.who.int/campaigns/world-health-day/2017/en/