Living with incontinence can present many physical challenges – needing to get to a restroom quickly, changing clothes or bedding after an accident, cleaning yourself up after a leak. But the emotional effects may be the most damaging.
Those who don’t live with this condition may not realize the impact that it has on it’s victims: fear of social events or gatherings, constantly seeking out bathrooms in the event of an emergency, concerns about unpleasant odors, and the incessant fear of having an accident in public, or that people will learn your secret. These are real side effects that can’t be ignored, and can create great social anxiety for people living with incontinence. For many people, it’s enough that they avoid social functions at all cost, causing their relationships with friends and family to wane.
If you live with social anxiety because of incontinence, there are some things you can do to overcome it. See our list below for our 4 best tips.
Prevention is always the best medicine. Make sure you’re prepared for a social situation by arming yourself with the right products and information. If you’ve got plans to attend a social event, make sure you’re prepared in the case of an accident. Know where the bathrooms are and have a spare set of clothes in case you need to change quickly. Choose your clothing wisely – black is often a forgiving color in the event of leaks.
Keeping a regular fitness routine can do wonders for both your incontinence and your anxiety. Maintaining an optimal weight can help minimize bladder leaks. And, regular movement can be an effective way to control cases of mild anxiety. You don’t need any fancy equipment or gym membership to make this happen either. Just getting outside for a 30 minute walk most days of the week will do wonders. (Read our tips on how to start a walking group!)
Talk About It.
Sometimes you just need to get your frustrations out. If your incontinence is affecting your mood, find a close friend or family member you trust to talk about it. Often just telling someone our troubles can take a load off and us feel not quite so alone. Don’t feel like you have anyone to talk to? Sign up for the NAFC message boards and connect with thousands of people who understand what you’re going through and are ready to listen. If all else fails, write your situation and feelings down on paper. Journaling can be a great way to explore how you’re feeling and make sense of your emotions.
We’ve saved the best tip for last. Treatment, for both incontinence and social anxiety, is readily available. There are many things you can do to manage incontinence, from behavioral changes, to medications, or even surgery. And anxiety can be treated in a plethora of ways as well – cognitive (talk) therapy, meditation, and medications can go a long way in helping you deal with the problem. There’s no need to suffer in silence. Talk to your doctor about what you’re facing. They will be able to put you on a treatment plan to help you deal with these difficult conditions so that you can get back to living your best life.
Need help finding a specialist to treat your condition? Visit our Specialist Locator Tool to find one in your area.