You don’t really hear much about incontinence in men. Let’s face it – it’s not something that anyone ever really wants to talk about, but for men, it can be especially hard. Men are supposed to be tough. Caretakers. Leaders. Defenders. Admitting to something like incontinence can feel like a slap in the face. But it’s something that happens to everyone – not just women – and it isn’t something that anyone should have to live with. Unfortunately though, many do. As many as 15% of men living at home between the ages of 15-64 may have some type of incontinence.
Men – if you struggle with bladder leakage, we urge you to speak up about it. This doesn’t mean shouting about it from the rooftops. But a frank discussion with your doctor or a loved one is a good start. Here are 4 good reasons to talk to them about your incontinence:
- You’ll get some emotional support. Have you ever had something on your mind that weighed on you? Keeping your incontinence a secret can have big effects on your emotional well-being. Many people who live with incontinence become more reclusive as time goes on and the condition worsens. They avoid social activities, or don’t do the things they once enjoyed because they’re scared of having an embarrassing accident in public. But this can mean isolating themselves from others, and hurting some of their close relationships. Lean in to those close to you and let them know what’s going on. You’ll likely find that their support motivates you to take the next step in talking to your doctor, where you can finally find some treatment. Still not ready to talk to someone close? Try our message boards. They're filled with lots of people who struggle with bladder leakage and can be a great resource when you need some tips on how to manage, thoughts on treatment options, or even when you just need a place to vent. Trust us, they know what you’re going through, and are a wonderful and caring community where you can share your concerns without judgment.
- You can find out what’s actually causing the bladder leaks. In most cases, incontinence is not the real condition – it’s a symptom of something else. Talking to a professional about it may help you uncover the true source of what’s going on, which could be something that’s easily treated, or something that’s far more serious than some light bladder leakage. Either way, finding out is better than living in the dark, and will help you get the treatment you need to be on your way to recovery.
- You’ll learn about all the treatments options available to you. We’ve come a long way from adult diapers being the only treatment option. While absorbent products are still great management tools, there are many things you can do to actually treat the symptoms and avoid leaks all together. Diet and exercise changes, kegels, medications, minimally invasive procedures, and even surgical options all exist. Learning more about your options will help you find something that works for you and your lifestyle, and can feel very empowering.
- There’s no good reason not to. With so many treatment options available to you these days, there’s really not a reason to stay silent. Yes, it will probably be an uncomfortable discussion at first, but it’s not one that your doctor hasn’t had before. They hear from men who have this problem all the time. Talk with them and begin getting treatment so that you can get back to the activities you once enjoyed, instead of worrying about your bladder.
NAFC has some great resources that can help you as you begin getting treatment. Check them out below: