Does Incontinence Give You Social Anxiety? Here Are Four Ways To Deal With It.

Incontinence And Social Anxiety. 4 Ways To Deal With It.

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. 

Be Prepared. 

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. 

Stay Active.  

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.

Get Treatment.

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.

Depression And Incontinence

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. 

Here are some steps you can take to treat your depression. 

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/