How to make incontinence an easy conversation

Over 33 million Americans suffer from incontinence.  Even though the condition is very common, it is never discussed ‘openly’ enough.  

Which is why it can be challenging to bring up the topic of incontinence or  news about the lack of control of bladder leaks with your loved ones. Taking the first step as a patient or as a caregiver is very important.

Take comfort in knowing you are not alone and while this condition isn’t normal, there are care options available to reduce the impact it has on your life and the people you care about. 

Here are some signs to take note of: If a person is suffering with incontinence, you may have seen them rushing to the bathroom in great distress or noticed there is always a lot of laundry to do. They have disturbed sleep patterns and/or show resistance to go out due to concerns about finding a bathroom in time. 

Aging aside, past medical history is also a big factor in why so many of us have incontinence. People who’ve had surgeries in the past, new or expectant mothers, children and individuals who have disabilities and neurological disorders with reduced mobility and access to bathrooms are also constantly dealing with simple tasks like taking them self to the bathroom - every single day.

As a result, people become depressed and stop going out to socialize because of fear of embarrassing themselves, and lack of awareness on how to manage a leaking bladder or urinary incontinence.

Here are a few things to bear in mind before you have ‘the talk.

At home:

  • Timing: Like any sensitive conversation, choose a private time to talk about this issue. It can be at the end of the day when you are together and in a slightly relaxed setting.
  • Goal oriented: Understand that the goal of this conversation is to improve care and management of bladder leaks. Keep your cool and remain calm during the conversation.
  • Be sensitive: Plan your approach. Keeping a conversation light, easy-going or humorous can take the awkwardness out of the topic.
  • Show your support: Try to understand the possible cause of incontinence and how you can prepare together for an informed decision with a doctor.
  • Prepare ahead: Take some well-known, positive facts to the conversation. Much of the resistance can come from lack of awareness around the commonality of the issue. Once you are aware of cause, reasons and course of action, everything seems less cumbersome.
  • Don’t become emotional: Try not to feel overwhelmed. A tense emotion passes on to the person you are having a conversation with and causes unnecessary stress. 

At the Doctor’s.

When you are the doctor - you might have questions about the condition itself 

  • What type of incontinence do I have? 

Understand what kind of incontinence you have - there are several types, we cover the most common ones in this blog post (LINK) 

  • Is there a treatment you recommend? 

Behavioral (bathroom finders, bladder diaries, and reminder applications that can be accessed through computers or smartphones) or medical options?

  • What is the likelihood of expected success with each option? 

Pressure test each option to see which might be most beneficial - consider costs, time, impact on quality of life of yourself and/or your caregiver and family.

  • What are the possible side-effects that I should expect or prepare for?

Awareness is key. Educate yourself and your immediate circle of care.

  • Is immediate action required?

Learn if there are organic ways to naturally prevent or reduce the impact of this type of incontinence and how fast you will need to act.

Have you had this conversation before? Write to us.

Please share your thoughts and tips with us.