Urinary incontinence, or the involuntary release of urine, is often a difficult thing for adults to talk about. It not only causes great unhappiness to the patients but can also escalate the problem and result in social isolation and even loss of independence.
There are millions of people who live with this distress, but never mention it once in public, or even in private with their doctors. Some even end up calling it an ‘accident’ because of the embarrassing situation it puts them into. Perhaps this inability to discuss the issue is the reason why there are so many myths about sensitive bladder challenges.
Here’s the truth behind a few common misconceptions associated with urinary incontinence that can help you get on the right track and manage the problem without having to worry about being judged or shunning your social life completely:
MYTH 1: Incontinence is a Problem for the Old Age
While it is true that the risk of incontinence goes up as you grow older, anyone can experience the symptoms of this bladder problem at different stages throughout life. The fact is that there are as many younger adults and even children facing incontinence as problem as the elderly.
In fact, the studies suggest that a large percentage of the women over the age of 18 have a sensitive bladder as a result of pregnancy, childbirth or the onset of menopause.
Obesity, cancer and neurological disorders are other causes that may lead to urinary incontinence in people of any age.
MYTH 2: It is an Inevitable Part of Aging
Since incontinence is more common among the people in their advanced years, it is often believed that it is a normal part of aging. However, the truth is while old age is a big risk factor; bladder leaks are certainly not normal or inevitable.
As the body ages, it may become more vulnerable and lose its ability to hold more urine or empty the bladder completely. But various interventions have proven that these sensitive bladder issues can be reversed or even prevented altogether with behavioural training.
Often, the symptoms of incontinence are just a sign of some underlying condition such as diabetes. Getting it diagnosed and treated it at the right time can reverse the problem.
MYTH 3: There is Nothing You Can Do About It
Believing that it is normal to leak a little urine and there is no need for treatment is probably one of the biggest reasons why people don’t talk about it or visit their doctors. On the contrary, the issue is indeed treatable.
There are many different treatments that can help alleviate its symptoms or eliminate incontinence altogether such as voiding, bladder training and pelvic muscle exercises. There are several devices and medications as well that can help with bladder muscle control. In some cases, avoiding certain trigger foods and losing weight may also prove effective.
In the meanwhile, using incontinence pads may help one get on with everyday activities.
MYTH 4: Drinking Less Fluid May Improve the Condition.
It might seem logical that cutting back on liquids means not having to use the toilet frequently. But this is not true. In fact, limiting fluid intake, especially water, might just be worse for your condition.
Not drinking enough water makes your urine more concentrated and increases bladder irritation. It can thus worsen the symptoms of urinary incontinence. Sipping water throughout the day in small quantities can actually help improve bladder control, stop leakage and reduce odour.
Just make sure not to drink anything at least two hours before bed. Reducing the consumption of bladder irritants such as carbonated beverages, caffeine and citrus juices also helps.
MYTH 5: Holding in Urine is Better than Wearing a Diaper
The truth is waiting to use the bathroom will only worsen your situation. While the idea of wearing a diaper in public might seem embarrassing, there are a variety of adult diapers that don’t even show.
Most products available today in the market for incontinence are cut in a way that they can guise as an undergarment and easily vanish under your clothes. They are just as comfortable and would save you from the embarrassment of leaking urine during exercise, sneezing or laughing, or rushing to the toilet every now and then.
If you still don’t want to buy adult diapers, it is best to seek the medical advice of your doctor.
Urinary incontinence is a common, but a serious problem. You don’t need to give up everything you love or cut yourself from friends and family for it. The best course of action is to bring it out in the open, discuss it with your doctor and find the right treatment to be able to live freely again.