Hi! I thought I would write this post so that I could try and help anyone who thinks they might suffer from incontinence. Do you have uncontrollable urges to urinate? Do you leak urine when you cough, sneeze or laugh? Do you constantly urinate without any control whatsoever? These are all forms of incontinence.
It is estimated that there are quite literally millions of people in the United States alone under 50 years of age that suffer from some loss of bladder control at present. So, it is not just an “elderly problem.” In fact, incontinence is usually a symptom of another disease, like diabetes. Incontinence is not usually classified as a disease in and of itself.
I believe that is very important to be able to discuss any underlying issues that you may have with loss of bladder control with your doctor. He or she is qualified to make the “official diagnosis” of incontinence. This condition is treatable, and does not have to rule your entire life. It can be mitigated to just another inconvenience that you can simply overcome with patience and perseverance. So, without further ado, here are my tips for discussing incontinence with your doctor:
1) Don’t be shy or afraid. The very thought of discussing such a personal problem like incontinence can make anyone very embarrassed, anxious, and afraid. Please just remember this: you are not alone. It is not your fault that you might not have complete control of your bladder any longer.
You are in good company, my friend! There are millions of people who have at least partial loss of bladder control, for a variety of reasons. Be brave, and please remember that, ultimately, only you can help yourself overcome this issue. If you go into solving this problem with a positive attitude, an air of self-confidence, and a sense of courage, you will feel so much better when you are finally able to manage and compensate for your loss of bladder control.
2) Do your homework. The Internet can be a wonderful resource and repository of information about incontinence, its types, causes, and treatments. However, please remember that not all sources will be all that reliable or accurate, like Wikipedia.
In my opinion, your best bet is to perhaps consider calling and speaking with an empathic, kind person that knows about incontinence. I’ve usually found that these people can be found at any reputable online store that sells incontinence products, like pull-ups and adult diapers for example.
A great example of this is the people at HDIS (Home Delivery Incontinence Supplies). I’ve had some very intelligent and meaningful conversations with the staff of HDIS about dealing with my own issues regarding urge incontinence. They’ve been very helpful to me in finding the right products to manage my loss of bladder control.
3) Don’t hesitate to be honest and up-front. When you do decide to go to an appointment to discuss incontinence and how it may be affecting you with your doctor, just be honest and up-front with he or she. Talk with your doctor at your appointment about your past history with loss of bladder control. When has it happened in the past? What triggered it? Has it worsened over the years, or has it only recently started occurring? What have you tried to compensate for it so far? Asking these questions, and then answering them, with your doctor, can go a long way toward finding a long-term solution for dealing with loss of bladder control.
4) Diagnostic procedures. Your doctor may want to order some tests to properly understand and diagnose the underlying issues regarding your struggle with incontinence. These can include such things as tests to measure your blood sugar (diabetes can cause neuropathy, thus affecting your bladder, and can lead to loss of bladder control. In my case, this is the primary factor that caused my loss of bladder control).
Please remember, you are the patient and you have the right to question, or even decline, your doctor’s decision to perform certain diagnostic procedures that you might not be comfortable with, since some can be quite invasive, and/or even painful to undergo. Fortunately, a frank and honest conversation with your doctor, along with perhaps a simple blood test, can usually get to the root cause of your issues with incontinence.
5) Treatment. Depending upon the type of incontinence and the severity of it, you might be able to perform special daily exercises to strengthen your bladder muscles. Their might also be medications to help you maintain better bladder control (though these have the potential to create side effects). Or, your doctor might determine that you might need to wear pull-ups or adult diapers to manage your loss of bladder control.
This does not need to be the end of the world! Pull-ups and adult diapers have come a long way since their inception years ago. They are now usually discreet, possess reasonable leak protection, and are fairly comfortable to wear. Honestly, would it be worse, in the final analysis, to wear a pull-up or an adult diaper, and not have an embarrassing episode of bladder leakage, or not wear anything at all and leak like a sieve? These are the sort of questions that only you can answer for yourself. Basically, in my opinion, one needs to weigh the pros and cons of various treatment methods, to find the method or methods that work for them.
6) Benefits of successful treatment. As for me, I must be honest and admit that I actually look forward to wearing an adult diaper every day, because I derive a great deal of emotional support and comfort from wearing them, as well as the reassurance and confidence that if and when I must go out in public, that I will not leak or have an embarrassing wetting episode. If a treatment method works for you, then you will find that you will be greatly relieved, and will gain a lot of renewed self-confidence, because incontinence need not rule your whole life. With successful treatment, incontinence can be reduced to a daily inconvenience, like being required to take medications or insulin. I cannot stress this point more strongly.
7) Reach out for support wherever and whenever you can. Do you have family members or friends that you can trust, and know that they will not shame you, or put a guilt trip on you? Then, these are the people that you need to reach out to. If you truly can trust a family member or friend to be affirming, positive, supportive, and not judge you, then please feel free to reach out to these people.
Just like discussing incontinence with your doctor, sit down face-to-face with someone you can trust and rely on, or if this is not possible, call them on the phone, and tell them about your problem, and how you are working on solving it. Family and/or friends can be a wonderful part of your support network.
8) Above all, be persistent, proactive, and self-reliant. Lastly, don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself. If you don’t feel comfortable with your present physician of record, then please feel free to keep searching until you find a doctor that you do feel comfortable with. If a treatment that was prescribed for you is not working, then try, try, try, again! In my particular case, the first treatment that was prescribed for me was pull-ups, which leaked like a sieve.
Undaunted, I kept trying different treatment methods until I found some that actually worked for me. These methods involved a combination of adult diapers, booster pads, vinyl pants, and adult onesies. Granted, I still struggle to find a good quality adult diaper that has strong tape fasteners, but I believe that I have most of my problems solved. Persistence and patience are key to a successful outcome in treating your issues with incontinence.
So, I do hope that my observations and advice have at least helped some of you overcome your issues with incontinence and loss of bladder control. As always, I welcome any other comments or helpful suggestions that you may have regarding this topic. Thank you for reading my post, and have a great day!