Incontinence can be a complex condition to deal with. There is a lot of misinformation and myth surrounding this disorder, and as your trusted resource for men and women’s incontinence, it’s our job at Wearever to dispel any false notions. Here we separate facts from myths about incontinence.
1. You’re the only one who has it
Did you know that urinary incontinence affects over 200 million people around the world? That’s right. Many cases simply go unreported, unidentified, or unannounced. This is often due to the stigma associated with urinary incontinence. People aren’t always prepared to have the conversation with their doctor, or ready to face it themselves. There might be moments when it feels like you are the only person who has this condition, but rest assured, incontinence is more common than you think!
2. You should not drink as many fluids anymore
Logically, it would make sense to reduce the amount of liquid intake when dealing with incontinence, but this is actually not how your body works. Drinking more can actually help improve bladder control, and reduce urine odor if there is leakage.
The only instance in which drinking less would be advisable is roughly two hours before bed. This is to help prevent accidents in the middle of the night. Also, avoid caffeine, carbonated drinks, and citrus juices to help stop leakage.
3. Certain thoughts and sounds can trigger leakage
Those who live with urge incontinence can experience leakage after taking certain actions, such as laughing, jumping, or coughing. Additionally, the sound of running water, or having to deal with a locked door can also lead to a sudden urge to urinate.
4. Only older people get it
Even though the risk for incontinence goes up with age, symptoms can occur at any time. According to the National Association for Continence, 1 in 4 women over 18 years old experience involuntary bladder leakage. Also, one third of women and men ages 30 to 70 have lost control of their bladder at some point as adults.
5. It’s normal to have some urinary leakage
Incontinence is often overlooked when the onset is gradual. Symptoms might not start out as a problem, but they can worsen if not treated. Women often confuse their symptoms as being related to their menstrual cycle, and use feminine hygiene products to treat them. It is important to know the difference between urinary incontinence and menstrual cycle symptoms. If you experience abnormal urinary signs, it’s best to consult a doctor.
6. Incontinence is rarely a problem in men
Of all reported cases of incontinence, 20% to 25% of them are by men. The NAFC reports that men are less likely to discuss it with friends and family, so it is less likely to be diagnosed. The condition is often, but not always, related to prostate problems. There are several ways to manage male incontinence, many of which can be found at our men’s incontinence resource page.
7. Men can do kegel exercises
We often hear kegel exercises as a suggestion for women, but the same practice works for men. Simply squeeze the muscles used to stop urination. Regular practice can contribute to improved bladder control. Some reports have even documented a complete reversal of incontinence symptoms! Try squeezing the kegel muscles in 5-second increments, and slowly work your way to 10-second increments. Three times a day over the course of a few weeks could give you incredible results.
These are some of the major misconceptions surrounding incontinence. For more information, please visit our past articles.