Why are we afraid of talking about one of the most common medical conditions affecting people around the world today? What is it about incontinence that makes it an issue that is considered too embarrassing to talk about?
Approximately 1 in 10 men, and 1 in 3 women will experience incontinence at some point during their lives.
To put it in perspective – according to estimates less than 2 million people around the world have been infected during the current Zika virus pandemic. The NAFC estimate that 25 million people in the USA alone currently experience incontinence. So why is that we can’t discuss a condition that affects so many people?
The numbers are staggering. Up to 90% of people who experience incontinence never ask for help. But incontinence is manageable and can be treated – it shouldn’t ever be a ‘normal’ part of life. Even during old age.
Incontinence can be experienced by anyone – women after childbirth and during menopause, men after prostate cancer treatment, and the elderly. Anyone who has experienced incontinence knows that it can be embarrassing. We grow up being told that only children can’t control their bladders. As an adult, if incontinence strikes it goes against what we have grown up being told is ‘normal’. It can take away your confidence and your freedom.
And it can do worse than that. Some people who experience incontinence plan their day around access to bathrooms, and give up activities they love or need. Incontinence can even lead to unnecessary admission to long-term care facilities for the elderly.
While we are becoming more open about the problem there’s still a long way to go. When Kate Winslet sat on Graham Norton’s couch and proclaimed “incontinence is bloody awful!” many women around the world breathed a collective sigh of relief. If someone as elegant and well known as Kate can open up about her experiences – why can’t everyone else?
The great thing is that there are now many different options of products available to help you manage your condition – from disposable pads and nappies, to fashionable reusable absorbent underwear, it is possible to find a solution that works for you. There are also different treatments options available, and many people do get results from treatment.
Because there are many different causes of incontinence the best ways to manage and treat your condition may vary, and if you get the proper help you can make a difference to your own life.
So get help. Talk to your doctor, because you deserve to live free.
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