You don't have to manage incontinence on your own. Incontinence is much more common than you may think. And contrary to popular belief, it is not a problem that only seniors experience; incontinence can affect young people as well. In Canada, 3.3 million adults (about 10% of the population!) experience some type of urinary incontinence.
Urinary incontinence is not considered a normal part of aging. It affects up to 50% of women 45 years and older and about 16% of men over the age of 40.
Knowing that you're not alone, you can turn to others for support. Try:
- your doctor. Only 26% of people with incontinence ask their doctor for help. Your doctor can diagnose the problem and help you figure out what is causing your incontinence. Then, you can work together to come up with a treatment plan to help manage your incontinence.
- other health care professionals. Your doctor may refer you to a urologist (a doctor who specializes in diseases of the urinary system, including the male reproductive system in men) to help determine the cause of your incontinence. Or you can seek help from a nurse continence advisor, a nurse with special training to help people with bladder control problems. Your pharmacist can discuss medication therapy and absorbent products with you. A physiotherapist may also help by giving you advice on how to control urine leakage through behavioural treatments.
- organizations and associations. Organizations and associations specializing in incontinence and/or issues with the bladder and urinary system often have support groups and more information on managing incontinence. Try the Canadian Continence Foundation, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, the Canadian Urological Association, and the Canadian Nurse Continence Advisors.
- online blogs and forums. A great way to reach out to others and to find tips to manage incontinence that worked for other people. Many associations have these, and manufacturers do as well. For example, Depend® at www.ca.depend.com.