Incontinence or bladder leakage can affect people of all ages although it is more common in the elderly. There are a number of potential causes of incontinence or bladder leakage but one common factor associated with the problem is its effect on the mental wellbeing of many sufferers.
Incontinence is a problem that affects many people and this includes people from different age brackets. The condition is more prevalent in older people, with more than one in three people aged over sixty suffering from incontinence. The condition is so common amongst older people that specialist companies such as Hartmann Direct now provide a wide range of incontinence products.
What is incontinence and bladder leakage ?
Urinary incontinence is basically the escape of urine on an involuntary basis. So, while most people are able to get to the toilet when they need to urinate, those with incontinence are unable to control the urine from escaping. While incontinence is not actually a condition as such, it can be a symptom of one of a range of other conditions. It is a problem that has a huge stigma attached, and it causes both embarrassment and mental scars for those that experience it.
Some of the main causes
No matter what your age, incontinence and bladder leakage can take its toll when it comes to mental wellbeing, and it can leave psychological scars for those that suffer from it. There are a number of conditions and problems that can cause incontinence. Some of these include:
- Increased pressure on the abdomen from sneezing or coughing hard
- Weak bladder and surrounding muscles
- Leakage due to bladder being unable to hold large amount of urine
- An after-effect of childbirth or surgery
- Neurological conditions including MS or Parkinson’s Disease
- Disorders relating to connective tissues
- Certain types of medication
- Inadequate fluid intake causing the collection of concentrated urine that irritates the bladder
- Bladder obstructions such as enlarged prostate or bladder stones
Spinal cord injuries
These are some of the key causes that can lead to incontinence amongst people of all ages. While some may be short term, such as incontinence following surgery or childbirth, others may result in lifelong incontinence.
Why does it affect your mental health?
Incontinence is something that cannot be helped, so why does it have such an impact on mental wellbeing? Well, it is only natural that someone who is unable to control the release of urine will feel embarrassed, particularly if it happens in a public place. Unless the person is wearing proper incontinence products, the leakage becomes obvious and this can cause even more mental trauma. However, even those wearing incontinence pads and products will often feel total embarrassment and loss of dignity as a result of incontinence.
The main reasons why incontinence takes such as toll on mental wellbeing is because of the embarrassment and loss of dignity that it can cause. This is something that can have a huge impact on confidence levels. It can even lead to some people isolating themselves from others, refusing to go out for fear of losing control of their bladder, and giving up on socialising with others. All of these things can further impact mental wellbeing.
Depression is a common effect of long-term incontinence, and this is one of the major impacts that the problem can have when it comes to mental wellbeing. This leads to the person withdrawing themselves from day to day activities and socialisation. It can lead to anxiety, failure to form or maintain relationships, and loss of interest in other areas of hygiene and wellbeing.
Having an ‘accident’ in public or even at home when others are around can result in immense anxiety and distress for people with incontinence. This then results in low self-worth and self-esteem, self-depreciation, and frustration amongst other things.
Other effects of incontinence and bladder leakage
In addition to taking its toll on mental wellbeing, incontinence can impact on many other areas of life. These effects can also eventually impact on mental health, so it is all very strongly connected. People who are incontinent may find that day to day activities become far more difficult. They may be unable to participate in activities that they once enjoyed. Going to or hosting get-togethers and social events become far more difficult and going out turns into a big risk.
For those that experience urinary incontinence, it is important to seek medical assistance to determine the underlying cause. The good news is that there are many products now available that can help incontinence sufferers to continue living full lives.