Many people living with incontinence experience feelings such as embarrassment, guilt, anxiety, frustration, social isolation, and more. It can be hard to feel in control, confident, and proud of yourself when you don’t trust your body’s ability to control your bladder. This emotional burden can cause feelings of shame that lead to negative self-image and self-confidence. It can be especially difficult coping with the emotional impact of incontinence when you feel you are alone.
You are not alone. It is estimated that over 25 million adult Americans experience some degree of urinary incontinence. However, it is believed to be much higher due to under-reporting because people feel too embarrassed or ashamed to talk to their doctor. There is also the misconception that incontinence is a normal part of aging, causing people to live with incontinence in silence.
Incontinence is not a singular issue but rather a symptom of several factors. It is not a failure on your part. If you find yourself struggling with low self-esteem due to incontinence try these tips to regain your confidence:
Incontinence Does Not Define You
It’s important to remind yourself that incontinence does not define you. Forgive your body for going through changes you may not be able to control and remind yourself of all the great things your body can do and has done for you. Overcoming incontinence can be a lot of ups and downs, where you feel you are making progress and then an accident occurs, and you feel defeated. Don’t let minor setbacks overshadow your progress, be proud of how far you’ve come. Be sure to talk to your primary care provider if your incontinence is worsening.
Destigmatize Your Incontinence
Consider confiding in your loved ones and being open and honest about your incontinence and feelings. Feeling the love and support from friends and family goes a long way in helping us love ourselves. Doing so helps relieve the fear of judgment from others you put on yourself. It can also help create a safe space for others, who may think they’re alone, to share their experiences with you. Reach out to support groups. You may be surprised by how many other people have similar experiences.
Take Charge of Your Incontinence
Don’t let your incontinence interfere with your daily routine and activities. The fear of having an accident in public can be debilitating and keep you from living your life to the fullest. Be prepared to be confident. Bring extra protection or clothes with you so you feel confident knowing you have backup options if an accident does occur. Consider packing a reusable incontinence pad if you are staying the night somewhere new and not ready to confide in someone about your incontinence.
It’s normal to feel insecure and experience low self-esteem from time to time, especially when coping with incontinence. Remind yourself that incontinence does not define you and that you are not alone. Talk with your primary care provider and reach out to support groups for solutions and tips for dealing with incontinence.
**The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. If you are having a severe and sudden change in physical or mental health, please call 911, contact a local emergency facility or consult with your doctor. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider, and never disregard the advice given because of information you have received from our website.**