While some cite an ‘official’ incidence of 13%, the Continence Foundation of Australia estimates that 30% of men who visit a GP have some degree of incontinence, and yet two-thirds do not discuss it, which may give a clue to why men can suffer more than women when it comes to the emotional toll of incontinence.
Even more alarming, a research report from the United States claims that 60% of men don’t go to the doctor, and are “much more likely to chat about current events (36%), sports (32%) and their job (32%) than their health (only 7%)” with family, colleagues and friends.
When many website, such as the Victorian Government’s, Better Health recommend , strongly recommend talking through problems with other to ease the emotional burden, it perhaps not surprising that men, reluctant to discuss the issue, can suffer.
How incontinence can affect your life – and emotional wellbeing
The loss of bladder control can impact nearly every aspect of your life.
Work. Whether it’s a shift or a meeting, few jobs have full flexibility for a bathroom break. It can also be challenging to keep your mind on the job if you’re concerned about a leak.
Social events. Mixing with others is imperative to our sense of wellbeing; it should be relaxing and enjoyable. If it’s a movie, a dinner, drinks or a party, declining social invitations because of incontinence concerns around leaks, odour, etc., unnecessarily compromises an important (and fun!) part of life
Sport and exercise. Physically activity plays a significant role in maintaining emotional health and often contributes to our social life as well. In fact, there are specific exercises you can do to improve some types of incontinence. You can read more about those as well as which sports are best in this TENA article called, Tips For The Active Man
Sleeping. If you’re wetting the bed at night (called Nocturnal Enuresis) or waking multiple times to go to the toilet, you won’t be getting a good night’s sleep. And being tired can affect your mood, ability to concentrate and even your safety while driving a car or operating machinery, gardening tools, etc.
Sex life. Incontinence has the potential to destroy sexual intimacy if you let it. But it’s never inevitable. Check out this article called Sexual Intimacy and Incontinence https://www.tena.com.au/advice-and-support/sexual-intimacy-and-incontinence/ to get your love life back on track.
Negative Emotional Stages
If incontinence is perceived as a manifestation of decline, it’s perhaps not surprising that the emotion stages can mirror those of grief: denial, anxiety, frustration and anger, feelings of loss and depression. You can read more about these on the Continence Foundation website. Each can be a barrier to receiving the right help, as well as unnecessarily compromising your quality of life.
Denial. Ignoring the problem can lead to embarrassing accidents as well as delaying medical attention to the underlying cause. Prostate issues, including cancer, are the most common reason men experience incontinence, so don’t put it off, make an appointment with your doctor now.
Anxiety. Feeling anxious can lead to poor toileting habits, such as voiding too often (which can make the issue worse) and avoiding social situations, which as discussed above, can compromise your emotional wellbeing.
Frustration and anger. These emotions can have the unintended consequence of impacting relationships with those around you. Without an appreciation of what’s causing this mood, family, friends and colleagues can withdraw, leaving you feeling isolated, unsupported and even more angry and frustrated.
Grief and depression. Like anxiety, these emotions can become extremely serious and debilitating, so seek help as soon as you even suspect you may be experiencing them.
It’s essential that you seek help for both your incontinence and emotional wellbeing. For your incontinence, make an appointment with your doctor, who will diagnose the underlying issue that’s causing the problem. You can read more about the causes of male incontinence here
You should also discuss any mental health impacts you may be experiencing in the same appointment. For further information on mental health, head over to the Beyond Blue website in Australia or the Mental Health Foundation in New Zealand.
You might also be interested in reading about the 10 Most Common Make Incontinence Myths
Reducing the impact of incontinence on daily activities
Whether it’s temporary or on-going, there’s really no reason for incontinence to interfere with your day to life, be that work, sleep or socialising. With the right product, you can comfortably and securely get on with your day.
While you’re waiting for your doctor’s appointment and if you aren’t already, you may find security and comfort in wearing an absorbent product. The entire TENA range has been designed to handle the thinner, faster flow of a weak bladder, rapidly absorbing and locking away fluid, keeping you dry, odour free and able to get on with life as you usually would.
Products range from those designed to handle just a few drops or a small gush (Shields for Men) through to the complete protection of absorbent Pants, which are ideal for ensuring you get a comfortable night’s sleep.
Take advantage of our Product Finder Tool, and Free Samplesto find the product that best suits you.
Asaleo Care makes no warranties or representations regarding the completeness or accuracy of the information. This information should be used only as a guide and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional, medical or other health professional advice.