Being afraid to sneeze or laugh too hard...rushing to make it to the restroom in time...worrying about leakage...
These probably sound like familiar concerns if you're one of the 13 million people in the United States who live with urinary incontinence.
When you have urinary incontinence, fears like this are normal. However, you may find that your mood has persistently worsened over time, and you may be dealing with feelings of sadness or hopelessness that are hard if not impossible to shake off.
Although a healthcare professional will need to see you in order to properly diagnose you and get you started on a treatment plan that gets your life turned back around and back on track, it's very possible that you could be suffering from depression related to incontinence.
Still, we understand you probably want answers now before you schedule an appointment to see your doctor, and 180 Medical has the need-to-know info about incontinence and depression. We've also included some helpful resources and support options in this blog. Read on to learn more!
Who Is Affected By Urinary Incontinence?Urinary incontinence can happen to anyone at any age, but studies show that women experience urinary incontinence twice as much as men do.
Why is that? The main factor is the pelvic anatomy of women and how it differs from that of men, as well as hormonal fluctuations that occur during menopause.
Other potential causes of female incontinence may include:
- Bladder muscle weakness
- Pelvic floor weakness
- Urinary tract infections, which can increase the urge the void your bladder and sometimes cause leakage
- Being over the healthy weight for your body type and height
- A medical condition from birth like spina bifida, which can also affect the bladder, depending upon severity
- Side effects from certain medicines
- Drinking diuretic liquids like coffee, tea, and colas
- Certain neurological disorders
Women are also more susceptible to UTIs (urinary tract infections) and bladder infections, and this can sometimes worsen incontinence. This is because UTIs tend to increase the urge to void the bladder, sometimes involuntarily.
The additional risk of infections in women is also due to anatomy. The vagina, urethra, and anus are positioned more closely together on the female body, which makes it easier for bacteria to travel up the urethra.
Can Urinary Incontinence Cause Depression?As mentioned earlier, there actually is a strong link between urinary incontinence and depression, particularly in younger women. A recent paper published by researchers took a look at this connection and tried to find out the causes as well as what could be done to treat both conditions.
One potential cause identified could be weight gain and/or childbirth, which are both commonly related to urinary incontinence as well as depression (particularly postpartum depression in the case of new mothers). The reason for this is that when the pelvic floor muscles are stretched, whether due to bearing a child, gaining weight, or other conditions, it can make it more difficult to tighten the muscles that close off the sphincter of the bladder, and this can result in mild to excessive leakage or dribbling of urine.
Another reason may be related to societal stigma regarding disorders affecting the bladder and bowels. People living with incontinence may feel like they're totally alone, or they may experience shame or embarrassment about their condition.
The research ultimately concluded that more must be done to educate women on prevention and treatment options for incontinence as well as depression.
Treatment of Incontinence and DepressionIf you are experiencing urinary incontinence and/or feelings of depression, we want to assure you that there is nothing to feel ashamed of. Millions of other people are going through this too, and even if you feel some embarrassment addressing these conditions with your doctor, they will not judge or shame you in any way. Healthcare professionals want to help their patients heal and find proper treatment plans in order to improve your condition and your overall quality of life.
Treatments depend on your personal medical history as well as the severity and type of symptoms you're experiencing.
Your doctor may also want you to record a bladder diary for several days or weeks as well, which may sound like a pain, but they may be able to provide you with an easy-to-use booklet in which to record your symptoms, when and how often you're urinating or having accidents, and other information.
There are also some helpful smartphone apps, such as UroBladderDiary, which may be easier for you to use. Recording this kind of information in an app rather than a written journal can also be a real help if you want to keep your symptoms private from those around you.
While it may seem daunting right now, the sooner you can schedule an appointment with your doctor, the sooner you can get on the road to recovery.
Even if it doesn't feel like it right now, there is light ahead.
Helpful Resources and SupportA few resources and options for support, both online and in-person, can definitely be useful when you're not sure where to go next for information.
These links may be helpful in your journey back to wellness:
Incontinence Support Center: A Caring Community
This website has helpful articles as well as an online forum where you can talk to other women who are experiencing the same symptoms as you are.
Daily Strength Urinary Incontinence Support Group
Connect online with others living with urinary incontinence and other bladder issues. You can find support, encouragement, and tips from fellow women living with incontinence.
ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America) Support Groups Near You
Find free support groups near you. This helpful website also offers facts about depression and anxiety, tips on how to deal with your feelings, and more.
Postpartum Support International
Learn more about life after having a child, including postpartum depression and potential therapy options. You also have options to call a support line and chat with a mental health expert, join an online support group for other women living with postpartum depression, and more.
Crisis Text Line
This free support is available 24 hours a day, every day, for those in crisis. A live, trained Crisis Counselor can respond and text with you on a secure platform and help you.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Sometimes depression and feelings of hopelessness can become so severe that you don't feel like there is any other way out of your problems, but there always is. You can visit this website, or if you need someone to speak with immediately, simply call their toll-free hotline at 1-800-273-8255 at any time of day, and someone can speak with you.
Intermittent Catheterization As Incontinence TreatmentIf your doctor determines that something as simple as intermittent catheterization can help treat your urinary incontinence, our Catheter Specialists at 180 Medical are always ready to lend you a compassionate ear and walk you through your first experience of getting the right female catheter products for your individual needs.
You will never be shamed or made to feel embarrassed when you speak with anyone at 180 Medical. This is our specialty, and we speak to many people of all ages and genders who require the use of intermittent catheters, ostomy products, and other related medical supplies.
Our goal is to help turn your life around, so we'll do what we can to make the experience of getting your catheters and other female incontinence supplies as easy and worry-free as possible.
With the right resources and support behind you, you could be feeling like your old self again soon! If you're experiencing symptoms of incontinence or depression, it's a great idea to get the ball rolling by calling your doctor to schedule an appointment to diagnose your symptoms today.
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