Breaking the silence: Addressing incontinence issues across all ages
- Mums Tips
- Fitness & Health
- Published on Tuesday, 20 June 2023 15:17
- Last Updated on 20 June 2023
- Monica Costa
- 0 Comments
Incontinence is a common and often hidden health issue that affects people of various ages, from the young to the elderly. Whether it’s pregnancy / postpartum incontinence or the challenges of caring for a loved one living with continence issues, the impact on individuals and families can be significant. In this blog post, we at London Mums aim to shed light on the prevalence of incontinence, discuss the emotional and financial burdens it can create, and highlight the resources and support available for those affected. Additionally, we’ll address the issue of incontinence poverty and how it parallels the struggle faced by many due to the rising cost of living.
Understanding Continence Challenges
Incontinence is a condition characterised by the involuntary loss of bladder or bowel control, leading to leakage and potential embarrassment. While it is often associated with older adults, incontinence can affect individuals of any age.
Pregnancy and Postpartum Incontinence
During pregnancy and after giving birth, many women experience continence challenges. The increased pressure on the bladder and pelvic floor muscles can lead to urinary incontinence. The physical and emotional demands of pregnancy and postpartum can be overwhelming, and incontinence further adds to the complexity of this journey.
Incontinence during the menopause
Menopause is a natural phase in a woman’s life that marks the end of her reproductive years. While it brings about various physical and emotional changes, one of the often-overlooked challenges that women may face during menopause is continence issues. The hormonal shifts and physiological changes that occur during this time can impact bladder control, leading to a range of urinary symptoms that can significantly affect a woman’s quality of life. One of the most common continence challenges experienced during menopause is urinary incontinence. This condition manifests as an involuntary leakage of urine, which can occur during activities such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, or even just during everyday movements. The decline in oestrogen levels during menopause can weaken the pelvic floor muscles that support the bladder and urethra, resulting in a decreased ability to control urine flow. This weakening of the pelvic floor muscles, combined with the reduced elasticity of the urethra, can contribute to stress urinary incontinence, the most prevalent type during menopause.
Another continence challenge that women may face is an overactive bladder. This condition is characterised by a sudden and urgent need to urinate, often accompanied by frequent trips to the bathroom. The hormonal fluctuations during menopause can disrupt the signalling between the bladder and the brain, leading to an increased frequency of bladder contractions. The overactive bladder can be particularly distressing for women as it can disrupt their sleep patterns and daily activities, causing embarrassment and anxiety.
Apart from urinary incontinence and overactive bladder, menopause can also exacerbate other pre-existing continence conditions such as urinary tract infections and pelvic organ prolapse. The decrease in oestrogen levels can affect the health of the urinary tract, making women more susceptible to infections. Pelvic organ prolapse, a condition where the pelvic organs descend into the vagina, can also be aggravated by the hormonal changes and weakening of the pelvic floor muscles during menopause.
Fortunately, there are various treatment options available to manage continence challenges during menopause. Women can seek the help of healthcare professionals, such as gynaecologists or urologists, who specialise in women’s health. These experts can provide a thorough evaluation and recommend appropriate interventions, including lifestyle modifications, pelvic floor exercises, medication, and in severe cases, surgical procedures.
Furthermore, women going through menopause can also benefit from support groups such as London Mums or counselling services that provide a safe space to discuss their concerns and share experiences with others facing similar challenges. Education and awareness about continence issues during menopause are crucial, as many women may feel embarrassed or hesitant to seek help. By promoting open conversations, we can break the stigma surrounding these issues and empower women to take control of their health.
Caring for a loved one with incontinence
When a family member or friend experiences incontinence, the responsibility of care giving often falls on the shoulders of those closest to them. This role can be physically and emotionally demanding, as it requires constant support and understanding. One of the ways to alleviate the challenges of care giving is by ensuring access to appropriate incontinence products, such as incontinence pants for adults that you can buy from Complete Care Shop, a reliable source for a wide range of incontinence products.
Fighting incontinence poverty
In the quest to find reliable and affordable incontinence products, many individuals and families often struggle to make ends meet. This struggle is known as incontinence poverty, a term that highlights the financial burden placed on households dealing with incontinence. Complete Care Shop (CCS), a reputable provider of healthcare and mobility aids, acknowledges this issue and aims to alleviate it.
Recognising the impact of incontinence poverty, CCS has partnered with organisations and suppliers to secure £150k worth of incontinence products for individuals and caregivers in need. This initiative seeks to help those who are struggling to afford the necessary products for themselves or their loved ones. By reducing the financial strain associated with incontinence, CCS aims to empower individuals to lead fulfilling lives and maintain their dignity.
Accessible support for those in need
Incontinence poverty is a genuine concern, akin to the well-known issue of period poverty. It affects people from all walks of life, and the burden can be overwhelming. However, it’s important to remember that support and resources are available.
For those requiring incontinence products free of charge, CCS helps through their customer care team. By calling 01772 675 048 or filling out a form on their landing page, individuals can access two items per household at no cost. This limited but crucial aid helps bridge the gap for those who are struggling to afford incontinence products.
Breaking the stigma: Empowering conversations
Beyond financial aid, it’s essential to break the stigma surrounding incontinence and encourage open conversations about this prevalent issue. By raising awareness and fostering dialogue, we can create an environment of empathy and understanding. Sharing personal experiences, like caring for a loved one with incontinence, can help normalise the topic and ensure that those affected do not suffer in silence.
This post is in conjunction with Complete Care Shop, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Monica Costa founded London Mums in September 2006 after her son Diego’s birth together with a group of mothers who felt the need of meeting up regularly to share the challenges and joys of motherhood in metropolitan and multicultural London. London Mums is the FREE and independent peer support group for mums and mumpreneurs based in London https://londonmumsmagazine.com and you can connect on Twitter @londonmums