The link between incontinence and mental health is frequently under-reported, but we know from our customers that incontinence can have a significant effect on a person’s self-confidence, self-esteem and dignity, and in some cases it can even lead to depression.

This is hardly surprising given the impact incontinence can have on daily life; once ‘normal’ activities and events can become more difficult, as many people fear the embarrassment of having an “accident” in public. And of course, planning around visiting public toilets is proving even more challenging during Covid 19. As a result, some people will decide it’s simply easier to stay at home, which frequently only increases feelings of isolation and stress.

Person feeling lonely in front of a window

Here at Arelle, we know that while incontinence can cause anxiety, it can also have a much deeper psychological and emotional impact, effecting relationships, exercise routines, work, even sleep patterns. The relationship between incontinence difficulties and mental health can be very complex indeed.

If this applies to you, or someone you know, it’s really important to remember that you’re not alone, and there are things you can do to help.

  • Talk to those you trust. It might be a friend or family member, but getting some emotional support from those around you is crucial if you are struggling
  • Talk to a medical professional – a GP can advise and refer you to specialist services if required, and a practice nurse should be able to give you some practical advice on how to manage your incontinence
  • Talk (or email/text/write to) a support organisation like Bladder Health UK, Bladder and Bowel UK or Bladder and Bowel Community. They often offer telephone support as well as a range of really helpful information online.
  • Connect with an online support group – such as the Facebook group coordinated by the Bladder and Bowel Community – it can really help to know there are others going through the same thing.

Bladder difficulties can affect anyone at any time in their lives. As more people begin to talk about the issue, this will hopefully encourage those living with incontinence that they are far from alone and that help and support is available.

People holding hands