Women talking at homeThe untimely passing of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade brought a sea of confusion to the world this year. Regardless if you followed Anthony or Kate, you were probably shocked at the news of their deaths. How could these two successful people end their own lives? Obviously, mental illness isn’t a condition that someone can see. Other health conditions such as bladder leakage are also not noticeable at first glance. The discussion of mental health rose after the deaths of celebrities coping with these illnesses, so why not start the discussion about bladder health to help those coping in silence? 

Mental Health Stigma

Here are some startling facts: 44 million adults have a mental health condition. Two-thirds of adults won't seek professional help due to stigma. As unfortunate as the deaths of Bourdain and Spade were, they helped provide awareness of just how prevalent mental illness is. How can we positively bring awareness of another stigmatized condition such as bladder leakage? 

Bladder Leakage: More Common Than You Think

Overactive Bladder (OAB) and other types of bladder leakage are also categorized as stigmatized health conditions. If you do enough research online, you’ll find that bladder leakage can happen at various times in one’s life and is actually very common.

Incontinence or leakage can happen to anyone at any age, not just the elderly. Young women who give birth vaginally are more likely to have urinary incontinence for up to one year after their baby is born. And it’s more than just leakage. Women may also manage bowel leakage, organ prolapse, painful hemorrhoids, and lacerations. What about men? You might think prostate issues are to blame for the majority of men’s bladder issues, but lifestyle habits and other unexpected conditions contribute to men’s bladder leakage. Effects of lower back surgery, spinal cord injury, diabetes, and even weight gain can cause some various types of leakage in men of any age. 

If you are currently managing bladder leakage, you are not alone. About 25 million adult Americans are managing some type of urinary incontinence, mostly in silence with a minimal discussion with their healthcare providers. As part of our mission to break down the stigma associated with overactive bladder, we want to talk about the 6 reasons why you should consider talking about bladder leakage with your friends and family. 

Why You Should Talk About Bladder Health with Others

  1. Less stressed situations– If you can talk more about bladder health with others you may feel more comfortable when you do activities with friends or family. "I feel comfortable talking to my friend about my issue, I don’t have to make up a lie when I use the restroom frequently."
  2. Improved performance of bladder control supplies – If you can clearly explain your situation, then you’re more likely to get better products that meet your needs."I am using the best brief at night."
  3. Support outlet for others – You can be a support outlet for people who don’t have anyone to talk to."I was able to help a stranger managing overactive bladder in an online forum with some tips I learned along the way."
  4. Improved medical care for yourself– The more you can talk to your doctor about your condition the better treatment plan you’ll have."I was able to get more out of my doctor appointments."
  5. Increased happiness with oneself – A study from 2014 states that there are 10 ways to be a happier human being, one of the ten is self-acceptance. Be comfortable with who you are and it’ll go a long way. The survey said that practicing self-acceptance is one prominent task that can make the biggest difference. "I accept this condition and I can laugh about it now."
  6. Overall improved quality of life – According to the study above, the other three ways to live a better life are: Trying out new things, taking a positive approach and connecting with people. The more that you can take a positive approach to life’s unexpected issues, the more you give to others, the better you'll feel about yourself and your life."I feel am happy with my life and those in it."

Whether you or someone you know is managing some type of incontinence, know that it is manageable and is common. People can experience leakage during different points in their life so there’s no need to feel awkward about the situation. Treatments, surgeries and absorbent incontinence products all make it possible for one to live their best life. 

NorthShore is here to help with unique, life-changing products that can help you day and night. Our friendly and caring experts are here to listen and provide you with products that suit for lifestyle and needs. We offer personalized consultations without scripts. 

To learn more about the campaign that’s helping diminish health stigma please go to our other article.

How are you talking about mental health with others today? Will you help open the discussion regarding incontinence? Talking about bladder and bowel situations may seem a little out of your comfort zone, but starting with close family and friends is the first step. Once you can start talking with family, you can transition to the millions of others in the world through online forums or support groups. If you’d like to help with the campaign for health stigma please write on the challenge wall on the Rude2Respect site