Last week I wrote about individuals in “phase one” of incontinence – the pre-medical-care phase. This week is all about the “phase two-ers” out there. Phase two is for individuals who have sought out medical care, but have not yet achieved dryness through treatment or management.
Phase two is for the individuals who have been recommended a treatment, but didn’t like it (or even try it) for whatever reason. Phase two is for the individuals who have tried a treatment (or two or three), but without success (yet!).
I personally feel that individuals in this phase can benefit the most from peer support. If you’ve been prescribed a medicine that you don’t think you want to take, a surgery that you’re afraid to undergo, or biofeedback that you just don’t have faith will work, who better to work these issues out with than someone else who has undergone the treatment? If you’ve tried x, y, and z, all without result, who better to tell you their experience with alternative treatment than someone else who’s been there?
Peer support can also help to lift your spirits when you start to feel hopeless. Chances are that it took you a while to seek medical help in the first place. You finally convinced yourself to do it, starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, only to have your dreams crushed by an undesirable treatment option or, worse, a treatment that didn’t work. It can be challenging, both physically and psychologically, to stay the course and keep looking for the right answer. I often hear from individuals with incontinence who have lost all hope, stating that they’ve “tried everything.” But have you really tried everything? Take a look at this long list of possible treatment and management options – it doesn’t all apply to every situation, but there’s still a lot to consider:
- Bladder re-training
- Scheduled toileting
- Pelvic floor exercises
- Vaginal cones or weights
- Electrical stimulation
- Dietary changes to avoid bladder irritants
- Medications for OAB
- Occlusion devices for men
- Pessaries for women
- Urethral sling surgery
- Collagen injections
- Condom catheters
- Clean intermittent catheterization
- Absorbent products (be sure to use the right absorbency level!)
- Surgery to repair muscle damage in the case of fecal incontinence
- Sacral nerve stimulation
To individuals in this phase two group, I encourage you to continue looking for the right answers. If you’ve followed your doctor’s advice and course of treatment without result, talk to your doctor about it. If he or she is uninterested in exploring other treatment options, get a second or third opinion. If you haven’t followed your doctor’s advice, go back and explain why, and request a treatment option that fits your lifestyle. Talk to your peers for their advice and feedback – online message boards are great, but also consider talking to your friends or family members about your situation – they may have been through have been through a similar situation themselves, or with another family member. Don’t give up hope – there is a lot of help out there!
Published On: March 26, 2007