Stigma Reduction: Getting Treatment for Incontinence

Jennifer G Health Guide
  • Current Media and Support Services Reduce the Stigma of Incontinence


    There was a time when when the topic of incontinence was taboo.  I mean completely unmentionable, even in private discussions. It's amazing to think that before modern medicine evolved and ads for everything from erectile dysfunction drugs to bipolar disorder remedies started gracing television screens and computer monitors, there was a secrecy about--let's admit it--the delicate topic of incontinence and other "private" medical issues. 


    I remember as a kid and as a young adult thinking that incontinence was something only elderly people dealt with. No one ever mentioned younger people who regularly tackled such a dilemma. Even pregnant women and mothers who dealt with such things were shroud in secrecy.

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    This is no longer the case. As once-taboo topics about any kind of "weakness or infirmity"  (mental or physical) get more and more exposure through various types of media, we patients can feel more confident about discussing such issues. The stigma has definitely been reduced, right? Well, incontinence is STILL a bit of a delicate topic, but when we work on bringing it to light (in such forums as this one as well as with frank, in-person discussions with family, friends, doctors, and supportive services), we find that it gets a little easier to talk about as time goes by.


    Speaking Openly With a Doctor


    Here are a couple of tips to make speaking with your doctor about your incontinence a little easier:


    Bring a trusted person with you if you need moral support at a doctor's appointment. Just confiding in a loved one first can help you to approach a medical professional.


    Keep in mind that doctors have heard pretty much everything. Primary doctors have heard more unusual stories than incontinence, since they are trained to initially treat many kinds of medical problems. And specialists such as urologists (and OB/GYNs) concentrate on such issues and so they hear patients' stories about incontinence on a daily basis.


    Finding Open, Honest Support for Incontinence


    Nowadays, with all the pharmaceutical media attention directed at the topic of incontinence, it is easier to find support and reduce the anxiety about having a "bathroom" issue. Online places such as this forum provide a safe haven to discuss concerns and treatment options. The internet has definitely opened up support to those who want to receive it from the privacy of their own homes.


    Another outside option for patients to gain insight and realistic perspectives about incontinence is through in-person support systems. These include individual counseling to deal with the problem as well as group therapy or informal support groups through clinics and hospital systems to join others with the same condition and to share information and encouragement.


    Such advancements in patient counseling along with the increased media attention about incontinence have made the stigma of this issue less and less and have shed light on the fact that incontinence is more common than once suspected and it is widely accepted and supported.

Published On: July 20, 2010