Mental health is essential at every stage of life and affects how we think, feel, and act because it includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Trying to manage a urinary incontinence condition can leave one feeling mentally exhausted. Experiencing a urinary incontinence accident in public can be highly embarrassing and potentially lead to psychological consequences.
The Basics About Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence is also referred to as bladder leakage and is a more common condition that most often comes with age. The involuntary loss of urine is not a disease itself but rather a symptom of another underlying condition.
There are three types of urinary incontinence:
- Stress incontinence occurs when urine leaks happen when you cough, sneeze, jump, or laugh, due to weakened pelvic floor muscles.
- Urge incontinence, also called overactive bladder, typically occurs in older men and women. When the bladder muscles weaken or its urine-holding capacity decreases, the bladder uncontrollably contracts, causing an intense urge to urinate, resulting in leaks.
- Mixed incontinence is a combination of both urge and stress incontinence.
Common underlying conditions that cause urinary incontinence:
- Pregnancy can cause hormonal changes, and the additional weight on the bladder can lead to stress incontinence.
- Aging of the bladder muscle can decrease its capacity to hold urine.
- An enlarged prostate gland can cause the bladder muscle to malfunction and lead to urge incontinence.
- A hysterectomy involves removing the uterus, which may damage the supporting pelvic floor muscles, leading to urinary incontinence.
- Neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Multiple sclerosis, a spinal cord injury, or a stroke can cause interference with the nervous system and throw nerve signals involved in bladder control out of whack, causing urinary incontinence.
The Importance of Mental Health and Wellness
Mental health is essential to living a healthy, balanced life and determines how we handle our lives’ stressors. It also impacts the relationships we form with others and the choices and decisions we make daily. Our thinking, mood, and behaviors can be affected throughout our lives if we experience mental health problems. Being emotionally healthy can help promote productivity and effectiveness in activities like work or caregiving.
The Connection Between Urinary Incontinence and Mental Health
Because urinary incontinence can feel embarrassing for some, it can often lead to depression and anxiety. On the flip side, if you are suffering from depression and anxiety, your urinary incontinence could be the precursor to urinary incontinence.
Those who suffer from urinary incontinence might experience a considerable impact on their dignity and self-confidence. The physical discomfort and psychological effects can lead to isolation to avoid possible embarrassment in social situations. Outings, parties, and other regular social activities that were once enjoyed may become challenging to handle for fear of having an accident in public. The greater the urinary incontinence condition is can likely contribute to a greater degree of depression.
Signs of a Mental Health Concern
If you or someone you know are struggling with a urinary incontinence condition, there are some signs to watch out for that may suggest you need some professional guidance. Remember, good mental health is essential for your entire mind and body to function at its optimal level.
Some signs of mental health issues are:
- Overly tired with low energy
- Sleeping problems
- Extreme mood swings
- Missed work or appointments
- Decreased enjoyment of life
- Inability to think or concentrate
- Isolation from family and friends
- Notable changes in eating habits
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
Mental illness can be temporary or last a long time but is critical to address. It is essential to pay attention to any of these changes and contact your doctor or therapist for treatment. If you or anyone you know have displayed suicidal thoughts or behaviors, get help right away. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or use the chat function at suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat.
At-Home Treatment for Urinary Incontinence
As we mentioned earlier, urinary incontinence can be caused by various factors such as pregnancy, an enlarged prostate, or a neurological condition, to name a few. However, there are ways to manage urinary incontinence right from your own home.
- Kegel exercises, or pelvic floor exercises, can help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. When the pelvic floor muscles are in shape, the uterus and bladder are appropriately supported to prevent accidental urinary leaks.
- Diet plays a role in the severity of a urinary incontinence condition. A poor diet lacking proper nutrients can lead to an aggravated urinary tract. Avoiding foods and beverages like caffeine, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, and some spicy foods may improve your symptoms. And remember to drink plenty of water to flush your system.
- Bladder training can help lengthen the time between trips to the restroom until you are only urinating every 2-4 hours. Keeping a bladder journal is a helpful tool that can help you and your doctor better understand your condition.
- Urinary incontinence products help manage your condition no matter how much absorbency you require. There are various urinary incontinence products available for light, moderate, and maximum absorbencies and different styles for activity types. You can learn more and read in-depth information about incontinence pads, absorbency levels, styles, and even how to choose the correct size and fit on our All About Incontinence Pads blog post.
Good mental health is essential for us to be balanced emotionally, physically, and psychologically. Urinary incontinence, combined with poor mental health, is worse than either condition alone. It is imperative to treat both of these conditions as early as possible to avoid a significant impact on your health and quality of life.
For any questions related to the incontinence products we carry or for more information related to urinary incontinence, our Personally Delivered Product Experts are just a phone call away and ready to help. For more serious concerns related to the signs of poor mental health we outlined above, immediately contact your doctor or therapist.