If you are experiencing bladder weakness, particularly if you feel your incontinence is getting worse, it may feel like a very embarrassing situation. It’s something that a lot of us don’t want to talk about and it may make you feel like you’re not quite yourself. This, in turn, can make it difficult to reach out to others.
But what if we focused on the positive? Seeking help for bladder weakness helps us to cope with the situation a little better, as can finding people and resources to support us. And most of all, accepting help puts us back on the path to living life in full view.
Why are we afraid to seek help?
There are two main reasons why we might find it difficult to ask for help, especially when we feel that our bladder weakness is getting worse: firstly, you may feel some shame about your symptoms and think that asking for help makes you less independent. We often feel shame when we think that our actions don’t live up to the standards of those around us. This can make it difficult to ask for help, as we live in a society that encourages us to be ‘independent’ by helping ourselves. While experiencing urges and leaks, adjusting to different incontinence products, and increasing medical visits can be difficult to navigate, asking for help will actually help increase your independence.
In addition, some people are embarrassed by bladder weakness, because they feel that it is down to a problem with their self-control. However, we at iD want to reiterate that physical symptoms of this nature have nothing to do with a lack of self-control and should no longer be taboo.
Secondly, you might feel like you’re alone in experiencing these symptoms, which is simply not the case. But, the reality is that there are millions of people out there suffering from this issue; the NHS estimates that between 3 and 6 million people in the UK have some degree of urinary incontinence.
How to ask for (and accept) help when incontinence is getting worse
1. Be honest
…with yourself, and with others. Being honest first means accepting that you need help and that getting help is okay. Honesty also means letting your closest friends and family know how you feel and what makes you feel better. Some examples of what you can say are:
- “I love it when you call me. It helps to get things off my chest!”
- “Thank you for going shopping with me. I really appreciate it when you accommodate my bathroom breaks.”
- “I would be happy to go for a run with you, but running can sometimes lead to uncontrolled leaks. Would you like to go on a walk with me instead?”
Being honest about your feelings can be scary. But you don’t have to reveal all your feelings at once. Simple statements are all that’s necessary to tell others about your needs.
2. Be specific
Specifying if and when you would like someone’s assistance is crucial to building and maintaining a strong relationship. It also allows you to stay independent and in-control. When giving specific instructions for assistance, you could say:
- “I need to go shopping for my granddaughter’s birthday, but I sometimes feel self-conscious going into town alone. Could you come with me?”
- “I need to pick up something from the pharmacy, but haven’t felt well enough to do it. Could you bring me what I need and drop it by?”
- “I would really love to come over for dinner, but spicy foods irritate my bladder. Would you mind if I helped you choose the menu, or if I brought something I could enjoy?”
Being specific can be difficult, but it has its benefits. Allowing others to help you on an as-requested basis gives you a better idea of what you can do.
Here at iD, we also want to help. For over 40 years, we have provided dermatologically-tested, high-quality products at a smart price. Made with light and ultra-comfortable materials, our range offers a discreet way to live life in full view.
Need further assistance? Our customer service is always ready to help you with product queries.
1 “The Psychology of Embarrassment, Shame, and Guilt”, N. Burton, 26 August 2014, Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hide-and-seek/201408/the-psychology-embarrassment-shame-and-guilt
2 “Some Statistics About Urinary and Faecal Incontinence”, allanda, n.d., Source: https://www.allaboutincontinence.co.uk/incontinence-statistics#:~:text=The%20NHS%20estimates%20that%20between,some%20degree%20of%20urinary%20incontinence.&text=Studies%20suggest%20that%20in%20the,and%2015%25%20of%20the%20population.