Bladder control problems not only affect the physical body, but can take a huge toll psychologically and emotionally. Medical solutions are often the easiest to diagnose and treat, but people suffering from symptoms related to bladder control problems should be aware of the potential and worsening impact on their overall wellbeing.
Psychological and Emotional Consequences
From a young age we're taught how to control our bowels and cultural norms about when and where to dispose of waste. Bodily waste remains one of the strongest and most persistent social taboos. People who suffer from bladder control problems are constantly aware of their condition and often go to great lengths to keep it a secret, even from loved ones. When bladder control is lost, especially in public, it can be a scarring event and the subsequent fear of future humiliation can lead to social isolation, problems at work and other major life impairments.
People who suffer from bladder control problems, even if they have been able to keep it a secret, often feel a lower sense of self-worth than most people. The fact that 50 to 70 percent of people with incontinence do not seek help for their condition highlights the sense of isolation and desperation many people with these conditions feel. The prolonged impact of keeping what can feel like a shameful secret takes its toll on the body through increased stress and decrease in overall quality of life.
Bladder control problems wreak havoc on the body during sleep. Of men and women age 30 to 70 who wake during the night to use the restroom, more than one-third get up twice or more during the night; the clinical diagnosis for nocturia . Poor quality of sleep can lead to health problems such as high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke, weight gain and depression.
Bladder control sufferers can have difficulty leading normal lives when it comes to interacting with society. When out to eat or planning an extended car ride, they need to locate the nearest restroom or make strategies to deal with urgent emergencies or accidents. Many people with bladder control issues stay as close to home as possible, giving up activities they've always loved like long walks, sports, eating out or going to the movies.
Incontinence increases your risk of recurring urinary tract infections, as well as leading to rashes, sores and skin infections from skin that is constantly wet.
While bladder control problems themselves may not be life threatening, frequent running to the bathroom or stress caused by conditions can lead to unsafe situations. The elderly are most susceptible to physical injuries due to bladder control issues while rushing to the bathroom at night or engaging in risky behavior to avoid embarrassment. People with neurological conditions like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's may also put themselves at added risk when dealing with symptoms of bladder control problems.