The taboos around incontinence

 The questions you might be afraid to ask - answered

We all know that little leaks can be embarrassing, but sometimes it can feel just as embarrassing trying to talk about them. This means you might not ask the real questions you want the answers to.

When it comes to incontinence, nothing should be off limits - so let’s try and tackle some of those frequently asked questions and taboo topics.

Can you catch it?

It might sound like a silly question, but there are no silly questions here! After all, incontinence is a medical condition, and it’s not always clear how it occurs. There’s a simple answer for this one though: no, you can’t catch it. Incontinence can be caused by many things, but you cannot catch it from someone else.

Can you have sex?

Yes, you can! Incontinence doesn’t need to have a negative impact on your sex life. Leaks during sex can happen to anyone at any age, so try not to let it put you off. Regardless, it’s a good idea to talk to your partner about any concerns you have – it can help improve your intimacy and make you feel more comfortable and confident.

If you do experience leaks in the bedroom, there are a couple of things you can try to help reduce them, like emptying your bladder and reducing your fluid intake before you have sex. You could also give kegel exercises a go. Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles helps to give you more control over your bladder, and it could even mean stronger orgasms for women.

How can I avoid rashes?

Moisture or wetness can irritate the skin, leaving you sore or prone to rashes – uncomfortable and unpleasant. So what can you do to help avoid it?

Many pads, pants and liners are designed with a material that locks in moisture to help you stay dry, so sometimes it’s just a case of finding the right product for you. Make sure to opt for something that’s breathable and doesn’t rub, if you can.

Practicing good hygiene is really important when it comes to looking after your skin. Use a gentle soap or cleanser to help minimise irritation and be sure to wash frequently. 

How can I help avoid odours?

There’s nothing more telltale than an unpleasant smell, but don’t worry; there’s absolutely no reason why anyone should suspect those little leaks. There are plenty of ways to help prevent or disguise any unwanted odours. Just as many incontinence products lock in moisture, they can lock in smells as well. It’s important to choose something that fits well though to ensure it works – you want it to be snug and not shift.

Another tip is to make sure you drink plenty of fluids, especially water or squash, throughout the day. Now, this may sound counterproductive, but this can help keep your urine clearer in colour and the smell more mild.

Seeking medical advice?

You shouldn’t feel embarrassed talking to someone about your symptoms. If you think you have any type of urinary incontinence, it’s important that you seek medical advice from your doctor.