How can you stop bladder incontinence affecting your sex and social life?
An active sex and social life is an important part of day-to-day living for many people. And the truth is, no one wants the added worry of leaking when they have sex or when they are out and about. You may even find yourself refusing sex or cancelling social plans if you are concerned about what might happen. But there are bladder incontinence treatments available to help you feel more confident, no matter what situation you are in. That’s why it’s so important to speak to a healthcare professional about your current symptoms. They are the persons best placed to give you an official diagnosis and start you on your path to continence. In the meantime, keep reading for useful tips and advice on how to stop bladder incontinence from affecting your sex and social life.
Find out more about bladder control tablets
One first-line treatment for bladder incontinence is medication, which can be available over-the-counter or as a prescription from your healthcare professional. In particular, anticholinergics are bladder control tablets that are often used to treat an overactive bladder (OAB) in both males and females. They work by blocking acetylcholine, a chemical that signals muscles in the bladder wall to contract. The most recent versions of these medications only need to be taken once a day, or can even be applied twice-weekly as a patch. Side effects may include constipation, dry mouth, and blurred vision. If you find that bladder control tablets are effective for you, they could help you get back to a more ‘normal’ sex and social life.
Have an open and honest conversation
Talking about incontinence with a friend or loved one can be difficult, but sharing your worries is important if you want to have sex and socialise comfortably. By talking with your partner about your worries about having sex, they can help you to relax and remove some of the stress involved. And by telling friends the reason why you are reluctant to socialise, they can be more understanding if you feel the need to cancel or to leave a gathering early. Basically – be as open and honest as you can! Remember, incontinence is not a disease, and it does not have to be dealt with on your own.
Get as prepared as possible
Aside from medication such as bladder control tablets, there are other things you can do to feel more in control of your sex and social life:
- Avoid incontinence triggering foods and drinks a few hours before you have sex or a social engagement.
- Before having sex or leaving the house, go to the bathroom, wait a few minutes then try again to ensure you have fully emptied your bladder or bowel.
- Try putting a protective sheet under your bedding to help you feel more relaxed during sex.
- Practice exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, which are key to bladder control.
- If you are going out, research the location of public toilets ahead of time, and have spare change available in case the nearest toilet is fee-paying, which invariably it is these days.
Don’t forget, you can ask for a table near the bathroom when making a restaurant booking, or an aisle seat if you are going to the cinema or theatre, or of course when travelling. We hope the above has helped you to feel more in control of your bladder. There are millions of people across the world who suffer from incontinence, and as a community we can all support each other to improve the quality of our lives. Good luck, and we hope you have a great week… however you spend it!
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