World Continence Week

This World Continence Week let’s talk instead of being shy and be open about my journey hopefully it will help you.

World Continence Week
Photo by Jas Min on Unsplash Image description: an empty toilet roll is seen on a holder with the words ‘Don’t Panic’ written on it.

I was in my early twenties when I first became sick, and at first it just affected my left lower leg. My continence was not affected and to be honest I didn’t really think much about whether it would, I was young why would I struggle with that?

But as my illnesses progressed it affected my legs more, and after a big flare that put me into hospital my continence changed. I found that I would have urine incontinence if I became tired and because I have decreased sensation, I rarely know when it happens.

This means that if I am going out of the house I wear a pad just in case I have an accident while I am out, but as I don’t go out very often, I generally don’t wear anything at home because of how much it costs. Continence products are expensive, and I find myself thinking I can change if I am at home, and I am sure I am not the only person who thinks this way!

As you all know, I am a carer for my mom, and she has Multiple Sclerosis and with that she has continence problems as well. Her’s is quite bad, and she uses the knickers as well as pads and oh my goodness it costs so much money!

Now, if you are here in the UK like us, you can be referred to a bladder nurse through the NHS where they can help in some ways. One of those is to offer free pads, but the options are not the best and honestly me and my mom prefer to buy a brand that is comfortable and easy to use.

I am very thankful that we are able to make that choice, I think when it comes to continence and how it makes you feel, it is important to choose what works for you. I do wish there were choices that were better for the environment available, that is something I wish was available.

Though, saying that maybe I just don’t know about them because of my price range, being on benefits does kind of make that decision for you.

The last time my mother’s family came to visit, it was two aunts and my grandmother, they were discussing a possible trip to Liverpool where my grandmother was born. Mom said she wouldn’t go and when asked why, she replied because she was afraid of having an accident.

Both aunts then said that they have continence issues, and my grandmother did too, and they all wear pads for it. It was so interesting that we hadn’t talked about it before then, I had no idea they all had issues and that is because people don’t like to talk about it.

However, the talk we had was refreshing, funny and really lovely because it was three generations of women just talking openly and honestly. I wish we had the opportunity to do this more often, and I hope we will in future because it was so wonderful and made mom feel less alone.

My mom tends to stay home a lot because she doesn’t want to have an accident out with friends or where there isn’t access to a disabled toilet. The thought of that possibly happening isolates her and I often wonder how many other people feel the same.

It is time we stopped feeling embarrassed if we have continence issues, speak up and ask for help from your doctor. There are some things they can offer like pelvic floor exercises, or bladder training and in some cases and for some conditions, surgery may be an option.

But no matter what your continence is like, this World Continence Week lets talk and feel a little less alone!

Thank you xx

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