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Patient Perspective: Opening Up About Incontinence Is Easier Than You Might Think

All my life, I’ve been a sharer. I’m an open book with my friends and family, and carry few secrets. Which is why it surprised even me when I started experiencing bladder leaks and didn’t tell anyone.

Let’s face it – it’s embarrassing. It’s not something you want to let everyone know about. And so, for a while, I didn’t tell a soul. My husband was kept in the dark (although I’m pretty sure he knew, despite my efforts to hide it). I didn’t tell my grown daughters. I didn’t even tell my doctor during my checkup. I was just too humiliated.

But then it just really started to get me down. I didn’t like that I was keeping this secret. I didn’t like that it was affecting not only the things I did, but also my relationships. I felt that by withholding this fact about me, I wasn’t being truly honest with those close to me about how I was doing, or what was going on with me.

So, when my next doctor’s appointment rolled around, I took a deep breath and I let it all out. I told him about my bladder leaks, how it was making me feel, and that I wanted a solution. I told him that I felt so embarrassed to talk about it but just couldn’t keep it in any longer.

Luckily, my doctor was extremely understanding and supportive. He told me that many people have this issue when they get a bit older, but it certainly isn’t something that has to just be accepted and there are lots of options (thank goodness!!). He pointed me here, to NAFC.org, to learn more about bladder leaks, recommended a good absorbent product, and then started me on a medication to treat Overactive Bladder.

What a difference it has made! Not only do I know more about my own body and why this is happening to me, I’ve learned about tons of things I can try, even if the medication I’m on doesn’t end up working for me.

I’m starting to see some progress, but for me, just getting the issue out in the open has been the biggest plus for me. I don’t feel like I’m hiding anything anymore, and more importantly, I feel like I’ve taken a positive step forward in actually doing something about my bladder leaks.

Don’t be afraid to seek help. As embarrassing as it is to speak up, it’s far worse to remain silent and live with a leaky bladder.

Fiona S., Portland, OR

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