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Patient Perspective: Asking For Help Is Ok. (Living With Incontinence As A College Student.)

At my age, 23, nobody expects to experience incontinence let alone a total loss of control over certain aspects of your body but I have had to experience this and have had a lot to learn on the way.

When I started to experience both bowel and bladder incontinence I depended on my family a lot for making most medical decisions and emotional support. The problem arose when I wanted to make decisions for my future.

My family painted me an overly optimistic picture where I would overcome my issues with incontinence. Since a young age, I had struggled with clinical depression (MDD and Dysthymia), and when I came to realize that my incontinence was something I may have to deal with potentially forever, I was not ready to emotionally handle it and it really affected me. Especially bowel incontinence which can be very demoralizing.

It happened at a point where I started to communicate more with my doctors and really started to understand what the reality was and how to prepare for it. Currently, I deal with incontinence using adult briefs. This is not the most ideal but after a colostomy infection around a year ago, I had it reversed, and unfortunately, I am delaying the idea of the colostomy and urostomy until I’m a lot older.

Initially talking to people about my issues was really difficult. This is undoubtedly for most people the most embarrassing topic to bring up, but the incontinent community, especially the message boards from NAFC, is what made the biggest difference in my life.

Before that, finding the perfect incontinence product was not easy and I would always end up needing more protection than I thought. And one big problem for me is finding good protection at smaller sizes that are more discreet. My Doctor would have no idea what brands and types are out there and this is where community comes in.

Especially from the NAFC community, I found the best products and ways to deal with my incontinence to help me get through days and nights with minimal worry. I still have issues with briefs not being discreet enough and comfortable, but overall they have helped me become a functioning adult, go to school, work and be a part of society.

Most days are still tough to go through and not having any feeling or control is still a real inconvenience to deal with, especially alone. But being independent is important to me and I believe to other people as well and it is a very achievable goal.

Incontinence is something which can affect people of all ages and I believe being able to talk to your doctor and the community about it to get the help that you need is the best way of starting to help yourself and indirectly bring attention to this topic and getting rid of the taboo behind it.

Mia, Seattle, WA

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