Women’s voices: Incontinence
AcceptanceWomen talked about how they simply
…accepted it [leaking urine], as being part of pregnancy
…it’s only a few drops and I don’t feel it’s serious enough
Lack of understanding
Because I thought urinary incontinence was walking around and wetting yourself – but Deirdre said to me “it’s any type of leakage” – so I didn’t know that, do you know what I mean, nobody knows that, because there’s not enough information out there for people.
Happens in older people
…incontinence you just think, well I think of older people.
Maybe I’ve kind of inbuilt myself not to say that I’ve got incontinence – perhaps I do – but I wouldn’t have classified myself because I suppose the stereotype is you hear incontinence you think of – a thing, an older person’s condition.
Oh God the connotations are terrible, aren’t they? Like leaking urine to me sounds better than urinary incontinence.
Urinary incontinence just makes me think of adult nappies, and tena pads, and all sorts of things, so yea. And it also sounds very permanent.
I don’t put that term on it because we always think of incontinence as when you’re older, and you’re in a nursing home and you’re incontinent then – but I know I have stress incontinence, I just don’t use the term as it makes me feel older, and like it’s a bigger problem. They used to say a “leaky old woman”.
It just sounds very kind of, like definite and professional and serious.
Delaying seeking help
All of this tells us that there is a lack of information and a stigma around urinary incontinence, which helps to continue the misconception that leaking urine after giving birth is ‘normal’.Women put up with leaking urine, and many use strategies like using pads, changing their underwear frequently and finding out where toilets are when they go out. Some women stop exercising or change the type and amount of exercise they do and some women even reduce and restrict how much fluids they drink.Our message is – challenge what you think you know about incontinence, learn to control it and don’t let it control you or the way you live your life.In the next step, we are going to ask you to think about what you know about incontinence, and bust some common misconceptions in our interactive exercise.Despite having a health background I hesitate, because I’m kind of going, – to me incontinence is a bigger thing, even though I know the answer to that is “yes” I still don’t see it as that big a problem because I feel in my head I’m going “it’s just, it’s a little leak, it’s a few drops, that’s all I have” so therefore, no, I don’t have incontinence if I don’t lose the contents of my bladder, do you know what I mean’…‘And so even though, as I say, I kind of know the answer to that, still my immediate answer to that would be “no, I don’t”… It’s a definition issue and it’s an admittance as well though!
Women’s Health After Motherhood
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