Is There a Link Between Diabetes and Incontinence?

December 16, 2021

Is There a Link Between Diabetes and Incontinence?

While having diabetes doesn’t mean that you will experience incontinence, the disease does seem to increase your incontinence risk. ​There are several factors that may at least partially explain the reason for this connection.

*One is obesity. Weight is a definite risk factor for diabetes and obesity can also increase the pressure on the bladder and bowels ​adding to ​other issues that may affect one’s ability to maintain continence.

*Diarrhea is a common side effect of some diabetes medications so this could be an indirect cause.

*Nerve damage​ from uncontrolled diabetes is another reason. Once people can’t feel that urge to eliminate incontinence accidents are bound to follow.

Most of these risks could be modified by weight loss (hard as it can be), a medication change, and/or being diligent about maintaining good blood sugar levels. However, humans are human and what is easy enough to write in a list can be difficult to put into practice. The result? Incontinence does affect many of those living with diabetes.

One of Egosan’s articles tells Matt’s story which is about a young person who is incontinent due to an accident. After reading the article, one person commented:

“I am incontinent due to letting diabetes get out of control and causing neuropathy. I just can't fathom that you were ridiculed for wearing diapers, that is low. I have some embarrassment sometimes but am starting to own it more now. Good luck to you with your life's journeys!”

Incontinence and stigma

In the quote above, our reader referred to the bullying that Matt endured during his younger years due to his incontinence. Incontinence should be no more worth a negative comment than someone needing glasses, but life is life, and the reality is that adult incontinence still carries social stigma.

Other stories that tell about younger peoples’ struggles with the social stigma include Life with Dignity: Sexual Abuse Survivor Talks About Living with Incontinence and Gregory Struggles to Accept Double Incontinence as His Muscular Dystrophy Progresses.

However, it’s not just younger people who struggle with the social stigma that seems to come with the condition.  Husband Has Problems Accepting Surgically Caused Bowel Incontinence tells the story of an older man who has been having a very rough time accepting his condition.

Support from others who live with incontinence can be incredibly helpful as people try to get on with their lives. For that reason, Egosan launched a support group on Facebook not long ago. The only qualification needed to join is that you are living with incontinence or care for someone who is.

By Carol Bradley Bursack


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