Lose the Stigma About Incontinence: Even Young People Can be Affected

December 03, 2020

Lose the Stigma About Incontinence: Even Young People Can be Affected

Dear Carol: I’m only 29, but I am incontinent and will probably remain like this unless there’s some medical miracle. Nerve injuries from an accident are what caused my problem, but I’ve met other younger people online and in support groups and they have the same complaint that I do. Practically everything that you read about adult incontinence refers to older people with prostate problems, or menopause, or dementia – or whatever. Young people would like to see this condition normalized to some extent. We are not less competent just because we need to use incontinence products. Can you please spread the word? –

Dear SL: You have every right to feel left out of the incontinence discussions. I’m glad that you’ve found some support through groups, but we’d like you to know that we’ll also do our best to support you.

With that in mind, here's a brief report for readers on some of the more common reasons that young adults may live with incontinence. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but I think that people can get the message.

Structural problems in the urinary tract. Some of these issues can be fixed, but others can’t, so the person affected will need to look at basic elimination functions differently. These unique differences are often genetic.

Physical trauma such as an accident: We are aware that most adults using incontinence products are older, however we have had courageous readers remind us that they, too, can need them. Physical trauma is often the reason.

Disease: Any number of diseases can cause incontinence at any age, including diabetes. Sometimes incontinence is temporary, but often it is a life-change that people need to adjust to.

Emotional and mental trauma and illnesses: Trauma, anxiety, and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are examples.

Other issues: Hormone differences, constipation which can put pressure on the bladder, overactive bladder, urinary tract infections (UTIs), and very deep sleep can all cause incontinence concerns.

Again, this is not an exhaustive list, but it should give readers an idea that incontinence in young people is not as rare as most people would think.

Shining Light, I’d like to thank you for being actively involved in helping Egosan and others become more inclusive. There isn’t a person alive that doesn’t have something different about them. 

By Carol Bradley Bursack


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