The Stigma of Incontinence Can Keep Older Adults Secluded Adding to Potential for Decline

The Stigma of Incontinence Can Keep Older Adults Secluded Adding to Potential for Decline

Dear Carol: I’m worried about my husband. We’re both in our 70s and in relatively good health but he’s had surgery for prostate cancer that’s left him incontinent. He’s keenly aware of the stigma that’s attached to incontinence, particularly with men friends. This keeps him from going out because he’s so sure people will “guess his secret.” I keep telling him that he’s not even close to being alone and that it’s likely that even among his friends there are other men who are incontinent. Can you give us some tips that might give him more confidence when he sees people? At this point he lives his life on the computer. I see this as the beginning of the end of a good quality of life for him and for us – not because of the incontinence but because of his embarrassment and refusal to see people. Thank you for anything you can do. – WL

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Dear WL: Your husband’s situation is not unusual. The stigma that stubbornly persists around adult incontinence is not just unfortunate – it’s damaging to quality of life for both of you. Socialization is vital to aging well which means that somehow, he must come to terms with his incontinence as an inconvenience rather than the beginning of the end as you put it. 

The first step, in my opinion, is that he join a support group. His doctor’s office should be able to direct him to a group close by or at least provide resources for finding one. An alternative, especially since he enjoys being on the computer, would be an online group. There are many available including some Facebook groups including Egosan's own Incontinence Support Group

A support group may help him come to terms with the fact that adult incontinence isn’t uncommon and shouldn’t cause any more shame than wearing glasses. Just understanding the scope of incontinence, especially among adults who’ve had bladder or prostate cancer, is important because that can help normalize this health issue.

Secondly, he needs to look at the products that he uses.

Here we’ll talk about Egosan because your husband fears that people will "guess his secret." One thing that even younger people who need incontinence protection love about Egosan products is the soft, quiet, cloth-like backing. No noisy, crackling plastic. 

Andrew wrote us to say, “…thought i'd try these for bowel and bladder control loss and 24/7 use. They are light and had a great fit on a man. And I could put them on silently at work.”

Egosan products are high-tech, not high bulk. I’m suggesting that your husband read Matt’s story,  “Incontinent at Age 22, Matt Tells His Story to Help Others” because it will help him understand that his situation is not unusual and also, well, it’s not just older people who face the challenges of incontinence. It can happen to younger people, too.

We do hope that after attending some support sessions and trying out the best protection he can find, your husband will be more comfortable seeing friends. We’re also hopeful that he might eventually become confident enough to let his friends know about how he deals with incontinence because doing so could help them or people they know. Let us know how things go, okay?

Carol Bradley Bursack

Need incontinence support for yourself or someone else? Try Egosan’s Incontinence Support Group on Facebook

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4 comments


  • Carol Bradley Bursack

    Hi Marina,
    Egosan diaper briefs ad pullups are super absorbent. They don’t depend on bulk – rather on technology. This fall there will be a new model that is expected to last nearly anyone 8 hours at night, but for how the Ultra is likely your best choice. You can order a free sample by clicking the free sample link in the footer of the blog. Just order your usual size and see how that works. It will give you something to go on. Let us know – we’d love to keep helping you find the right product! – Carol


  • Carol Bradley Bursack

    Hi Lori Lee,
    We’re so sorry to hear about your husband’s unfortunate surgeries! He sounds like a wonderful husband (and you sound like a wonderful wife!) so you are fortunate to have each other for support. We’d like to tell your story in an article if that’s okay. We can use “anonymous” if you prefer, but if you don’t mind that we use your name, that would be really nice. This is important information and would greatly help others.
    As for products, Egosan does not use plastic backing – the backing is soft cloth. Try ordering a free sample for your husband by clicking the free sample link in the footer at the end of the blog. That will give him a chance to try Egosan’s premium diaper brief. The pullups have the same cloth backing and all of them have aloe-infused liners to protect the skin. We’d love to hear back from you! Carol


  • Lori lee

    My husband has incontanace from his bowl which is something drs caused performing a section a fish line inserted around the muscle of the bowel. They figured the fishing line twice as a rule the quacks we get here did it a third time he was only in his early 50s the third time he figured so much it cut the bowel muscle making he life unbearable. Coughing lifting passing gas anything that could cause a woman to lose control of their bladder he losses his bowel. The only thing he does is was up toilet paper and place it between his bottom cheeks. He has been a heavy machine operator for 42 yrs .This issue did not stop him from going to work ! It has stopped our sex life and he is older than me but I love this man he accepted me for having ms at age 21 and stood by while I had back surgeries and total 27 operations in our 25 yrs together married for 20 this Aug I know he has tried pads he wore the under garmet after operations but it’s a hot job wearing anything plastic on it causes yeast infections on the skin does your company have any plans to create freedom from not undergarments containing plastic ? Like it was which we gigle the bottom talon that needs no insurtion this is more common than we realized until it happened to him God bless what you for the freedom you offer adults who suffer bladder incontinence but this issue is also something that should be dealt with he’s on a machine 12 hrs no bathrms around I hope either your company or another will take up this unspoken issue to help those who really suffer so much


  • Marina Pichie

    Hi,
    I have had full bladder incontinence, after I had surgery, surgery site opened up, needed to get to emergency as I was green due to the infection that opened surgery site. I have no bladder control which has become worse over the years. My question is l need to use 4 diapers at night, ordering your products will I still need to wear 4 diapers or just 1 at night due to absorption as this would affect the size I would need.
    Please reply with advice.
    Thank you


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