It’s time to mention the ‘unmentionable’

In an era where one openly discusses AIDS, sexual abuse, breast cancer, and sexually transmitted diseases, incontinence remains a topic that is simply not talked about. To address this problem, November has been declared Canada’s first Incontinence Awareness Month.

Incontinence (the loss of bladder and/or bowel control) impacts over 1.5 million Canadian men and women of all ages. It can be caused by a weakening of the pelvic floor muscles, the results of a disease process such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease, a birth defect, injuries from an accident, or a consequence of medications or surgery.

Incontinence can almost always be successfully cured, treated or managed. The first step is to consult a knowledgeable and interested healthcare professional. Most healthcare professionals first suggest a form of treatment other than medications or surgery. Depending upon the type and cause of incontinence, lifestyle changes, or exercises to help identify and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, may help.

For some individuals, medications can be effective. Surgery, an artificial sphincter, devices or an implant may be recommended. Many individuals rely on absorbenproducts or management devices.

For more information, contact the Canadian Continence Foundation at 1-800-265-9575.