Living with Incontinence

Worry less and laugh more

5 min Read
Worry less and laugh more


It’s only natural if you experience urinary incontinence to feel some degree of negative emotion. It’s like an unwelcome intruder has just walked into your life.

And it’s only natural, when you feel these feelings, to instinctively adjust parts of your life to help cope. But given the well-researched and established link between laughter and good emotional health, laughter is one of many things women and men living with incontinence need to keep doing to help lead a healthy and fulfilling life.

Living with urinary incontinence can be inconvenient but it is important to realise that sometimes the things you naturally think of to help you cope, create other problems for you. Sometimes your most well-intentioned responses can undermine your emotional well-being.

For example you might do things that you think are helpful, like not going to the gym, or avoiding social gatherings or missing out on family moments for fear of leakage, but withdrawing from your life like this can diminish your self-esteem and even lead to feelings of depression, anxiety, stress and shame.

Sometimes people stop going out altogether, limit travelling, avoid intimacy with their partner, close off communication with their friends and loved ones, and even stop exercising. All of these are things that make you happy. So why stop?

Remember, incontinence is a medical issue and not a measure of your worth.

Whether your incontinence is treatable, non-treatable, temporary or permanent you might be looking for new ways to help manage having accidents or to simply manage the fear of having them. The Healthy Coping Tips are designed to help you take good care of your emotional well-being while living with urinary incontinence.

Take a look at these ten simple tips and try to include them in your everyday life so that you can start laughing whole-heartedly again.

Healthy Coping Tips by Psychologist Nikki Duke
  • Avoid your avoiding - don’t stop living. Incontinence can be managed effectively. If you stop activities that give you pleasure and satisfaction you are more likely to become depressed.
  • Write it down - have a look at your self-talk. Would you say the things you think about yourself to someone you cared about?
  • Get factual information - don’t just believe what people have told you or go on your own assumptions. They or you could be wrong.
  • Stay physically active - adapt your type of exercise if need be but exercise is great for your mood and self-esteem.
  • Exercise self-compassion - don’t beat yourself up or think badly about yourself. Incontinence does not change your worth.
  • Face your fears - not living your life will only reduce your confidence and raise anxiety. To gain confidence and lessen anxiety you will have to do the things you fear. By using the right products you don’t need to be limited.
  • Talk and talk and talk some more - use your support people. If you don’t have support people get professional help. Don’t sit in silence.
  • Get the right stuff - there are amazing products to help with bladder leakage. Make sure you get the right ones though.
  • Stay social - consider giving up people who make you feel bad about the problem, but don’t become isolated.
  • Keep laughing - and don’t miss out on life.
  • See your doctor for proper investigation and treatment referral. It can be treatable.

Nikki Duke, M.A. Hons., Dip. CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy): Psychologist, author and originator of the Healthy Coping Tips, Nikki Duke has fifteen years experience in the field of mental health. She is passionate about helping clients gain important life skills and to achieve goals that support their emotional well being. A published author, Nikki’s latest book is entitled: Exercise your Mind, Heal your Heart – A Simple Guide to a Better Life.