Last Updated on 19th May 2021
Incontinence is a drag. It affects over 33 million Americans, and that number shows no signs of slowing anytime soon. The embarrassment people experience due to incontinence can reduce their self-confidence and seriously impair quality of life.
Rest assured, incontinence is not a death sentence, nor does it make relegation to the realms of the unfashionable an inevitability. Technology, research and management techniques have come a long way in recent years, meaning incontinence sufferers are more well-equipped than ever to tackle the condition. Read on for a range of looks and management ideas to help liberate you from the incontinence-imposed shackles of bad fashion.
What exactly is incontinence?
Incontinence is a condition where people lose control over their bodily functions. While it ranges in severity, and some groups are more prone to it than others, all demographics are at risk. The two main categories include:
- Urinary incontinence: This is when you experience involuntary leakages from your bladder.
- Faecal incontinence: This is characterized by involuntary releases from the bowel and anus. This typically materializes as constipation, uncontrollable gas, diarrhoea or the involuntary release of faecal matter.
Two common causes of incontinence include childbirth and menopause, so women may be understandably more worried about it than men. As women get older, the likelihood of suffering from the condition only increases. Broadly speaking, across age groups the prevalence amongst young women is 20%, middle-aged women 30% and elderly women 40-50%.
In men, incontinence is often the result of problems with the prostate gland, and is especially common post-surgery. Statistically, men suffer from incontinence considerably less often than women at a rate of about 3-11% overall.
Follow these tips to manage your incontinence and dress with style, grace, and confidence.
- Incontinence underwear
Incontinence underwear is an undergarment that is thick, durable, and reassuringly absorbent. It has been specially designed to look and feel just like regular underwear, meaning that it is unnoticeable to both untrained and trained eyes.
The beauty of incontinence underwear is that you can choose any outfit. Jeans, dresses, skirts and even shorts (weather permitting, of course) become possible once again. Incontinence underwear eliminates restrictions to your wardrobe so you can once again enjoy a no-holds-barred approach to your outfit.
- Dark patterns
Remember when you were a young girl and your friend dropped that life-changing piece of advice: when you have your period, wear red underwear? Well, a similar logic can be applied to your dress sense and incontinence.
Wearing dark clothes is not only considered to be a fashion staple by many, but dark patterns are a great way to conceal and disguise any leakage that occurs. Dark blues, browns and blacks all work a treat in this department.
- Develop a gameplan
Let’s be real, dressing well takes intelligence. It’s a projection of your own creativity and individuality. Given how adept you are as a person, trust that you’re more than capable of planning ahead so you’ll be prepared for any accident that may arise.
You need to prepare yourself a small, but well-equipped, emergency kit. Ideally, this should be a small, bag friendly case that contains sanitary equipment, tissues, hand sanitizer and possibly a fresh change of underwear. Essentially, a one-stop-shop where you are 100% able to deal with any accident in its entirety. This will leave your outfit and confidence untainted and able to weather anything your incontinence throws at it.
- Take advantage of incontinence-based tech developments
The beauty of fashion is that it’s adaptable enough to borrow from any industry, no matter how seemingly disparate. The tech industry is one such place, where rapid developments are leading to major breakthroughs for incontinence sufferers that can then assist in the all-too-important department of looking good.
One invention is the ‘Solace Balloon Delivery System’, or AttenueX. It is intended to reduce the impacts of stress incontinence – a kind of incontinence triggered by physical stress on the body such as coughing, laughing or exercise.
The AttenueX is a small lightweight balloon and it works by floating in the bladder and absorbing stress-related shocks. The device could be a carefree way to manage incontinence, allowing you, rather than your incontinence, to pick your outfit. Experts are still weighing the plausibility of this solution, but it points in some interesting directions.
Incontinence is a common illness that can hinder your confidence and, by association, your fashion choices. By following ideas like wearing incontinence underwear, colour coordinating, planning ahead and exploring tech options, you can look great and feel empowered by the freedom of these counter-incontinence measures.