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Ways in which urinary incontinence can affect quality of life

Emotional life

  • Feelings of stigma and humiliation
  • Social and recreational withdrawal. With the onset of urine incont-inence, the lifestyle becomes sedentary. Reduced physical activities leads to the occurrence of cardiovascular diseases, heart diseases, obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.
  • Fear and anxiety related to being incontinent in public. There is a persistent fear of odour, wetness and discomfort. Individuals are also conscious of developing skin diseases because of incontinence which stops them from socialising

Travel and holidays

  • Reluctance to visit new places
  • Need to pack protective materials, think of ways to dispose of used products. Individuals often have to cancel trips/visits to certain places if the washroom is not available which makes them feel isolated.


  • The quality and amount of sleep is affected, especially in people with an overactive bladder. The bedding and clothes have to be changed frequently because of wetting which adds on to the household work. The skin gets affected due to incontinence leading to the spread of incontinence dermatitis and skin infections.
  • Waking up several times a night and there may be incontinence on the way to the bathroom.
  • Nocturia is a common symptom of an overactive bladder.

Exercise and sport

  • A barrier to exercise: a particular problem in mixed incontinence. The onset of urine incontinence makes an individual less active in life because while exercising/running, there can be a sudden leakage of urine which creates unfavorable situations.


  • Loss of concentration and ability to perform physical tasks.
  • With the onset of urine incontinence, the chances of falls and fractures also increase
  • Interruption of work for toilet breaks. Individuals suffering from urine incontinence are often looking for washrooms when outdoors and are interrupted a lot of time amidst the work because of on-going incontinence problem.
  • Absence from work


  • Reduced intimacy, affection and physical proximity. Caregivers have to take care of adults suffering from incontinence in terms of financing, sleeping and socializing. Family members taking care or nurses often experience emotions of embarrassment.