Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size

The Emotional Side of Incontinence

By Amanda MacMillan
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Stuart Bergman, MD

Incontinence is different from just needing to go to the bathroom. It's a sensitive issue that can cause a range of feelings. It's not a normal part of aging or something you have to just live with. And it can happen to anyone, both men and women, though it is not as common in men.     

There are steps you can take to manage your condition and your state of mind. Talk with your doctor so you know what the problem is and can start working on treatment.

Recommended Related to Urinary Incontinence/OAB

10 Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Overactive Bladder or Urge Incontinence

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with overactive bladder (OAB), ask your doctor these questions at your next visit. Are there medications I can take to treat my OAB? What side effects might the medication cause, and what can I do to help manage them? How quickly do the medications take effect? What if the medications don't work for me? Are there other treatment options? If my OAB gets better, can I stop taking the medication? Are there foods or beverages I should avoid...

Read the 10 Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Overactive Bladder or Urge Incontinence article > >

If It Bothers You

Incontinence makes some people anxious, says Karen Noblett, MD, director of urogynecology at the University of California Irvine. They might stay home or avoid social situations because they're not sure if they're going to have an incontinence "accident."

If that sounds like you, there are two steps you can take: managing the emotions that come with feeling like your body does things you can't control and getting treatment for the medical problem itself.

On the emotional side, you may want to talk with a counselor if your feelings bother you and interfere with your everyday life. You may also want to look into meditation or other relaxing practices that can help when you have a hard day.

It might help to express your feelings at a support group or to visit an online community where there are people who have had similar experiences.

Fix It

You'll also want to work on the condition itself. Your doctor may suggest you keep a record of your diet, behaviors, and bathroom activities.

"We'll look at how many times you urinate or leak throughout the day and under what circumstances. And from there, we can usually advise women to change certain habits," says Mamta Mamik, MD, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

Other treatments include medications, behavioral therapy, biofeedback (which helps you control your urge to go), and several types of implants and shots.

Most people with incontinence don't need surgery. But if you try other treatments and don't get enough benefits, talk to your doctor to discuss your options.

Reviewed on August 26, 2015
Next Article:

How does incontinence affect your life?