Think about all of the friendships you have formed throughout your life so far. Every single one of them has had some sort of impression on you and who you are today. Everyone from your next-door neighbor when you were 4 years old, to your college roommate has likely influenced you in some way. And for good reason. Friendships can have bonds even deeper than family ties. Sometimes we’re more honest with our BFFs than we are with our siblings or spouses. Friends hold a special place in our hearts and have been shown to have an important role in overall health as we age. But what if you aren’t comfortable going out with your girlfriends anymore because of your light bladder leaks? Is it really worth sacrificing friendships over those accidental leaks when you laugh?
Why Friendship is Important
First and foremost, friends are super important for our overall health. Humans are social creatures and we naturally seek connection with others. We crave the company of others like us with similar interests, senses of humor, intelligence, etc. There are some major benefits to having these kinds of relationships. According to PsychologyToday, meaningful friendships are vital to mental health and helping fight off loneliness as we age. Friendships help us get through difficult times and low points. This is especially important for those who are beginning to enter the stage of their lives when we lose spouses and loved ones.
Beyond the mental and emotional support we get from friendships, there are other benefits as well. A study from Harvard University concluded that friendships can even improve our brain health. According to LiveAboutDotCom, “Friends help us deal with stress, make better lifestyle choices that keep us strong, and allow us to rebound from health issues and disease more quickly.” In addition, the Mayo Clinic cites, “Adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of many significant health problems, including depression, high blood pressure and an unhealthy body mass index (BMI). Studies have even found that older adults with a rich social life are likely to live longer than their peers with fewer connections.” So, while your best friend of 25+ years may drive you crazy, she may be to thank for keeping your health in check all this time.
How Light Bladder Leaks Impact Friendship
While having solid friendships as an adult may help with fanning off certain signs of aging like weight gain, depression, and even help us live longer, unfortunately they cannot help fight off another common sign of aging: light bladder leaks. Specifically, light bladder leaks associated with Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI). SUI is the type of urinary incontinence in which bladder leaks are triggered by some sort of pressure on the abdomen or urinary tract. The pressure is usually triggered by something like a cough, sneeze, or when one is running, lifting, or laughing. Stress incontinence is one of the most common forms of incontinence impacting around 1 in 3 women at some point in their lives, according to the Urology Care Foundation. While common, many women still find it embarrassing and frustrating, and hardly something that they want to talk about with their girlfriends. Some women start isolating themselves as a result of their leaks – canceling plans or avoiding going out altogether. The National Association for Continence notes that people with SUI may develop depression as well, explaining that “Many people with SUI are deeply ashamed of their condition and live in constant fear of having an accident. This can lead to them avoiding things they once loved, like hanging out with friends or family, attending social events or even working out. This restrictive nature of SUI can lead to isolation, loneliness, and depression in many if left untreated.” So, what are we to do?
What should you do if you or one of your friends is suffering from light bladder leaks? It’s a pretty personal and embarrassing topic, but with the significant toll isolation and depression can take in lieu of not talking about it, it’s worth the awkward conversation. There are some steps you can take to not only help reduce your leaks, but also the embarrassment you might feel with it.
Get Help – If you start to notice light bladder leaks, talk to your doctor! Not only is urinary health an important indicator of overall health (and you should be notifying your doctor about changes to begin with), they can discuss options with you to help reduce and manage your leaks.
Know You’re Not Alone – If anything, know that you’re really, truly, not alone with light bladder leaks. You may find some comfort in knowing that you likely know someone with the same exact problem.
On the Go – Be prepared! No one wants to cancel plans with friends because of an “accident”. Have a go-bag with wipes, extra clothes, pads, and anything else that might help boost your confidence after a leak.
Revive® is designed to be your new BFF! It’s a reusable bladder support device designed for women with light bladder leaks as a result of SUI. Inserted like a tampon, Revive® comfortably supports the urinary tract internally to reduce leaks for up to 12 hours a day. After use, simply remove, clean, and store until the next use. Find yours over-the-counter at a retailer near you!