Community Marketing Manager, Bladder and Bowel Community
With bladder conditions still being something of a taboo subject, many men live in isolation with depression and anxiety. Something as simple as learning to use intermittent self-catheters can transform a life.
Currently in the UK there are 14 million people living with a bladder condition1. A study conducted by the NHS found that up to 26% have some sort of catheter2, with males more likely to have a catheter in place3, yet bladder health and catheters are something which we rarely talk about.
David O’Donovan, a 28-year old music producer from Waterford in Ireland, explains how learning to use intermittent self catheters now means he can leave his house without fear.
“I have lived with a bladder condition for the majority of my life after being diagnosed with an atonic bladder. This means that the nerve that controls function between the bladder and the brain is not working and causes me to experience urinary retention.
Men need to be aware that there are usually easy solutions that can help manage bladder incontinence.
“Having a bladder condition can affect my life on a daily basis. I feel that I always need to be close to a toilet. I worry about meeting people, exercising and holding down my job as a music producer.
“Before learning to use intermittent catheters, I’d had lots of treatment on my bladder, which had not worked including a suprapubic catheter. Intermittent catheters have changed my life. I now go on walks without fear and meet family and friends. I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner. Once you get over the initial fear of it, it’s no worse than a pinch and now I could do it in my sleep. I didn’t realise how limited my life was before intermittent catheters. The future for me now looks bright”.
Men shouldn’t have to live in fear
We are now in an age where we are being encouraged to be open about our health and wellbeing and this should include our bladder health. Men need to be aware that there are usually easy solutions that can help manage bladder incontinence including something as simple as having the new digital ‘Just Can’t Wait’ card from the Bladder and Bowel Community on their smartphone. This easy to install tool can help to increase confidence whilst out and about.
It’s important to make an appointment with the GP and be open about how your bladder is affecting your life so that the condition can be identified and treated appropriately. There is no need to hide away.
Find out more information at bladderandbowel.org.
1 Excellence in continence 2018, NHS England
2 Variation in the prevalence of urinary catheters: a profile of National Health Service patients in England, BMJ Journals
3 Variation in the prevalence of urinary catheters: a profile of National Health Service patients in England, BMJ Journals