Marcus, from Kent was diagnosed with bladder incontinence around four years ago, however he says that he has experienced bladder symptoms for as long as he can remember and these have gradually worsened over time.
Here, Marcus bravely shares his story of living with bladder incontinence in the hope that other men will feel less embarrassed and alone with their condition.
I’ve had bladder symptoms for as long as I can remember
Marcus, thank you for talking to Bladder and Bowel Community and MoliCare®
Can you tell us a little bit about your bladder condition and when you were diagnosed?
I was first diagnosed around four years ago, but I’ve had bladder symptoms for as long as I can remember. It first started off when I would dribble after urinating, then the amount of urine I was involuntarily passing increased to the point where I would fully release and be soaked when I felt the urge to urinate. Over time, I then lost the feeling of passing urine and this is where I’m at now.
I also have dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD and autism, but I don’t know if there is any link between these conditions and my bladder condition.
What symptoms do you experience with your bladder incontinence?
I have no feeling at all in my bladder. I can’t feel when I am passing urine and I also can’t feel when my bladder is full. The only sensation I have is when I feel that my pad is full or my catheter bag fills up on my leg. I also sometimes get a strong pain in my bladder area, a bit like my bladder is full to bursting and I need to pee, but my bladder is empty.
I have been undergoing a lot of tests to get to the root cause
What treatments have you had for your bladder incontinence?
At the moment, I have been undergoing a lot of tests to get to the root cause of my bladder incontinence. I’ve had ultrasound scans, a cystoscopy, a urodynamics study, which tests how well the bladder and sphincter muscles store and release urine. I was also advised to have a circumcision to help with my symptoms.
Did you experience any issues getting diagnosed?
I have had some issues where some doctors have thought that I was making my symptoms up or that they were only in my head. I’ve also had results go astray, which meant having to go through them again. I have now been diagnosed with bladder incontinence but I am still having to have tests as they don’t know what is causing it.
I do tend to follow a ‘good bladder diet’ and avoid foods that trigger a flare
Do you follow a specific diet or use specific products to help manage your condition?
Yes, I do tend to follow a ‘good bladder diet’ and avoid foods that trigger a flare but every now and then I might treat myself to something nice that can make my symptoms worsen. I also use incontinence pads for protection and I have a catheter.
Do you have any support from your family or friends in regard to your condition?
I have the support of two close friends, but that is about it.
Do you use a Just Can’t Wait card to help support you with your condition?
Yes, I use it quite a bit as a lot of the disabled toilets in my area have to be opened by staff, or I have to use the card to get into the building as I work nights driving and most petrol stations close the door overnight.
How are you doing now?
I am trying to deal with my bladder incontinence day-by-day and I sometimes struggle with managing it all and hiding it from others. Some of the recent tests have stressed me out and I have been scared to go and have them.
Go and visit your GP and start the process
Do you have any advice for someone who is experiencing bladder symptoms?
You should definitely go and visit your GP and start the process, as for me, it’s been a long process. Don’t be embarrassed by using protection such as incontinence pads, it is hard and sometimes I still struggle with it but it does help you to manage your condition a lot better.
How do you think we can get men to talk more openly about living with a bladder or bowel condition?
I’m not too sure. I guess by getting rid of the stigma that surrounds incontinence and the protection that it used to help support incontinence. I wanted to share my story today in the hope that others won’t feel so embarrassed by their condition and realise that it is nothing to be ashamed of.
Find out more
You can learn more about what causes urinary incontinence in the MoliCare® blog post. Having a loss of bladder control can feel distressing and embarrassing but with the right products and protection, you can still carry on with a full and active life.
You can browse the MoliCare® range through the Countrywide Health and Mobility Shop online.
If you are experiencing symptoms of bladder incontinence, then you should make an appointment to visit your GP to discuss what can be causing this. Many incontinence issues can be resolved with the right treatment.