It’s hard to manage any medical condition without getting some type of support. Because incontinence is still viewed as an embarrassing condition, that might keep you from reaching out to others. Try to remember that people in a specific support group all share the same challenges you do—that should diminish your embarrassment. And the education, inspiration and encouragement you can get from support group members can help you more than you realize. Just being able to talk openly about what you’re facing can free you of some of the stress that’s been building up (and that can, in some situations, worsen your incontinence).
There are great organizations that offer resources and detailed information, all just a few clicks away:
National Association for Continence
The mission of the National Association For Continence is to educate the public about the causes, diagnosis categories, treatment options and management alternatives for incontinence, voiding dysfunction and related pelvic floor disorders; to network with other organizations and agencies to elevate the visibility and priority given to these areas; and to advocate on behalf of consumers who suffer from such symptoms as a result of disease or other illness, obstetrical, surgical or other trauma, or deterioration due to the aging process itself. NAFC is funded by consumers, healthcare professionals and industry (including pharmaceutical and medical device companies). It’s the world’s largest and most prolific consumer advocacy organization devoted exclusively to this field.
The National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse
This federal agency is a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, itself a part of the National Institutes of Health. The Clearinghouse provides information about diseases of the kidneys and urologic system to people with kidney and urologic disorders and to their families. NKUDIC answers inquiries; develops, reviews, and distributes publications; and works closely with professional and patient organizations and government agencies to coordinate resources about kidney and urologic diseases.
International Urogynecological Association
Based in Pompano Beach, Florida, IUGA is dedicated to advances in knowledge of urogynecological diseases, urinary or fecal incontinence and vaginal prolapse. The site offers informational brochures and directories. On its patient pages, you’ll find patient brochures can be downloaded in pdf format. They include a diary for bladder training, details on bladder training, information about incontinence and forums for asking questions and exchanging ideas.
World Federation of Incontinent Patients
The Federation is dedicated to promoting the interests of people with incontinence and related pelvic floor disorders on a worldwide scale. The WFIP provides its individual member associations with the most comprehensive and up-to-date information, guidelines and educational resources. It seeks global cooperation and consensus via advocacy, public health education and contact with official and scientific bodies and other patient advocacy groups. You can read about new initiatives on their site.