Wee Answer Wednesday: Wheel You Be My Valentine?

It’s the day before Valentine’s, a day some know as Desperation Day. It’s a day for the smug couples to finalize their plans and lonely singles to visit bars in hopes of picking up an acceptable Mr/Mrs Right Now. So in honor of the spirit of both Valentine’s Day and its ignominious ‘eve we’ve got some incontinence & romance related questions from users, like the link between incontinence and sexual dysfunction.

1. Is there a relationship between incontinence and sexual dysfunction?

Sometimes. Because incontinence and sexual function utilize many of the same organs and similar messages to and from your central nervous system, they frequently occur together. However, according to most doctors one doesn’t usually cause the other. However, sometimes we can see a causal link  because incontinence can cause men to feel less virile or sexually desirable, thereby affecting their confidence or leading to performance anxiety.

Both incontinence and sexual dysfunction are conditions you should talk to your doctor about. No matter what’s causing your incontinence, you can still experience fulfilling romantic relationships that include a sexual component.

2. How is sexuality affected by spinal cord injury?

Sexual function, as with all other human bodily systems, is controlled by the central nervous system. Thus, any injury to the central nervous system will affect sexual function. The question is to what extent function and sensation will be affected with injuries at various levels and degrees of severity. There is a growing body of information available to the newly injured about sexual function, fertility and related issues. We’ve included several links below:

For Health Care Professionals: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2941243/

For Men: http://www.christopherreeve.org/site/c.mtKZKgMWKwG/b.4453431/k.A0C5/Sexuality_for_Men.htm

3. Incontinence and sexual dysfunction after prostate cancer treatment is fairly common. Is there anything I can do to improve my function naturally?

You can do Kegel exercises to help kick start and strengthen your pelvic muscles. This can help you regain urinary control after prostate cancer treatment. Although more commonly associated with women, there are Kegel exercises out there for men. MedicineNet.com suggests the following to alleviate some forms of urinary incontinence:

To do Kegel exercises for men:

    • Contract these muscles for a slow count of five.
    • Release the muscles to a slow count of five.
    • Repeat 10 times.
    • Do a set of 10 Kegels daily, three times a day.

When you’re first starting, it may be easier to do Kegel exercises lying down, so your muscles aren’t fighting against gravity. It may also be easier to contract the muscles for just two or three seconds at first.

After a few weeks, increase the time until eventually you’re contracting the muscles for a slow five or 10 seconds, and do the exercises standing up. That puts more weight on the muscles, boosting your workout and improving your control. Remember not to tense your buttock, legs, or stomach muscles while you’re doing Kegels.

4. I find taking care of my husband’s incontinence difficult and sometimes I feel more like a caregiver than a partner or a lover. Is there anything he or I can do to manage his incontinence so that we can remember the fun reasons I used to touch his anatomy?

Caregiving for a loved one with incontinence can be an incredibly difficult situation and can definitely impact the intimacy in your relationship. Whether he is using adult diapers, condom catheters or using intermittent catheters – caregivers can spend up to 16 hours a week dealing with incontinence! That can include changing pads, laundry, dealing with infections and changing clothes.

The best way to get your intimacy back is to find a way to minimize the impact of incontinence on your life and your loved one’s independence. Men’s Liberty is a great way to do that because it can reduce infections, eliminate accidents and laundry/clothing changes. We even have an instant remover that can help you remove the Liberty when the mood strikes!

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