Managing your incontinence
Presenting on stage with incontinence
Many jobs and social activities involve presentation skills. Being asked to present shows that people trust you and respect your skills. You want to make a good impression, convey the right message and achieve your goal.
You could be:
The keynote speaker at a major conference
Presenting to clients in a boardroom
Running a trivia night
Giving a speech at a family wedding
It may be a recognition of your skills but it’s not always easy being the focus of everyone’s attention. In fact, it can be quite stressful, especially if you live with incontinence – which is more common among working-age professionals than most people think.
Incontinence among people of working age
The Continence Foundation of Australia notes that, among women with urinary incontinence who live in the community (rather than in care), over half are under 50.1
Contributing factors can include:
Childbirth – 1 in 3 women who ever had a baby leak urine2
The onset of menopause3
Among men, contributing factors can include:
Being overweight or obese – 83% of 45-54-year-olds are overweight or obese5
Like you, these men and women are in the prime of life – often at the peak of their careers, facing situations that may require presenting on stage.
The link between anxiety and stress and incontinence
The relationship between stress and anxiety goes both ways. Having to manage incontinence while performing on stage could add to stress. Feeling stressed can sometimes trigger incontinence 8,9 (though that’s different to stress incontinence which happens due to the physical stress of coughing or sneezing).
Some people find that presenting on stage can cause stress or performance anxiety. You’re required to do something public or important and you might be afraid it’s all going to go horribly wrong.7
In some people, stress or anxiety can trigger a frequent or urgent need to urinate. One study of 16,000 women in Norway found that women who had anxiety or depression were 1.5-2 times more likely to develop urinary incontinence.8
Stress and anxiety can trigger the ‘fight or flight’ response, which increases the sensitivity of your nervous system. Stress and anxiety can also lead to muscle tension, which may increase the urge to urinate or defecate.9
So, if you have to present on stage but are worried about incontinence, how can you boost your chances of success? It all comes down to being prepared.
Preparing to succeed when presenting on stage
Being prepared can help alleviate some of the stress involved in presenting on stage.
You’re likely to feel mentally prepared for presenting on stage if you:
Know your material well – learn your speech, rehearse answers to likely questions
Visualise yourself succeeding on stage
Breathe – breathing deeply is an excellent way to calm your nervous system10
The pelvic floor muscles are the layer of muscles that span from the pubic to the tailbone and support the bladder and bowel as well as the uterus and vagina in females.11
Pelvic floor exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles to improve bladder control. A review of 31 clinical trials showed an association between pelvic floor exercises and improvements in both continence and quality of life.12
A program of bladder training exercises may also help to ease symptoms of urge incontinence.13 Talk to a continence professional for advice or call the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66.
As the fashion industry loves to tell us, the right clothes can increase your confidence. There might be some truth in it – especially when it comes to incontinence.
Dark bottoms may make you feel more secure because they’ll help to hide any leaks.
Hopefully, though, there won’t be any leaks to hide and you can still wear those light coloured bottoms. MoliCareⓇ’s extensive range of continence products includes pads and pull-ups that provide a sense of security and discretion, helping to contain any leaks. When you feel protected, you’re free to focus on your presentation.
Preparing just in case
It’s good to know that you’re covered just in case. A discreet kit could include:
You’ve got this
With the right preparation, your presentation can make an impact for all the right reasons. In fact, this could be one of your finest performances.
Here’s to your success.
And, if you’d like to learn more about managing incontinence, download our Complete guide to incontinence management
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