Incontinence and sex

Incontinence can have a large impact on your psychological, physical, and social well-being, as well as your overall quality of life. Having incontinence can also put a damper on your sex life.

Incontinence may cause someone to isolate themselves. Many people with incontinence avoid or limit their sexual activity. They are often embarrassed and afraid that sex will trigger an accidental leakage of urine. They may have low self-esteem and feel unattractive or sexually undesirable. Fortunately, there is something you can do about these feelings.

What you can do

  • Talk to your partner. Communication is always a key component to an enjoyable sex life with your partner. Talking to your partner may be the most important thing to do to keep your sex life active. This is just as essential, if not even more so, if you have incontinence. Both incontinence and your sex life are personal and private topics, which can make discussing them difficult to do. But talking to your partner about your incontinence can build trust and increase affection. Speaking up allows your partner to understand why you may have been avoiding intimacy.
     
  • Talk to your doctor. Incontinence can be treated, managed, or even cured. Your doctor can help you find out what is causing your incontinence and what treatment plan will work for you. An incontinence treatment plan may involve absorbent products, medications, exercises, medical devices, surgery, and lifestyle changes. Once you start your treatment plan, you will get a better sense of control over your incontinence. You may also feel more confident to approach your partner to talk about your incontinence. See our health feature "Talking to your doctor about incontinence" for tips on how to get started.

Tips for a better sex life

Here are some tips for a better sex life:

  • do Kegel exercises - these exercises strengthen the urinary sphincter and pelvic floor muscles and can improve your sex life
  • urinate right before intercourse to avoid leaking during sex
  • avoid drinking fluids one hour before you expect to have sex
  • avoid substances that can make your bladder control worse, such as coffee, tea, or carbonated drinks
  • try different positions with your partner and find out what's comfortable to both of you