Incontinence

Updated 26 January 2016

Do you have a bashful bladder?

This doesn't just affect awkward teenagers. There are men of all ages who will stand in a public toilet with a full bladder, only to find they’re unable to urinate.

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If you think this only affects awkward teenagers you’re wrong.

There are men of all ages who will stand in a public toilet with a full bladder, only to find they’re unable to urinate.

They might not even be feeling self-conscious at the time.

There's a theory that the problem has its roots in our primitive history and that we’re still inclined to think “I can pee in Ugg’s presence, therefore I can challenge him to a fight, intimidate him with terrifying roars, bared yellow teeth and thumping of my hairy chest.”

Perhaps so, but that doesn’t help get the pee from the bladder to the bowl.

Read: All about incontinence

You have a few options.

Clenching and unclenching your pelvic floor muscles may help trigger the flow or urine.

If not, you can try teaching yourself to pee around other people by degrees.

Start by standing in a cubicle with the door closed, progress to keeping the door open, then to standing at the urinal furthest from anyone else, and eventually to peeing happily while singing “Old Man River”.

One doctor advised doing mental calculations, which apparently stimulates the cortex of the brain, interrupting the stream of messages it’s sending your nether regions.

If all else fails, a behavioural therapist ought to be able to help.


 

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Incontinence Expert

Prenevin Govender completed his MBChB at the University of Cape Town in 2001. He obtained his Fellowship of the College of Urologists in 2009 and graduated with distinction for a Masters in Medicine from the University of Cape Town in 2010. His special interests include laparoscopic, pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence surgery. He consults full-time at Life Kingsbury Hospital in Claremont.

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