Updated 16 March 2018

6 celebs who struggle with bladder control

Many people are acutely embarrassed by their incontinence, but six international celebrities overcame their inhibitions and are willing to share their experiences.

Incontinence is accidental or involuntary loss of urine (urinary incontinence) or faeces (faecal incontinence).

It is a common condition and it is estimated that one in 10 Americans has continence issues. The problem ranges from small leaks to complete loss of control.

Not incurable

According to a previous Health24 article, incontinence in public is experienced by most people as extremely embarrassing and may have potentially serious psychological consequences.

"Patients who experience incontinence might experience a significant effect on their self-confidence and dignity,” according to Dr Ulla Botha, a psychiatrist and senior lecturer at the Department of Psychiatry at the Stellenbosch University.

“Depending on the level of incontinence, their general functioning might also be affected, as patients often start to isolate themselves and may avoid social interaction to prevent possible embarrassment. This can even lead to depression.”

Incontinence can, however, be treated and managed. In many cases it can even be cured.

A number of international celebrities have overcome any embarrassment and gone public about their experiences with incontinence.

1. Kris Jenner

Matriarch of the Kardashian clan, Kris Jenner has opened up about her bladder problems on Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Jenner is a TV personality, author and former talk show host. She is quite open about her incontinence and admits to wearing incontinence panties.

2. Stephen King

Stephen King is famous for his horror novels, including titles like The Shining, Carrie and The Green Mile. As a result of a protracted urinary tract infection he developed urinary incontinence. Although the problem was solved, he still keeps incontinence products next to his bed just in case. King is 69 years old.  

3. Samuel  Jackson

Famous for a number of box-office hits, including Snakes on a Plane, Star Wars and Pulp Fiction, Samuel L. Jackson developed a loss of bladder control when he was in his 40s. Initially it was a shock but, realising that millions of people have the same problem, he overcame his embarrassment and doesn't hide the fact that he wears incontinence products on a daily basis – even while on movie sets.

4. Katy Perry

Pop artist Katy Perry Perry suffered from bladder leakage throughout her high school career and regularly had to wear incontinence diapers. After countless failed treatments, it was established that she suffered from a urinary tract infection. When the infection cleared up, she regained control over her bladder. Perry believes the experience has made her a stronger person. 

5. Kate Winslet

The 40-year-old star recently appeared on The Graham Norton Show where she explained that she developed stress urinary incontinence after having three children. Winslet says that she experiences bladder leakages when she sneezes or if she jumps on a trampoline. Most women aren't as open as Winslet about their incontinence, but the truth is that up to one in every three women suffers from the condition at some point in their lives, according to a study published in Reviews in Urology.

6. Helena Bonham Carter

In 2009 Helena Bonham Carter revealed that she suffered from incontinence after giving birth to her second child. The actress admitted that she struggled during filming of Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince. She experienced pelvic-floor problems and lack of bladder control after having her baby and had to wear adult nappies. 

Image credits: Wikimedia Commons


Ask the Expert

Incontinence Expert

Dr 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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