Socialising

Socialising

Do you have plans for this evening, tomorrow or the weekend? Be able to enjoy your social calendar while maintaining a healthy IC routine.

You are not alone!

You are not alone!

Join a community and meet people who share your experience. Support groups

If you cannot find a community that matches your needs in the below list, feel free to contact us and we will do our best to direct you to a suitable one.

Continence support groups

ASPIRE
www.aspire.org.uk
Tel: 020 8954 5759
Email: info@aspire.org.uk

 

Back up Trust
www.backuptrust.org.uk
Tel: 020 8875 1805
Email: admin@backuptrust.org.uk

 

The Bladder & Bowel Foundation (B&BF)
www.bladderandbowelfoundation.org
Tel: 01536 533255
Helpline: Tel: 0845 345 0165
General Enquiries: Tel: 01536 533255
Email: info@bladderandbowelfoundation.org

 

ERIC - The Children's Bowel & Bladder Charity
www.eric.org.uk
Helpline: Tel: 0845 370 8008

 

MS-UK
www.ms-uk.org
Free Information and Advice Line: Tel: 0800 783 0518

Multiple Sclerosis Trust
Tel: 01462 476700
Free Phone Information Service: 0800 032 3839
Email: info@mstrust.org.uk

 

Motor Neurone Disease Association
www.mndassociation.org
Tel: 01604 250505
Email: enquiries@mndassociation.org

 

MND Connect
Tel: 08457 626262
Email: mndconnect@mndassociation.org

 

Shine Charity
www.shinecharity.org.uk
Tel: 01733 555988



Spinal Injuries Association

www.spinal.co.uk
SIA Freephone Advice Line 0800 980 0501
Email: adviceline@spinal.co.uk



Spinal Injuries Scotland

www.sisonline.org
Tel: 0141 314 0056
Helpline: 0800 0132 305
Email: info@sisonline.org



Spinal Research

Tel: 01483 898786



Stroke Association

Tel: 0303 3033 100* (Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm)
Email: info@stroke.org.uk



Stroke Helpline and information Service

Tel: 01527 903 903
Email: helpline.volunteer@stroke.org.uk

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Going out without worries

Going out without worries

Why intermittent catheterisation can make socialising easier. Find out more

Rob: When you’re in your own home, it’s fine, but when you’re away from home it’s a lot different because you have to accept new surroundings and different situations, such as an aeroplane, or a train, or a hotel, or a department store, or wherever you can find that you’re comfortable to be able to do the catheterisation. You have to be confident enough to do it at your own speed and find the right place, and then you can make it work very well.

Nurturing friendships and being social can be overwhelming and challenging when you are dealing with bladder problems, especially when having to leave your home.

It is natural to feel insecure when leaving the house for many hours. Our intimate details and what we do when we visit the bathroom is usually nobody’s business. When you go out and participate in activities where you have less control over the situation and where it can be difficult to find the required privacy, your feeling of security may be challenged. You might feel alone with your struggles, because most people don’t know about your issue or because you might not want them to know - or coincidently discover it.

Remember, that when you use intermittent catheters you can plan your day, ensuring that your bladder is emptied, when you want it, instead of at inconvenient times. With some practice it can be done in a few minutes and you won’t be away for any longer than anyone else going for a bathroom break. This means that often most people would not need to know anything about it, if you don’t want them to. But it might be easier if – at least some – people knew. When you have to use a catheter it is easier to relax, when you can be yourself and do what you have to do without making up excuses.

Catheterising at friends' houses

What if I’m at a friend’s house?

If you are at a friend’s house you might worry about privacy when using the bathroom. When you need to get rid of the used catheter, it is helpful to have some opaque plastic bags with you to wrap the catheter in after use so you can discard it or take it home with you. You can also get catheters that are compact and discrete, so you can just have them in your pocket – even when they have been used.

Do I need to tell anyone?

There is no general answer to that. We all have individual barriers when it comes to sharing intimate details. However, it might be a good idea to tell at least one person in case there is an emergency. Read our thoughts on talking about it in the article ‘Should I tell anyone about it?

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Tips for being out and about

Tips for being out and about

Staying at home can be ok – but with these tips, you can get the confidence to enjoy concerts, hiking, dining – or whatever you desire! Find out more

Cultural events and incontinence

It is possible to enjoy cultural events from your couch. But it’s not the same as being at a concert where you and your friend can sing along to your songs and enjoy the intense atmosphere together with the other fans. It doesn’t come close to a real live football match where you cheer along with a huge audience when your favourite teams scores.

Thanks to technology, you can even meet friends virtually in the safety of your home. But if you really want a good talk or engage in intense discussions (or share the latest gossip), why not do it over some good food in an intimate restaurant? Or if needing to talk about serious matters, it might be easier with the soundtrack of whispering leaves in a beautiful park.

Be creative and surprise your friends or family, when it comes to socialising. In this way you get to pick what is more convenient for you. But you should also be able to accept their ideas without worrying. All you have to do is to plan ahead. Here is how:

Plan your activity

It is tempting to skip catheterisation when you are visiting new and unknown places or if you are together with people that don’t know about your condition. But remember that skipping catheterisation might result in leaks and can also be harmful to your bladder in the long run.

Plan your activity instead, so you can enjoy it without interruptions. Set aside time for catheterisation during the activities. Catheterise as close to the time you leave your home as possible, find out where the bathrooms are located in advance and try to plan for when it will be convenient for you to take breaks during the day.

But if you are at all concerned about remembering when to catheterise, simply setting a phone or watch alarm can help put your mind at ease.

Pack a smart kit

When away from the security of your home, it is good to know that you have everything you could possibly need with you. Public bathrooms are less clean and might be equipped in an inconvenient way. And if you worry about leaks, it is also important that you can clean yourself or change clothes. Some people use a different type of catheter when out than they use at home. You might want to have a more compact one or one with a urine bag attached.

So pack a bag of good stuff for extra safety – just in case.

Pack a smart kit

Know what bathrooms await you

Check out available bathrooms at the event in advance – this is especially important if you are in a wheelchair. Check it out on the internet or call to hear more about how it is equipped. You can also use the WheelMate app for smartphones to locate the nearest bathroom.

Consider what to wear

Dark colours will make it less visible if you experience a small leak. Have a blazer, pullover or cardigan, which you can quickly wrap around your waist if necessary. Or wear a pad for extra safety until you feel comfortable in your routine and in going out.

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Should I tell anyone about it?

Should I tell anyone about it?

Sharing personal details is not easy – but it might make life easier for you. Find out more

Tatiana: It helps that I have friends and family know that I catheterise - they won’t rush me when I’m in the restroom and if I get an infection or am struggling, they understand and empathise, and they know how to support me.

We all have individual barriers when it comes to sharing intimate details. However, it might be a good idea not to keep your problems and needs to yourself.

If you’re a very private person, you may not want to share the information with anyone except your spouse or partner. But, if you’re an open person, telling family and friends can be a healthy way for you to cope with the changes in your life. It might even be a relief for you to be open about it. Also, friends and family who know about your need to schedule bathroom breaks – and sometimes longer breaks – might be more understanding, supportive and helpful when you’re together.

How much should I tell someone about my incontinence?

Identify a buddy

If you are very concerned about going out, you might consider if there is someone present at the event that you trust enough to tell him or her about your situation. Then you can be at ease with the knowledge that this person can back you up if you need the driver to make an extra stop on the road or to get things for you that you urgently need.

How much do I tell someone?

It is not always necessary to explain all the physical details to someone you are not very close to. It is enough to say that you have a condition where you need frequent or planned bathroom visits or whatever is the case for you. Maybe you also want to show the ‘smart kit’ you have packed for extra safety (not its content), so they know what it looks like in case you urgently need it.

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