Incontinence and swimming: helping patients to enjoy a more active life
For people living with any kind of incontinence the thought of planning a swimming trip may provoke fear and anxiety, rather than excited anticipation of an invigorating or relaxing dip. It is not surprising then that an excursion to the local pool is low on the list of fun things to do for people with urinary, faecal and mixed continence problems. With the correct support and advice, however, patients may be encouraged to actively enjoy water-based activities with confidence. A wide range of products is now available to suit each person's individual needs and requirements, which means that all the benefits of water exercise can now be accessible to everyone.
This article aims to increase awareness of the swimwear, pads and accessories available. In doing so, it is hoped that a dialogue may begin to encourage people with incontinence to consider swimming as an enjoyable, stress-free activity.
It is widely documented that incontinence can lead to loss of self-esteem, loneliness, isolation and may lead to reduced physical activity and opportunities to socialise. If a person is assisted to take up swimming regularly, however, each of these negative effects may be reversed. It may be argued therefore that swimming may provide the answer to many of the problems posed by incontinence.
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