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Advice for friends and family members living with bladder and bowel anxieties

Bladder and bowel anxietiesare a complex set of conditions that can manifest and interfere with a person’s life in various ways. The impact of bladder and bowel anxietiesis not limited to the person diagnosed but can also affect their friends, family members, and partners. It can be quite distressing to see someone you care about experience discomfort and difficulties associated with bladder and bowel anxiety.

Remember that you, as a friend, family member or partner, can have a significant positive impact in their life. Providing meaningful support can be challenging, especially if you know little about bladder and bowel anxieties or what it is like to live with them. Everyone has different ways of managing bladder and bowel anxieties, and it helps to be patient during the adjustment phase, when the person is still learning how to manage their symptoms. Consider the following suggestions as a place to start.

Lend an ear. Actively listening to the person and their concerns is a good way to show that you care. It is also a good way to gain some insight into their condition in a way that is not intrusive, that is, letting them disclose their thoughts and feelings about their condition, rather than asking them unprompted (potentially bringing their attention to bladder and bowel anxieties when they prefer not to think or talk about it).

Spending time with them. Being afflicted with bladder and bowel anxieties can be an isolating experience, especially as individuals with bladder and bowel anxietiestend to keep their condition and symptoms to themselves. Sometimes just being present with the person can make them feel less alone.

Developing your own knowledge of bladder and bowel anxieties. Going to the effort of expanding your bladder and bowel anxiety knowledge can foster a sense of care and commitment for the person living with the condition. It can also clear up any questions, concerns, or misconceptions you have about these sets of conditions. This website, as well as many others, offers free information and support on bladder and bowel anxieties. If you are unsure about the accuracy or credibility of an information source, then raise this with your medical professional.

Be wary of offering advice. It is not uncommon for people diagnosed with bladder and bowel anxieties and other anxiety conditions to be swamped with advice and recommendations. Although it is usually well-intentioned, receiving unsolicited advice can be frustrating.


Taking care of yourself

Having someone close to you experience these sets of conditions can take an emotional toll on you, especially if you are setting your own feelings and needs aside to help the person. Remember to ‘check in’ on your own emotional health regularly. Chronic emotional distress can develop into a more serious mental health issue if left unnoticed. Don’t feel guilty about reaching out for your own support, whether it be to friends/family/partners, or a mental health professional.


Advice for adults living with
bladder and bowel anxieties


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