Fashion is a great medium to express your personality and creativity. Another way that you can use it is to cover up some areas that you feel insecure about. For people with incontinence, it'd be the lower parts of the body, especially around the groin, which is prone to leakage.
Fortunately, plenty of styles have been developed through the years that can help you stay fashionable, even with this urinary issue. Before you check out the designs that might work for your condition, though, you must first identify what type of incontinence you have.
Urinary incontinence pertains to your body's declining capability to control the bladder. It has different severity levels, from leaking a bit when one sneezes or coughs to an uncontrollable urge to urinate that makes you feel like you might not make it safely to the bathroom in time.
To know how you should be styling yourself, you must determine what type of incontinence you have. This way, you can plan ahead for the emergencies that you might experience throughout the day. For instance, you may want to invest in specialized incontinence underwear to ensure any leaks are kept within your bottoms and won't show through (more on that later).
Here are the different types of incontinence:
Stress incontinence – This urinary problem causes you to leak when you perform physical exertion that puts pressure on your abdomen and bladder. Typically, just a small amount leaks out and only during specific instances like when you stand up quickly, jump, or cough and sneeze.
Urge incontinence – Also known as having an overactive bladder, this condition entails having a strong urge to pee even when the bladder isn't full. It involves feeling a pressing urge to urinate and leakage before you can reach the toilet.
Mixed incontinence – This is a combination of both stress and urge incontinence. Most women encounter this problem, while it can also develop in men who've had surgery for their prostate's reduction or removal.
Overflow incontinence – Overflow incontinence occurs when your bladder isn't able to empty completely due to blockage in the urinary passageway. Due to this, the bladder muscle becomes underactive and leads to the organ becoming overfilled, which can lead to leakage.
Functional incontinence – There are also times when a patient's urinary tract is working well, but other illnesses and disabilities render them unaware or indifferent about the need to go to the bathroom. Causes of functional incontinence can be medications and mental illnesses like dementia.
Reflex incontinence – Reflex incontinence happens when the muscle in the bladder contracts unconsciously, which leads to urine leakage. It's usually caused by nerve damage, especially in the ones that are responsible for warning the brain that the bladder is filled such as multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury.
Fashion considerations with incontinence
Just because you have to wear specialized undergarments or bring along attachments to your body, like a catheter, doesn't mean that you have to forego looking fashionable forever. You do have to take more things into consideration, though, particularly these factors:
Leakage and staining are two of the main concerns for people with incontinence when they're out and about. With that said, you should be meticulous about choosing fabrics, depending on where you wear them.
For instance, you'd want absorbent undergarments that can prevent urine from seeping into your pants. However, you should opt for materials like polyester and denim for pants since they don't get wet easily.
Cotton for the lower part of your body should be avoided since this material absorbs water or urine right away. Satin and silk are also super-absorbent and, worse, can make a noticeable stain even with just a few drops of liquid.
Wearing dark-colored pants, shorts, or skirts is ideal for people with incontinence since these shades don't display stains or spots easily. Nonetheless, you don't have to restrict yourself to wearing black pants forever. You can choose other colors, such as navy blue, dark brown, dark green, and maroon.
Remember that dark colors are only ideal for your bottoms. You can wear anything that you want for your tops.
For variety, you can also opt for patterns to incorporate several colors into your clothes. Going for statement prints, which are one of the fashion trends that stand the test of time, can help you add more colors to your wardrobe.
There are lots of options for women to choose from when it comes to patterned shorts, pants, skirts, and dresses. For men, camo is a popular choice as well as leopard prints and plaid.
Of course, the primary factor that you should take into consideration is whether you're comfortable with what you'll be wearing. Do some introspection and determine if patterned clothes can help boost your confidence or you'd rather stick to minimalist, dark-hued bottoms.
If you're someone who enjoys wearing tights, you might find that they become bulky when paired with some incontinence undergarments. However, there are other variations that you can try such as thigh-highs, which stop at an optimal length, so you can wear a skirt over them comfortably.
Finding the right style for your body's needs and preferences will entail a lot of experimenting. This shouldn't deter you, though. Just embrace your inner fashionista and have a lot of fun testing out different products.
Ways to stay fashionable even with incontinence
Now that you're aware of the different clothing considerations for your condition, here are some proven ways to look fashionable regardless of your urinary problem:
Invest in specialized undergarments
As mentioned above, there are specialized undergarments that are developed specifically for people with incontinence. It's best to invest in highly absorbent underwear that will alleviate your worries about leaks and stains.
There are lots of variations as well. You can find boxers, briefs, high-rise panties, boy shorts, bikinis, and even thongs. The super absorbent ones can retain as much as eight teaspoons of liquid.
Find the right pants
Men should opt for straight-leg jeans instead of the skinny ones since the former provides more room for padded incontinence briefs without necessarily adding more bulk. In the same way, steer clear of wide-leg trousers since they can make you look heavier. For work or formalwear, opt for smooth slacks rather than pleated ones. This is because they add bulk to your groin area and can direct people's eyes there rather than diverting them.
For women, leggings are recommended because these are usually high waist, which means that they offer additional support to your hips and lower abdomen. They're also very easy to slip on and remove, which is convenient for frequent bathroom breaks. Plus, they come in a wide array of sizes and designs. Just make sure to pair them with long blouses to cover up the crotch area.
Go for billowy dresses
Billowy dresses also provide more room for the lower parts of your body. This means that you don't have to be self-conscious about wearing padded underwear to help with incontinence or even diapers. You might think that this type of clothing won't be flattering to your body shape and size, but you just have to find the perfect one.
Layer for style and comfort
Wearing blazers, coats, and cardigans can also be a clever way of styling yourself with incontinence fashion, particularly for the cold season. Look for garments that hang over your bottom to help conceal your crotch area. Moreover, having these layers can easily make you look more sophisticated and put together.
Wear compression shorts or pants
Compression shorts or pants are valuable for people with incontinence. Similar to leggings, they provide additional support to the hips and lower abdomen, which can aid in bladder control. Take note, though, that these can add bulk to your trunk, so make sure to compensate accordingly.
Accessorize to disguise
Accessories like suspenders can reduce muffin tops caused by wearing tight-fitting incontinence underwear. They can also draw people's eyes upward and away from the lower part of your body. You can also put on a necklace or scarf to attract attention to your torso and face.
Don a graphic tee
Just like accessories, wearing graphic tees can grab attention to your upper area and away from the lower part of your body. This way, you can stroll along confidently without worrying that people will know about your urinary problem.
Incontinence doesn't have to be a significant hindrance, style-wise. You can still look fashionable even while wearing specialized undergarments and other peripherals such as a catheter.
You should be mindful of the fabric, color, and pattern that you choose for your clothing, especially for the lower part of your body. The primary factor to consider, though, is your comfort. The clothes you wear should boost your confidence wherever you go or whatever you do. Don't be afraid to experiment and look for the right style for your body's needs and preferences. Follow the tips in this post and express yourself without worrying too much about your urinary problem.