Save 20% On Your First Autoship Order

Online since 2002 |   866-316-0162

Articles and News

7 Things You Should Avoid Saying To An Incontinent Person

7 Things You Should Avoid Saying To An Incontinent Person
Shweta Chaubey

5 Key Takeaways

  • When talking to someone with incontinence, be nice and understand that they can't control their condition.
  • Avoid saying things that might make them feel bad, like telling them to hold it in or asking if they're doing enough to fix it.
  •  Incontinence is personal, so don't talk about it with others unless they want you to. Also, don't make jokes about it.
  • If they need help finding a bathroom or learning about ways to manage incontinence, lend a hand.
  •  Treat them with kindness and respect and try to understand what they're going through. This helps break the stigma around incontinence and makes everyone feel more included. 


Incontinence affects millions of people worldwide and can significantly impact a person's quality of life, leading to embarrassment, social isolation, and emotional distress. Therefore, when interacting with someone who experiences incontinence, it's crucial to be understanding, empathetic, and respectful. 

We often tend to unintentionally pass comments that may hurt somebody dealing with incontinence. Here are seven things you should never say to an incontinence sufferer to promote a more compassionate and supportive approach.

Seven things to avoid saying to an incontinent person

1. Asking them to hold it in

One of the most common misconceptions about incontinence is that individuals can control it by simply "holding it in." However, incontinence is often a result of underlying medical conditions, weakened pelvic floor muscles, or neurological issues, making voluntary control difficult or impossible. Therefore, implying that they should have more control can be both hurtful and dismissive of their struggles.

2. Questioning if they are doing something about it

Incontinence patients often work diligently with healthcare professionals to manage their condition. Almost all of them use incontinence products such as diapers and incontinence pads. However, asking questions about what they are doing about their situation suggests they may need to do more, which can demoralize and undermine their efforts. So instead, it's more helpful to offer support, ask if you can do anything, or encourage them to explore additional treatment options if they're open to it.

3. Suggesting them incontinence products

While wearing adult diapers or protective undergarments can be a practical solution for managing incontinence, it's essential to remember that it's not a "one-size-fits-all" approach. Many people with incontinence feel self-conscious and stigmatized by the need to wear diapers, which can constantly remind them of their condition. Suggesting this without considering their feelings or unique circumstances may trivialize their struggle.

4. Saying it's all in their head

Incontinence has physical causes behind it. Dismissing it as a psychological issue can demean and invalidate those who experience it. Rather than questioning the legitimacy of their state, it's better to offer empathy, encourage them to seek medical advice if they haven't already, or provide resources that might help them cope.

5. Pointing at the urine smell 

Although incontinent persons are aware of it and often use odor removers and other methods to keep odors at bay, constant dribbling of urine can sometimes result in unpleasant odors, which can cause embarrassment and anxiety for those affected. However, directly stating the smell can be hurtful and humiliating. Instead, if you notice an odor, discreetly excuse yourself to freshen up the environment or, better yet, focus on providing emotional support and understanding rather than drawing attention to the situation.

6. Advising them to skip the drinks

Hydration is vital for overall health, and limiting fluid intake isn't a viable solution for managing incontinence. Instead, incontinent persons should maintain proper hydration like anyone else is necessary. Instead, offer encouragement and understanding, and help them find ways to manage incontinence more effectively, such as identifying trigger foods or exploring specific treatment options.

7. Suggesting miracle cures

Unsolicited advice, especially regarding medical conditions, can be overwhelming for incontinence sufferers. While the intention may be well-meaning, sharing unreliable and hearsay stories or suggesting unproven remedies can be misleading or harmful. Respecting their autonomy and letting them make informed decisions in consultation with their healthcare professionals is crucial.

How to support someone with incontinence?

Supporting someone with incontinence requires empathy, understanding, and sensitivity. Here are ten things you can do to support an incontinent person:

1. Be respectful and understanding

Show empathy towards their situation and understand that incontinence is a medical condition they cannot control. Avoid judgment or making them feel embarrassed or ashamed.

2. Be an ally

Take the time to learn about incontinence, its causes, and available treatments. The proper knowledge will help you understand their hardships and enable you to offer informed support.

3. Be a listener, a good one<

Make space for the person to share their feelings and experiences without interruption or judgment. Sometimes, they may need someone to vent or express their frustrations. Be patient and validate their emotions.  

4. Respect their privacy

Incontinence is personal, so respect their privacy and avoid discussing it with others unless they initiate the conversation. Again, maintain confidentiality and do not share their condition with others without their consent.

5. Offer practical assistance

You can offer practical support depending on the person's needs. For example, if you're in a public place and they need to find a restroom quickly, you can help locate one or accompany them if they feel more comfortable with assistance.

6. Provide access to resources

Familiarize yourself with resources available for managing incontinence. Share information about support groups, reputable healthcare providers, products, and treatment options. Be a source of reliable information and help them explore different avenues of support.  

7. Encourage professional help

If the person still needs medical advice or treatment, gently encourage them to consult a healthcare professional. A medical evaluation can identify the underlying cause of their incontinence and guide them toward appropriate management strategies.   

8. Help create a supportive environment

Consider their needs if you're hosting the person at your home or planning an outing. For example, ensure there are accessible and clean restroom facilities available. Make them feel that their condition doesn't impact your relationship or their worth as an individual.  

9. Avoid making them feel self-conscious

Refrain from drawing attention to their condition or making jokes at their expense. Instead, respect their dignity just as you would respect others.   

10. Be patient with them  

Incontinence can be a daily challenge for individuals, and setbacks or accidents may occur. Offer patience, understanding, and support during these moments. Reassure them that accidents happen and it doesn't diminish their value or worth as a person.  

When interacting with someone who experiences incontinence, it's crucial to approach the subject with empathy, understanding, and respect. Avoiding insensitive or dismissive remarks can go a long way in helping individuals feel supported and valued.   

Our Top Incontinence Categories


By promoting a more compassionate and inclusive attitude, we must contribute to breaking the stigma surrounding incontinence and create a more inclusive and understanding society. HPFY offers valuable information about incontinence along with various incontinence supplies for your help.   


Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics, and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our reviewed content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.

HPFY Shweta Chaubey

Shweta Chaubey

LinkedIn Profile


Shweta Chaubey, has been a Health Products For You contributor since 2021. An advocate-turned-writer, her desire to create meaningful and positive content has brought her to HPFY and what better than writing ...

Continue reading

Trending Articles

Enteral Feeding: The What, When, and How

Shweta Chaubey

When traditional oral intake is not feasible, enteral feeding comes into play. It supports nutritional needs of individuals recovering from an injury or surgery. Dive into this informative article and learn what, when, why, and how of enteral feeding and ensure optimal patient care.

Using the Carpal Solution Carpal Tunnel Wrist Support

Kevin Cleary

Looking for a non-invasive option to manage carpal tunnel symptoms? Experience relief from constant tingling and pain with this Carpal Solution Wrist Support. Read this article to know about the unique features and benefits of this wrist support brace designed to deal with CTS and find why it is one of the most reliable wrist braces available on the market.

Top 5 Best Reviewed Nebulizers of 2023

Kevin Cleary

Need an effective and affordable nebulizer? Look no further, in this article we offer 5 of our best reviewed nebulizers that are loved by our customers. Click to read more and find the perfect nebulizer for all your respiratory needs.

10 Best Overnight Adult Diapers

Shweta Chaubey

Worried about nighttime leaks? Say goodbye to leakage with our ten best overnight adult diapers and wake up refreshed and dry.

Five Best Cervical Traction Devices of 2023

Taikhum Sadiq

Neck pain can wreak havoc on your otherwise healthy life. Traction device improves your cervical health and overall well-being. Read more to find our best cervical traction devices designed to curb the stiffness and discomfort of cervical muscles.