Time to Talk Day: The Urology Stigma

01 February 2019, Tim Burton - 

Time to Talk Day is taking place on 7 February. It’s an opportunity to have a conversation about mental health and The Urology Foundation is getting on board because we know just how serious the mental health consequences of urology disease can be.

The mental health side effects of urology disease

Sadly it is far too common for a urology disease to impact on mental health. Urology diseases include diseases such as erectile dysfunction, incontinence, cancers of the prostate, kidney, bladder, and testes, and male infertility.

Any one of these urology diseases (and many others) can have a devastating impact on a person’s mental health. Embarrassment certainly plays a part, but so does isolation, and the stigma that so often surrounds these diseases.

Mark was diagnosed with bladder cancer when he was only 39. He told us how tough his diagnosis was for him mentally, 
“It felt like my life was on hold, that everything had just come to a standstill. I felt like I couldn’t see light at the end of the tunnel and my emotions became very frail and very fragile. For years I struggled to come out of my cage and talk about how I felt. I’d feel sick whenever I saw the hospital’s number was ringing on my phone, it was horrible.”

For many people urology disease can be hugely frustrating and upsetting and for others it can lead to depression and anxiety. 

That is simply not okay and so we are determined to change that.

Opening up the conversation

Unfortunately, urology disease is always going to be mentally difficult. As we work to find new and better ways of treating and curing urology diseases this will get better, but there are steps we can take right now to limit the psychological damage of a urology disease.

In keeping with Time to Talk Day, the main thing we can do is talk. It can be hard to open up about urology disease and while you might not be comfortable talking to everyone you meet about your condition, it is so important to have people with whom you can have honest conversations, whether they are friends, a partner, parents, or siblings; having even just a handful of people you can talk to makes such a difference.

If you have a urology disease that you’re struggling with, we encourage you to find those people to talk to (if you haven’t already).

If you know someone who has a urology disease, we encourage you to be as supportive as possible. Urology diseases can sometimes feel unusually personal and private, but they are medical problems, just like anything else you might receive treatment for. Treating it that way is a great step to breaking down the taboo.

Changing lives

We hope that urology diseases will start to be discussed more and more. When that happens the stigmas and taboos can start to evaporate.

Around 1 in 2 Britons will have a urology disease in their lives, 1 in 3 women are affected by incontinence in their lives, and at least 1 in 10 men suffer from erectile dysfunction. With so many people experiencing a urology disease, it won’t take much for the barriers to be broken down.

So, for Time to Talk Day, make sure you’re looking after your health and those of the people around you by having the kind of conversation that will lift a weight from someone’s shoulders (or your own!).

Together we will change lives just by talking.

Kidney

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Bladder

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Prostate

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Male reproductive organs

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