A Crack in the Mask: The Felt Sense Method

Prologue We all control our bladders. How well is a matter of degree. At the outset of this book, I want to emphasize that everyone, female and male, has at some point been in a panic to make it to the toilet. I also want to emphasize that everyone has had a bladder accident. Men tend to have fewer accidents, because the lines in their public rest rooms are usually shorter, and men are also built so that they can take advantage of alternative locations, whereas for women things are not that convenient. Since this book is directed to the incontinent woman (although it is useful for men as well), it is important for you to understand that you are not any different from the rest of the population; it is just that for women like us, the need to urinate is more frequent and immediate. Various conditions cause incontinence to develop. Whatever the situation might be, the end result is that we have lost much of our ability to control our release of urine. “Micturition (urination) is a reflex action, which in a toilet-trained individual is controlled by the higher centers in the brain.”1 This reflex is initiated when the bladder fills with urine, which stimulates the stretch receptors in the bladder that signal the conscious desire to urinate. “Urination can be assisted by contraction of the abdominal muscles so as to raise the intra-abdominal and pelvic pressure and exert external pressure on the bladder.”2 In young children, urination or micturition is a simple reflex action that takes place whenever the bladder becomes distended.3 As infants, we were not concerned about when or where we fulfilled our need to eliminate. Only when our primary caregivers decided it was time for us to learn control did the process of toilet training begin. Toilet training is the process of learning how to recognize the body’s signals to eliminate and developing the physical skills of control so that we can wait until we reach a socially acceptable place to eliminate. From the time that we are toilet trained, we spend the rest of our lives controlling our bladders or trying to control them. Our conscious and

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