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Male Incontinence Products

By  Angela Medieros, Staff Writer 

 

When a loved one has undergone prostate surgery, incontinence may result as a complication.  The prostate gland is an organ surrounding the male urethra, which is the passageway for urine to exit the body.  After any destruction to the gland, either through treatment for cancer, or a removal due to the prostate’s non-cancerous enlargement, there is a chance for incontinence.

Incontinence itself is not a “disease,” but a symptom or side effect of another condition which underlies it.  In both men and women, the spinal cord nerves assist with bladder sensation and control, as to the muscles surrounding the pelvis.  Many conditions can be treated, but until full treatment is implemented and is successful, incontinence must be dealt with.

Addressing the matter with your loved one will help ease their stress and yours.  As an unwanted condition that is embarrassing to the loved one, it is important for caregivers to have “control” options available.  Some may come in medication form prescribed by the doctor.  Others are medical supplies that can be purchased over the counter, or via insurance if covered.

TYPES OF INCONTINENCE

Incontinence can occur at nighttime in individuals of any age.  Known as enuresis or “bedwetting,” it is attributed to children.  This psychological stigma may prevent your loved one from dealing with the situation.  As a caregiver, you may be inclined to call them “accidents.”  Although they may occur less frequently than with other types of incontinence, take the “better safe than sorry” approach on a nightly basis.

Environmental incontinence occurs in households that have too many obstacles between the individual and the bathroom.  In one bathroom homes, children or visitors may be occupying the facilities when the urge appears.  This type of incontinence can also occur on trips of any length. 

Total incontinence may occur when there is damage to the bladder or urethra, and is constant.  This is the most taxing upon caregivers and loved ones, and requires more intervention.

Both reflex and functional incontinence can occur in patients who have dementia, stroke or other sensory awareness dysfunctions.  As with total incontinence, interventions that are more advanced, or combined with medication and fluid control, can help.

DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES

Women’s menstrual cycles predispose them to tolerating pads for extended periods of time.  Men may be resistant to wearing pads to absorb leakage from a bladder that is recovering from surgery (or other issues that affect bladder control).  Current state of the art design in pads make for an easier transition period as the incontinence is treated.

Depending on your loved one’s level of cooperation, bladder pads can be an option.  Adhesive strips keep pads in place, and absorb small leaks, such as those from stress incontinence.  There are deodorant characteristics, allowing the pad to be used for several hours, but they have saturation points requiring changes when needed.  Your loved one will need to tell you they require a change, or you will need to work out a spot check schedule.

Larger absorbent “pads” are meant for individuals who have higher levels of urine leakage.  They are undergarment liners that come with their own elastic belt and buttons, or with adhesive strips that lock on to underwear.  In most cases, any “stick on” protectors are best used with brief underwear rather than boxers.  Briefs will provide a better, more secure fit.  Some higher quality liners have moisture indicators that change color depending on the saturation level.
Individuals who experience moderate incontinence may need disposable briefs.  Even in light flow incontinence, briefs may be a choice for nighttime usage.  They allow both caregiver and loved one to have a sounder and drier sleep during the night.

Some products will also have leg cuffs or elastic legging to help keep the leaks contained better.  This is especially true if they are being worn at social occasions where trips to the bathroom may be hampered by other guests.  Food and drink intake may also be increased when out with others.  Protective briefs offer a measure of comfort for overnight visits, too.

USE WHAT WORKS

Discuss medication options with the doctor in addition to products that will help decrease “bathroom anxiety.”  While limiting fluids can be done at home, it is important that your loved one receive a consistent level of nourishment and hydration.  Encourage regular eating and drinking patterns, but watch for products that contain bladder stimulators, such as caffeine.  Caffeine “opens” the kidneys, and can also be dehydrating in some instances, requiring more fluid intake.
It’s sometimes a battle to get your loved one to utilize adjuncts for intimate needs.  Maintaining an open communication is important, as is compassion for your loved one’s fear of losing control.  When choosing a product to help keep your loved one comfortable, consider all aspects.  You may need to start with a lighter product and work into something with more coverage.  When possible, a mutual decision is the goal that scores points all around.

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