Urinary incontinence refers to the inability to control the release of urine. It includes both those individuals who pass a lot of urine and those who just leak it. Urinary incontinence is a problem which affects people of all ages, but is much more common in the elderly, particularly women. There are many different causes of urinary incontinence. They include:
• uncontrolled diabetes
• pregnancy and childbirth
• Enlarged prostate
• neurological disorders
• aging and dementia
• complications of surgery
Living with incontinence can create many difficulties, both for the individual suffering from it, and for their caretaker. An incontinent adult will very likely be embarrassed about their lack of control and unsure about how to deal with going out in public. They often hesitate to seek help and do not know that many more people than they realize are suffering from incontinence too. Taking care of an incontinent loved one can be overwhelming for the caretaker. They may be spending all day changing sheets and washing them. They may feel overwhelmed, resentful, and be left with no time for anything else. No, it is not necessary to institutionalize an incontinent family member! There are simple solutions to make living with adult incontinence manageable for the sufferer themselves, and for their caretakers.
Seek Medical Advice
As a first step, uncomfortable as it may be, any adult suffering from incontinence must seek medical advice. Incontinence is often treatable and even at an advanced age it should not be assumed to be a lost cause. In addition, the cause of incontinence needs to be checked out to ensure that no other issues require medical attention.
Adult Diapers / Briefs
In cases where incontinence is not treatable, a person need not resign themselves to choosing between becoming a hermit and shuffling around in bulky, rustling diapers. Because astronauts need to wear diapers during takeoff and landing, research done to provide for their needs has led to the development of diapers which are both very absorbent and very thin. In addition, adult diapers which are also called briefs, are made with various different features to promote the dignity and comfort of the wearer. Among the features available: are odor absorbance, leakage protection, specialized zones to lock away moisture and keep the wearer dry, and fitted disposable underwear with rip-away sides to replace diapers. An incontinent person can find the briefs with the features most important for their needs in order to feel comfortable being around and about. A case in point is a senior citizen who regularly purchased diapers at our pharmacy and surgical supply store. He would come in and ask not to be kept waiting for his diapers because he was in a hurry to go dancing at the local senior citizens' center. Many years have passed, and the quality of diapers has only improved since then.
Disposable Bed Pads
Caretakers with incontinent loved ones should try using disposable bed pads for incontinence. Otherwise known as underpads or chux, these bed pads are used for protecting a mattress or linen from getting ruined or soiled during a diaper change. They are soft and absorbent with a blue waterproof backing. Disposable bed pads are a necessary item for anyone using diapers regularly. They are also helpful for individuals with occasional loss of bladder control. Once the bed pads have served their purpose, they are easily disposed of by folding in from the edges and discarding. These bed pads make life much more bearable in these difficult situations.