If you think incontinence is something embarrassing to read about, think of the millions of people who suffer from the condition!
According to the Society of Urologic Nurses and Associates, it is estimated that there are almost 8 million Americans over 65 who suffer from some form of urinary incontinence (UI).
Elderly women seem to be affected more than men with urinary incontinence, with some estimates saying as much as 50% of women over 65 may be suffering from the condition.
There are many reasons besides normal aging that lead to incontinence in elderly patients. Other conditions that can lead to or aggravate urinary incontinence include:
• Atrophic vaginitis
• Incomplete bladder emptying
• Rheumatoid arthritis
The good news is, you or loved ones do not have to suffer from this embarrassing and often awkwardly debilitating condition.
There are various products that have been designed to help the elderly person manage the symptoms of UI and enjoy a better quality of life.
Absorbent Products/Adult Diapers – There are various absorbent products from pads to full diapers for the senior with urinary incontinence or bladder control issues.
In contrast to feminine hygiene products that were made to absorb menstrual flow, absorbent incontinence products have been extensively researched and designed specifically to hold and absorb urine.
The latest products incorporate “breathable” plastic films that allow water vapor to pass to the outside, but hold fluid and odors within – and today, are not bulky, and are often indistinguishable from normal panties or men’s briefs. Many come equipped with an exterior indicator when the diaper needs changing, to offer the patients more privacy.
When selecting absorbent products keep in mind the gender of the patient, as there are gender-specific products. Ease of use, the severity of the condition and mobility all also need to be considered.
While the thought of wearing “adult diapers” may be embarrassing at first, in reality, many of these products today can be worn entirely discretely, and have returned a level of activity to many seniors dealing with bladder control issues.
Other Urinary Incontinent Products Include
Toilet Substitutes – Urinals, bedpans, and other devices that substitute for a standard toilet are available for the person with some bladder control, but has mobility or other issues that prevent making it to the bathroom to urinate.
Catheters – Are invasive devices used for the long-term collection of urine in completely incontinent patients such as post-surgical, paralyzed, and patients suffering from cancer or other diseases affecting the urinary tract.
External Catheter (for men) – Is a condom-like external sheath that is placed over the penis to collect urine.
Mattress Pads and Liners – May also need to be used in the home or room of the elderly person suffering from urinary incontinence. These are absorbent pads either washable or disposable that are used to protect mattresses and bedding.
Since the elderly person with urinary incontinence is also subject to skin damage, there are a variety of skin care products, such as topical antimicrobials and gentle pH balanced cleansers; recommended for use along with these incontinent products.