Encourage others to start talking and gain control of their bladder health!  We've made it simple for you to share National Bladder Health Week news, resources, tips and tools with your friends, family and healthcare providers.  We have a variety of  simple activities you can choose from to promote awareness of bladder health.  They are cut and paste one of the sample newsletter or emails below.

1415 Stuart Engals Blvd
Mt Pleasant, SC, 29464
United States

843 419-5307

NAFC is a non-profit offering resources for people struggling with incontinence, adult bedwetting, OAB, SUI, nocturia, neurogenic bladder, and pelvic floor disorders like prolapse. 


Caring for a loved one with incontinence can be extremely challenging.  Read stories from other caregivers who have walked in your shoes on the NAFC Caregiver Blog.

Gender Neutral Pelvic Floor Tips

Steve Gregg

Simply stated - the pelvic floor isn’t just a female thing - it is a muscular sling supporting the pelvic and abdominal organs of men and women.  The pelvic floor helps keep us dry.  According to an earlier blog post, more than 50 percent of men over the age of 60 experience bladder control issues due to an enlarged prostate.  

Before I share my best pelvic floor tips for both sexes, we need to agree on the following three truths: strengthening a weak pelvic floor may improve bladder control and confidence, utilizing my tips in conjunction with seeing your healthcare provider will create the most optimal effect, and it’s important to allow yourself to have a bad day here and there.  

My best pelvic floor tips?

  • Start a Bladder or Bowel Diary

    For a week, keep track of your trips to the bathroom, your leaks and how much and what you are drinking.  Note any trends with fluid intake, time of day and activity level in relation to using the bathroom and your leaks.  Your documentation may help your health care provider order tests, make a more accurate diagnosis or prompt a referral to a specialist.

    But, please consider what you can do with the information.  Are there any trends you are seeing?  Do you have more problems in the morning, afternoon or evening?  Do you need to space out your fluid intake?  You may be able to cue into changes that may positively impact your bladder control and confidence.  

  • Drink more water and consider cutting down on alcohol and caffeine

    Many newly incontinent persons incorrectly assume if there is less water in the system there will be less water to pass.   Cutting out water, or significantly decreasing water consumption, while continuing to consume alcohol and caffeine at normal previous levels may aggravate the bladder and make the leakage problems worse.  Hydration with plain, old water is one of the keys to improved bladder function.  

    And, revisit your diary – it may be possible that alcohol or caffeine may be a trigger to your leakage pattern.  Do you need notice you have more problems with bladder control after a glass or two of coffee or your favorite cocktail?  

  • Kegels

    Yes – we need to talk about this.  Men can do Kegels and should do Kegels to improve bladder control.  Kegels are not just meant for women.  Repetitively performing Kegels will improve pelvic floor muscle function, strength and endurance.  Kegels should be a habit like brushing your teeth. The truth of the matter is - if your pelvic floor muscles are in better space they will be better able to support you and keep you dry.  

    Here are some cues that may help you or your loved one perform a Kegel.   

    • Return to the idea that pelvic floor is a muscular sling.  It supports your abdominal and pelvic organs kind of like a hammock running along the base of pelvis – front to back and side to side.

    • Gently pull the pelvic floor up and in towards your navel as if trying to protect yourself from a blow to the belly.  When you do this – you may feel a gentle tightening of the muscles underneath your navel.  Your tailbone may gently rises up and in.  Continue your normal breath.  Keep in mind, the Kegel, I am recommending is not 100% effort but a gentle tightening of the muscular sling.

    • Continue breathing and hold the Kegel for a few seconds.  Then gradually relax.  Repeat until you’re fatigued or have completed your goal.

That concludes my list of my best pelvic floor tips. What are your best practices?

Our Best Tips For Disconnecting

Sarah Jenkins

Being a caregiver is often an around-the-clock job that demands a lot of energy, patience, and devotion. Remember to take the time to give yourself rest and relaxation.

Our best rule of thumb is preached before every plane takes off, “Assist yourself before assisting others.” If you don’t take care of your own body, you won’t be able to take care of others’.

Try our top three tips for disconnecting and relaxing:

1.    Go on a walk somewhere new.

Going to new places is always a great way to stretch your senses and try something different because a new place requires you to focus solely on your new environment.

Take a walk in a new place and soak up the fresh air and new location.

2.    Turn off your phone at a certain time every day.

Get into a habit of turning off your phone at the same time every day so you can set a tone of unwinding and relaxing without screen time. Use this scheduling tactic to help you connect in the moment with people you’re with.

3.    Go to a coffee shop or quiet bookstore once a month on your own.

Stepping outside your environment helps you to relax without having all the normal distractions of home. Find a place near your home that offers a quiet, soothing atmosphere for you to relax with a book or a magazine. Make it your retreat every other week or once a month and commit to going.

We believe in settling down and taking stock in quiet time. How do you take care of yourself and disconnect?

Bladder Health and Sex

Sarah Jenkins

Understanding what is normal during sex and what is unusual can be challenging. After all, sex is a very private experience and differs for every person. Generally speaking, there is no reason for your bladder to empty during sex or for you to feel extreme discomfort or experience pain during sex.

As you can guess, the health of your bladder can directly affect your sex life. 

Two common reasons individuals experience pain or discomfort with their bladder during or after sex are: bladder pain syndrome and stress urinary incontinence.

Interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS)

Bladder pain syndrome is the continual sensation of pressure or pain on the bladder. This syndrome typically affects women and leaves individuals feeling as if they have to urinate when they don’t have any urine to pass.

Consider making dietary changes and practicing bladder retraining so your bladder begins to hold more urine before experiencing the urge to go.

Relax before engaging in sex to ensure as little stress as possible. Stress can cause flare-ups and trigger discomfort.

Stress Urinary Incontinence

Stress Urinary Incontinence or SUI occurs because of weak pelvic floor muscles and/or a deficient urethral sphincter. This weakness can cause the bladder to leak during exercise, coughing, sneezing, laughing, or any body movement that puts pressure on the bladder. If sex is particular jarring, SUI can be affected.

Consider exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor and limit caffeine intake. Always empty your bladder before sex.

We hope this peek into how your bladder health can impact sex was helpful. If you have experienced any of the symptoms noted above and haven’t talked to your doctor, it’s time to schedule an appointment. Additionally, we feel it’s important to share your health with your partner if you continue to have sex while experiencing some of these bladder health concerns.

Join us on our forum to talk more and learn how others have dealt with issues like these.  

How Sun Exposure Can Help You And Your Patients

Sarah Jenkins

We’ve all heard the warnings about too much sun exposure.  But did you know that some sun is actually beneficial to your health?  Spending just 15 minutes in the sun each day can be healing and preventative for your health.  Here are some big reasons to get out and enjoy the sun when you can:

Sunlight gives you a natural boost.  Exposure to sunlight increases serotonin, which regulates appetite, sleep, memory, and mood.  Low serotonin levels are often seen during the winter months, when we spend much of the time indoors, and can contribute to seasonal affective disorder. 

It may lower your blood pressure.  A study done in 2014 showed that exposure to UVA rays lowered subjects diastolic blood pressure by almost 5 points. 

Sunlight can improve your sleep.  Exposure to natural sunlight increases the natural production of melatonin (a hormone that helps you sleep) at night.

Increased Vitamin D.  We’ve heard many times that the vitamin D produced from being in the sun can help your mood, but it also contributes to a host of other benefits.  Increased vitamin D may help prevent cancer, may lower risk for multiple sclerosis, and can contribute to bone health in older adults.

While these benefits are impressive, you still do need to use caution.  Skin cancer is still a risk, so limit your exposure to natural, direct sunlight to about 15 minutes per day, and then use sunscreen to safely enjoy the outdoors for the rest of the day.  

What's your favorite way to spend time in the sun?

Being Proactive About Finding Peace

Sarah Jenkins

Inner peace is an important tool in managing stress. It can also be an important tool in managing your incontinence. Studies show that cognitive therapy and learning the link between your brain and your bladder can help improve your incontinence symptoms. Being proactive in your treatment plan, and incorporating practices that encourage stillness, may be key to managing your incontinence effectively.

Finding peace or stillness looks different for everyone, but typically benefits everyone in the same way. When you learn what helps you relax, you can focus more clearly, experience more energy, and handle emotional stressors with greater maturity.

Being proactive about finding peace can mean a lot of different things for a lot of different people. For some, being proactive means scheduling regular yoga sessions, always calling a friend on a certain day of the week, or intentionally taking the long way home from work.

When we’re proactive about caring for ourselves, we allow peace to become a part of our daily lives; giving us much needed stillness for our bodies and mind. Talk to your doctor about how cognitive therapy may work for you.

How are you proactive about finding peace in your life? 

How Can You Show Gratitude Toward Yourself And Others?

Sarah Jenkins

Showing gratitude toward yourself and others isn’t just being grateful for positive things and moments in life, but also cutting yourself and others a break from the endless expectations life brings. When you’re dealing with incontinence, it’s even more important to look outside your body’s limitations. Being grateful for the abilities you do have and sharing that gratitude with others is known to increase personal happiness and lessen the chances of feeling depressed.

We’ve gathered our best practices for living a grateful life below. Share your practices in the comments!

Say ‘thank you’ and mean it. Be specific!

The key to telling people thank you isn’t just muttering the words ‘thank you,’ but being specific about what you’re grateful for. Instead of saying ‘Thanks for helping me today,” say, “Thank you for talking out the trash this evening. Your willingness to chip in on that chore really helped me focus on getting dinner on the table.”

Write yourself a compliment and leave it where you can read it

Showering yourself with words of affirmation and encouragement is just as important as doing it for others.  Self-gratitude and self-affirmation builds confidence and assurance in one’s abilities. Learning how to do this is hard, but start by leaving notes for yourself.

Read one caregiver blogger’s thoughts on the issue here.

Offer your time and skills to a family member

Nothing shows gratitude for someone else more than your time. Use one of your greatest (and free-of-charge) gifts and show your loved ones how much they matter to you by spending quality time with them.

Invite a sibling to coffee or take a parent out to dinner!

Click here to read other ways to express gratitude on a daily basis. 

A Recipe For Constipation

Sarah Jenkins

For the past few days, my 83 year-old father has been a little backed up. While under my care, he has experienced this several times and at first, we credited the changes to his decreased mobility.  However, we’re discovering it’s likely the medications he’s started taking for his Parkinson’s.  Not only is his constipation uncomfortable for him, but it has also started to affect his control of his bladder.

Constipation is common among the elderly.  There are many potential causes for it – poor diet, depression or other medical condition, irregular toileting routines, medications.  It may also be a cause of bladder control problems.  When the rectum is full of stool, it may disturb the bladder and cause the sensation of urgency and frequency.

A common remedy for constipation is extra fiber in the diet.  I’ve found the recipe below helps my Dad become a bit more regular.  It can be stored in the fridge or freezer.  I’ve taken to making batches of it and freezing pre-measured servings in ice cube trays to thaw as needed.  Not only does this make prep a little easier, my Dad thinks the slightly frozen mixture is soothing and refreshing.  Begin with two tablespoons each evening, followed by one 6 to 8 ounce glass of water or juice.  After 7 to 10 days, increase this to 3 tablespoons.  At the end of the second to third week, increase it to 4 tablespoons. We usually see an improvement in Dad’s bowel habits in about two weeks. 

Special Recipe

1 cup applesauce

1 cup oat bran

1/4 cup prune juice

Spices as desired (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.)

3 Best Apps for Accountability

Sarah Jenkins

Handwritten notes and to-do lists are typically the best way you can help your memory. Studies show that handwriting anything is better than typing—we remember things better when we use a pen and paper.

We agree that note-taking and doing things the old-fashioned way is valuable, but we can’t help but feel that sometimes a ding on your phone or a reminder on your computer is really helpful.

Apps can save you the headache of forgetting to pack your absorbency products, not remembering if you exercised today, or being overwhelmed by your grocery list.

Here are our three favorite life-savers:

1.     Capsule (Apple App Store) Free

Remembering to get milk at the grocery store can be a pain. It’s not something you want to put in your calendar and if you write it on a sticky note and leave that note on the counter at home, you’re out of luck.

Capsule can help. Type yourself a note with capsule and schedule it to send  to you when you’re at the grocery store!

2.     MyLifeOrganized (Windows, Andriod, Apple) Free 45-Day Trial

Need some help in organizing your to-do list? Moving homes or tackling a crazy project at work? Use MyLifeOrganized to tackle the big and small to-dos of life.  

3.     Move (Apple App Store) Free

Get reminders throughout the day to get you moving. Move sends you notes to do simple, at-your-desk compatible exercises and movements that will keep your rejuvenated and awake throughout the day.

We hope you like these as much as we do!  And we’d love to hear about your favorite apps for keeping everything in life organized.  Share your suggestions with us in the comments below!

Fall Prevention

Dawn Dingman

One-third of people over the age of 65 fall every year, and 50% of those are 80 and older. Unintentional injury is the fifth leading cause of death in those 65 and older, and two-thirds of all injuries are related to falls. 5% of older people who fall require hospitalization. Fear of falling leads to loss of independence. It is important to understand the impact of falls because of morbidity and mortality in the older adult. Risk factors for falls include: muscle weakness, history of falls, gait and balance problems, need to use a walker or cane, visual impairment, arthritis, difficulties doing activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, transferring, and toileting), depression, cognitive impairment or memory problems, and age greater than 80.

There are numerous medical problems that cause gait and balance problems, including neurological disorders, which affect the spine, peripheral nervous system, and the central
nervous system, such as Parkinson’s disease and strokes. Other problems include arthritis of the hips and knees, cardiovascular disease, and vertigo.

Medications that affect the central nervous system can contribute to falls: tranquilizers, sleeping medications, anti-depressants, narcotics, muscle relaxants, and anti-seizure medications. Medications for cardiovascular disease and hypertension can contribute to falls because they may cause a drop in blood pressure when standing.

If you have had a fall or have a gait or balance problem you need evaluation by a physician. You should also evaluate your home for environmental hazards. This can be done by home safety evaluation checklists that are available online, or you can have a home safety evaluation by physical therapist. Muscle strength and balance through appropriate exercise is a must. Preventing and treating osteoporosis can reduce risk of fractures due to falls. Vitamin D is important in decreasing risk of falls.

Other precautions you can take:
• When getting out of bed, sit on the edge of the bed for few minutes before standing
• Keep the path to bathroom clear of clutter
• Wear slippers with non-skid soles
• Remove loose rugs
• If using a walker or a cane, keep it bedside
• Take time to turn on lights
• Frail and elderly with multiple risk factors may benefit from a bedside commode

Caring for a Loved One Over the Holidays

Dawn Dingman

The holidays are around the corner. These times are meant to be joyous and filled with opportunities to create long-lasting memories. However, for the person caring for someone with incontinence, it can be challenging and even overwhelming to balance all of the responsibilities needed to manage incontinence while preparing for holiday festivities. By planning ahead, caregivers and their loved ones can certainly find ways to get the most enjoyment out of the holiday season.

Establishing a good incontinence management plan and a solid routine for care is essential to keeping happy, healthy, and organized. By having a good plan, you will be better at providing care to your loved one and still have the time and energy to care for yourself and enjoy the people and festivities surrounding you.

Here are some tips to make the holidays great!

1.) Be prepared and involve your loved one in the preparation. If you have the opportunity to take your loved one out, make sure to take them to the bathroom. Always pack extra incontinence products with you and even a change of clothes. It is important to reassure your loved one that you are prepared. Often the one suffering from incontinence can become distressed, depressed, or nervous about leaving for fear of becoming embarrassed or uncomfortable. Some may even feel as though they are burdening the one who is caring for them. Be sure to have a conversation prior to leaving to boost their confidence. This will ensure that they enjoy the outing as much as you will.

2.) Evaluate the travel plan and map out as much as possible in advance. Remember that your loved one will not know where public restrooms are. If you plan on taking your loved one to another persons home, be sure to locate the bathrooms immediately and make sure they are barrier free, easy to access, and safe.

3.) Make sure there is a quiet place to retreat to. Large crowds and noise can lead to anxiety, irritability, and exhaustion. Frequent breaks away from all of the chaos can help alleviate this. Plan for quiet time, rest, or even a nap. If your loved one starts to appear anxious, take them to the quiet area before the anxiety escalates. Monitor facial expressions and tone of voice throughout the day. Fidgeting, swaying, raising their voice, and restlessness are all signs of agitation. Whatever you do, do not become frustrated. Keep your cool and a good sense of humor.

4.) Make sure your loved one participates in as many activities as possible. Remember, you are not just caring for your loved one, you are making memories. Share photos, tell stories, sing songs. If your loved one is not capable of participating in any of those activities, try reading a holiday story with family and friends. This will be relaxing while keeping them engaged.

5.) Be discreet. When the time comes to provide personal care to your loved one, be discreet to avoid any embarrassment. Don’t announce to everyone that you are taking your loved one to the bathroom.  Make sure to discuss with friends and family members prior to arrival or pull them aside shortly after and explain what is going on and what you will be doing as to avoid any questions, comments, or concerns in the presence of your loved one.

6). Be prepared for meal time. It is extremely important to provide dignified, discreet care. Be sure to take your loved one to the bathroom before dinner and do any incontinence product changes, personal care, or clothing changes. This will ensure that everyone gets to sit together and enjoy the meal and any discussion taking place. Having to excuse yourself from the table to take your loved one to the bathroom will only increase their anxiety and level of embarrassment.

7.) Ask for help. Additional help from another friend or family member can relieve the caregiving responsibilities throughout the holidays. If you do have someone helping you, be sure to notify the person you are caring for to avoid any confusion. Make sure they are equipped to provide the same care as you would. If you do not have anyone available to help you provide personal care for your loved one, perhaps they could help out in other ways.

8.) Remember that someone suffering from incontinence can often feel lonely, depressed, and may even feel as though they have lost their independence. The holidays can escalate these feelings. Make sure to listen and keep an open line of communication with your loved one. Understand and take time to validate their feelings and initiate conversations about all of the positive things that are taking place around them. It is not uncommon for your loved one to feel as though they have lost their independence. Be sure to reinforce that you understand and that you will be there to help them.

The strategies listed above are a great start to helping you care for your loved ones throughout the holidays. Below are some quick tips to help you help yourself.

1)    Be sure to take time for yourself. Make sure you have scheduled yourself some down time on a regular basis, even if it is only for a few minutes. Go for a brisk walk, or enjoy a cup of tea or coffee, call a close friend, or even read a book

2)    Stay healthy. How you manage your health can affect your loved ones. Be sure to get plenty of rest.

3)    Find additional support. Find an online support group that specializes in incontinence. These groups can be of tremendous help to you.

4)    Stay positive.


Clean & Odor Free

Dawn Dingman

People with bladder control problems are often concerned about odor. Advertisements on television and in magazines remind us not to offend others with “unpleasant” odors. Concerns about how we are perceived by others when sitting in church or standing in the supermarket checkout line is natural, and people with bladder control problems need to pay attention to deodorizing their skin and urinary products.

What causes urine to smell bad?
Normal urine does not necessarily have a foul smell. Many people with bladder control problems limit the amount of fluids they drink in hopes of reducing troublesome leakage. This causes the urine to become highly concentrated. It will appear dark yellow and have a bad odor. You can prevent your urine from having an unpleasant odor by drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water per day. Diluted, uninfected urine does not have a strong or unpleasant odor. Infection is also a cause of foul-smelling urine. If a strong or foul-smelling odor exists, contact your physician for diagnosis and treatment of a possible urinary tract infection. If an infection goes untreated, it can sometimes damage the kidneys.

There are other causes of odor in the urine. Some foods, beverages, and medications affect the smell of urine. This depends on each person’s body chemistry but everyone seems to identify asparagus and coffee as producing a stronger, more distinct odor. Some medications may also change the way your urine smells or looks, so be sure to talk to your pharmacist if you are taking a new medicine and note a difference in the way your urine looks or smells.

What can I do about it?
Internal deodorant tablets such as Derifil® or Nullo® have proven useful to many incontinent people. The deodorizing tablets are taken by mouth, and the manufacturers’ instructions advise that it takes time (2 to 14 days) to get satisfactory results. Vitamin C is another effective urine deodorizer. Speak to your healthcare professional about this; it might not be good for you to take vitamin C because of other medical conditions you have or other medicines you are taking. You should not substitute the vitamin C in tablets with vitamin C in citrus fruits and juices. Citrus fruits and juices may cause your urine to be irritating to your bladder and may cause a bad odor in the urine too.

If you have a normal, healthy bladder and no problems with frequency or pain before or during urination, good juices for you to drink are cranberry, cherry, apple, pear nectar, and other non-citrus juices. Non-carbonated water is always best.
To keep urine acidic and naturally reduce odor, drinking cranberry juice (6 to 8 ounces a day) may be helpful. If you are diabetic or overweight, be careful! Cranberry juice is high in sugar. Look for a low-calorie cranberry drink.

How do I control odors?
The best way to control odors is a combination of good hygiene and the use of commercially-prepared cleansers and deodorants. Overall body cleanliness and the use of fresh, clean undergarments daily are essential. After voiding or having bowel movements, wipe from front to back. Clean the area after each pad or appliance change with a gentle cleanser — rinsing and drying thoroughly. If the skin is dry or reddened, a moisturizing cream may be used. For further skin protection, a protective ointment (not urine soluble) may be applied to the skin as a final step. Keeping skin, appliances, and pads clean and frequently washed or changed is the best guarantee against odor.

What if I wear incontinence products?
When you buy disposable absorbent products, read the package to see if there is an odor-reducing material in the pad or garment. This should not be a perfume but rather a material that actually prevents odor from forming. If you are wearing absorbent products or collection devices, there are several important steps you should take to guard against odor. First of all, the urine and stool must be contained. Adult briefs and pads should be worn close to the body. A properly fitted adult brief or a pad held in place by a stretch mesh brief or an incontinence pant will insure that you are not offensive to anyone nearby. Urine collection devices, such as a condom catheter, external pouch, or leg bag, should be leakproof and air tight. All reusable parts should be disinfected regularly with a commercial cleaner or with a solution of one part white vinegar to two parts water. Bleach is harsh and, though it kills bacteria, it does not dissolve urine crystals the way vinegar and commercial cleansers do. It’s best to clean appliances the way the manufacturer recommends.

Always dispose of products in an airtight container. When traveling or sharing a house with others, dispose of each incontinence garment in a plastic bag with a zip-style seal.

How can I get rid of odor?
When stool or urine gets on your bed linens or clothing, wash them immediately. If you depend on a helper to do your wash or to take you to a laundromat, store the soiled items in an airtight container. Baking soda or white vinegar added to the wash water may eliminate odor in clothes and linens. Use one or the other, not a combination of the two. If you are using white vinegar in the wash water, follow it with one or two cold water rinses. Clothing made of 100% polyester may have to be thrown away, because it is difficult to get the smell out of this fabric. The air around you deserves attention. Use an air freshener that neutralizes odors, not one that leaves a strong smell of perfume. Potpourri and incense, available in grocery stores, drug stores, and card shops, will keep your house smelling fresh. Sometimes people are not aware that an odor is present. If you are incontinent, find someone you trust to tell you honestly if there is any odor anywhere.