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Incontinence Stories From Experts & Real People | NAFC BHealth Blog

Log in daily to learn tips about #incontinence, #bladder leakage, overcoming symptoms, and first hand accounts from experts and patients.

 

Overactive Bladder Causes Significant Burden, Regardless of Age Amongst Adults

Sarah Jenkins

NAFC Logo

New survey reveals impact, need for greater discussion about treatment options for condition affecting 33 million Americans this Bladder Health Awareness Month

DUBLIN AND CHARLESTON, SC, November 14, 2017 -- Allergan, Inc. (NYSE: AGN), in partnership with the National Association For Continence (NAFC), today announced the results of a new survey that revealed the impact of overactive bladder (OAB) and related symptoms on those living with the condition, as well as the extremes to which people will go to cope with or hide their symptoms. While commonly believed to be a result of weakened pelvic muscles following childbirth or just part of the aging process, the survey found that more than a quarter of the 100 respondents were diagnosed at the age of 34 or younger, and nine percent were diagnosed before 24 years of age.

“People can start experiencing symptoms of OAB at an early age, learning to settle for a lifetime of silently struggling with an uncomfortable condition,” says Steven Gregg, PhD, Executive Director of the NAFC. “Many who suffer live in constant fear of their next accident, and feel the need to plan activities around access to a bathroom to hide symptoms from friends, family or colleagues.”

The survey found that 86 percent of respondents experience OAB symptoms multiple times a day. Yet, despite reported frequency and impact of symptoms, 40 percent of the respondents have either discontinued treatment or never been treated for OAB. That may be due in large part to the fact that nearly half of all survey respondents would feel more comfortable discussing their OAB symptoms if his or her doctor brought it up first.

“November is Bladder Health Awareness Month, and we want to help people living with OAB realize that talking to their doctor is important in helping to get a diagnosis and learn about treatment options,” says Mitchell Brin, SVP of drug development, Allergan. “No single treatment is right for everyone. For people living with OAB who are cycling from one treatment to the next, there are several new treatment options that may not have been discussed.”

Other key findings from the survey of 100 people living with symptoms or who have been diagnosed with OAB include:

  • 66 percent say that OAB symptoms – the sudden urge to urinate, incontinence or leaking, frequent urination, and waking up at night to urinate – are a daily disruption.

  • Of the 86 percent who experience symptoms multiple times a day, 32 percent report

    symptoms 6-8 times per day and 12 percent experience symptoms at least every hour.

  • OAB also affects emotional health. Survey respondents report feeling moderately-to-

    extremely frustrated (85 percent), and embarrassed (81 percent) because of living with OAB.

    Seek an accurate diagnosis, and find out about treatment options that can be used to treat OAB. To learn more about OAB and the available treatment options, visit www.dontsettle.com.

    About the Survey

    The survey, titled “Living with Overactive Bladder,” was conducted by Allergan and the NAFC to gain a better understanding of the challenges faced by individuals who experience OAB and the impact it has on daily life and, ultimately, to raise awareness of the prevalence of the condition. The survey was open from September 26 – October 23, 2017. It included 100 respondents, recruited via the NAFC website (https://www.nafc.org/). All responses were anonymous.

    Click here to download the official press release.

When To Seek Help

Sarah Jenkins

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It’s the 3rd week of Bladder Health Awareness Month and this week is all about when and how to seek help.  Talking to someone about incontinence can be hard, (most people wait 6.5 years before seeing a doctor!) but it is often a necessary step in order to get the treatment you need. And remember that what you share with your doctor is likely something he or she has heard many times before. Incontinence is a very common (but not normal!) condition, and once you take the first step in opening up about it, it won’t seem as big of a deal as it may now.

So, how do you know it’s time to talk to someone? Hopefully, you’ve tried some of the tips we’ve discussed in the past (see our post last week for a Step By Step Guide on things you can try). Often, making small changes can make a big difference and can reduce or even eliminate symptoms. If, after taking these steps you’re still having problems, it’s probably time to seek professional help. This is nothing to be ashamed of – different treatments work for different people. And the steps you’ve taken so far will help your doctor in determining a solution that might work better for you. So take notes during your self-treatment process and note what does and doesn’t make a difference. Then take them to your doctor and start the discussion.

Opening up about incontinence may not be limited just to your doctor – your significant other, close friend or family may also be someone you’d like to share with. Don’t live with this condition in silence – many people who open up to loved ones learn that they are not alone – many people have this problem and it helps to be able to talk about it with others who understand. Not only that, having someone in your corner as you make the changes needed overcome and treat the condition can be invaluable. And, if you’re too nervous to talk to someone you know, there is always the NAFC Message Boards, which provide a safe place for you to share your concerns and thoughts with others like you.

So make that appointment, and follow along with us this week as we talk about how to talk with your doctor, and others, about incontinence!

Need an extra push to make a doctor's appointment? Sign up for our 8-Week Challenge

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Have you missed the past couple of weeks?  Here are some of the things we’ve been covering this month to help you live a #LifeWithoutLeaks!

Week 1:  Accepting That You Have Incontinence

Types of Incontinence – The Break Down

Take The NAFC 8-Week Challenge

Men: Let’s Talk About Bladder Leakage

Why Incontinence Is A Condition We Need To Worry About

Week 2: What You Can Do To Manage Bladder Leaks Before You See Your Doctor

Bladder Irritants And Your Diet

Finding An Absorbent Product That Works

Top 3 Things To Look For In An Absorbent Product

Three Things You Can Do Right Now to Fight Incontinence

Incorporating Pelvic Floor Exercises Into Your General Workout Routine

What To Do Before You See Your Doctor

Sarah Jenkins

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Whether you’ve just started experiencing bladder leaks, or have been dealing with them for a while, knowing how to manage the problem can be difficult.  And even if you’ve scheduled an appointment to see your doctor, there are things you can do before speaking with him or her to start treating the problem.

This week we’re focusing on management techniques that don’t require a visit to your doctor. NAFC has a great guide on the website that will walk you through the steps of management and things to try to control bladder leaks. Check out all the steps below:

Step 1: Finding products to help you stay clean and dry

Step 2: Assess Your Condition

Step 3: Measure Your Pelvic Floor Strength

Step 4: Pelvic Floor Exercises

Step 5: Develop A Voiding Strategy

Step 6: Get Professional Help

It is possible that by performing the steps above, you may be able to reduce or even eliminate your symptoms on your own. At the very least, it will give you some good information to share with your doctor and your initial efforts will help them to get you on a course to a successful treatment plan.

Stay with us this week as we provide more tips on how to manage bladder leaks! 

Access the full guide above here, or download our printed brochure with the above tips from our Resource Center!

 

Why Incontinence Is A Condition We Need To Worry About

Sarah Jenkins

Why Incontinence Is A Condition We Need To Worry About

Incontinence is a condition largely overlooked and under treated in the United States.  Although nearly 37 million people every year are affected by incontinence (which ranges from bladder to bowel leakage issues), unfortunately only a fraction of them ever seek help.  Issues like stigma and embarrassment keep many from reaching out.  Others seek help but may only try one or two treatment options before giving up. And there is another group of patients that talk to their doctor but, sadly, don’t end up getting the proper care due to either lack of physician knowledge of incontinence treatment options or, sadly, an unwillingness to refer to “their” urological specialist.

Yet, despite the unwillingness to talk about it, or treat it, incontinence is something that we should absolutely be worried about for the future.

It is estimated that as of 2050, nearly 60 million women will have at least one pelvic floor disorder. 41.3 million will experience urinary incontinence, and 9.2 million will have pelvic organ prolapse. Those are big numbers. Add men to the totals and they become staggering.

Of course, with increased prevalence come increased costs.  Estimates as recent as 2014 project the total economic national costs of patients over 25 that have overactive bladder along with urgency urinary incontinence to rise from $65.9 billion to nearly $82.6 billion by 2020.

Add all of this to the decreasing rates of urologists in America and we have a real problem on our hands.  A report from the American Urological Association predicts that by 2025, the number of urologists in the US will drop by nearly 30%.

Increased prevalence, increased cost, and a decrease in the help needed to treat the condition. This is what we are facing.

But it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. We can make a difference now by making incontinence a more understood condition. By being brave and speaking up about it to our doctors and demanding treatment from them. By sharing our stories with close friends and relatives in efforts to reduce the stigma (“Yes, you are not the only one – I suffer from it too!”). This is how we fight. This is how we increase the options available to us. This is how we reduce the prevalence.

Don’t let inactivity determine your fate. There’s no better time than Bladder Health Awareness Month to speak up about your condition. Do it today.

Learning To Accept You Have Incontinence

Sarah Jenkins

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We’re celebrating National Bladder Health Awareness Month by releasing a new blog series on the Lifecycle of Incontinence. This week, we’re focusing on acceptance.

Over 25 million Americans live with urinary incontinence, which is defined as the involuntary leakage of urine from the bladder. There are many treatment options available for this condition; yet, many people fail to get treatment for it.

We get it – this is a hard condition to come to terms with or to even take seriously. Many people wait years before even talking to their doctor about the condition, thinking it’s just something that happens with age, or that it’s not really that big of a deal. And, because incontinence is a condition that gradually gets worse with time, some people may not even realize the extent that it’s begun to control their lives. In the worst cases, incontinence sufferers find themselves retreating into their own lives – declining social invitations, missing work, avoiding family and friends – all for fear of having an accident and becoming embarrassed.  Incontinence is a big deal. It affects millions of Americans, some to a debilitating degree. Shame, embarrassment, and depression – these all go hand in hand with incontinence.

But we’re here to tell you, right now, that it doesn’t have to be like that. The first step to treatment is admitting that you have a problem . This is not just an old person’s disease. It’s not something you have to “just live with”, even if it is only a minor annoyance right now. It’s not something that your doctor will think is trivial, or that your spouse or significant other won’t understand or accept. It’s a common, but definitely not normal, condition that can happen to men or women, young or old, in all walks and stages of life. New Moms, athletes, teens, and yes, older adults may all be affected.  No one is immune to incontinence.


The good news in all of this is that you have options. There are ways to manage incontinence, and even eliminate the issue all together.  But first, you need to accept that it is an issue, and decide to do something about it.

Since this week is all about acceptance and recognizing that you may have incontinence, we’re giving you the tools to do just that. We’ll be sharing articles and tips all week about the different types of incontinence, how to know what type you may have, why incontinence is a concern on a national level, and challenging you to take your first step toward treatment.

We’re glad you’re here. Stay with us!

Types of Incontinence - The Break Down

Sarah Jenkins

Do you have incontinence?  While most people think of incontinence simply as the inability to hold urine, incontinence can actually take many forms.  Here, we break down the different types of incontinence for you.  Once you identify the type you have, you’ll be better suited to treat your condition:

Urge Incontinence.  Do you feel like you always have to go to the bathroom when you’re washing the dishes?  There’s a reason for that.  Also commonly referred to as Overactive Bladder, or OAB, Urge Incontinence is when you feel a strong need to use the restroom right now.  This can happen out of the blue, and may be triggered by - you guessed it - hearing running water, or even anticipating needing to use the restroom. 

Stress Incontinence.  Do you leak a little bit when you sneeze or laugh?  Does the thought of jumping on the trampoline with your kids give you pause?  If so, you may be suffering from stress incontinence.  Stress incontinence is the leakage of urine when extra ‘stress’ is placed on the bladder and is generally caused by weakened sphincter muscles.  Common causes are childbirth, general loss of muscle tone, nerve damage, and even chronic coughing, which places continued stress on the muscle. 

Mixed Incontinence.  Do both of the above scenarios sound familiar to you?  You’re not alone.  Mixed Incontinence is when you feel both the urgent need to go, and experience leakage due to physical exertion, and is very common. 

Urinary Retention.  Generally caused by an obstruction in the urinary tract, or nerve problems that interfere with signals between the brain and the bladder, urinary retention is when your bladder has trouble completely emptying.  Symptoms of urinary retention include difficulty starting a stream of urine, feeling a frequent need to go, and feeling the need to urinate again soon after finishing. 

Luckily, there are many treatment options available for each of the above types of incontinence.  Educate yourself more about your condition and what can be done, so that when you’re ready to see your doctor, you’ll have a greater understanding of your condition and the options available to you. 

 

Need help finding a physician?  Use the NAFC Specialist Locator!

Sign Up For The NAFC 8-Week Challenge

Sarah Jenkins

NAFC has always been a promoter of good health, which can benefit so many aspects of our lives.  We believe that even small improvements made over a series of time can make a huge difference.  This November, in honor of National Bladder Health Awareness Month, we challenge you to make a change for the better - there's no better time than now to commit to better bladder health!

Because Incontinence can often be a side effect of an underlying condition, it can potentially say a lot about your health so it’s important to not ignore it.  And even if it exists on it’s own, it deserves to be treated.

NAFC is challenging you to improve your bladder health.  Choose one of four 8-week challenges listed here and NAFC will send you tips and tricks along the way to help you succeed.  Join the hundreds of people who have already completed the challenge to improve their bladder health! 

So go ahead – take a step toward improving your bladder health by joining us, and others, in the NAFC 8-week challenge.  Completing any one of the challenges will get you that much closer to a life without leaks.

It's Bladder Health Awareness Month, 2017!

Sarah Jenkins

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Hello Readers!

Each year, NAFC, along with several other health organizations, celebrates Bladder Health Awareness Month by raising awareness of the many conditions that can affect the bladder and how to treat it. This is an important month for NAFC – while we touch many people each day, it’s estimated that over 25 million Americans live with incontinence. And many of those people wait years before even having a conversation with their doctor about treatment options. It’s a debilitating condition that can cause shame, embarrassment, isolation and depression for those it touches, and, unfortunately, it is widely (and incorrectly) thought to be a condition that people should just accept as they get older. This couldn’t be further from the truth and this month, it’s our chance to shine the spotlight on the condition and show people that living with incontinence is no way to live.

So, what can you expect this month from NAFC? A lot! Here’s a rundown of how we’re doing our part to stop the stigma:

Life Without Leaks Awareness Campaign.

NAFC launched the Life Without Leaks Campaign earlier in 2017 and it’s still going strong! Designed to show men and women of all ages that they don’t have to live with bladder leaks, this campaign sheds light on the effects of incontinence and shows people that by not treating their incontinence, they may be missing out on the best parts of their life. Life is possible without leaks. Check out the campaign here.

Blog Series: The Lifecycle of Incontinence.

This series will break down the stages of incontinence, from learning to accept you have the condition, to a description of the many treatment options available to you. Follow along on the BHealth Blog each week as we discuss the following topics:

·      Week 1: Learning To Accept You Have Incontinence

·      Week 2: What You Can Do To Manage Your Condition Before You See Your Doctor.

·      Week 3: How To Talk To Your Doctor About Incontinence

·      Week 4: Your Guide To Treatment Options.

BE STRONG Classes. 

Our BE STRONG classes are designed to show you the many benefits of maintaining a strong and healthy pelvic floor. All of our classes are taught by Pelvic Floor Specialists and are a great way for you to learn more about this vital group of muscles. Find one in your area!

How You Can Get Involved

Follow Us On Facebook and Twitter – and help us raise awareness! 

Not only will you be able to follow along with everything that’s happening this month, you can help us raise awareness by liking and sharing our posts. Better yet – post our Bladder Health Facts to your own pages! Be sure to tag us with the hashtags #LifeWithoutLeaks and #BHealth!

Make A Donation To NAFC. 

We love doing what we do. And we make a pretty big impact, reaching over 1,000,000 people each year who need our help.

But we can’t do it alone.

Support from our readers is the only way we’re able to continue offering the education and community we’ve created on nafc.org. It’s how we’re able to continue creating free courses for your local communities. It’s how we’re able to advocate for patients in home and at assisted care facilities for quality incontinence supplies. It’s how we provide thousands of free educational brochures to patients looking for help. And it’s how we are able to increase the awareness of the impact of incontinence on those it touches. Donate today to help us ensure everyone has access to these free materials, and can learn how to live a #LifeWithoutLeaks.

Start A Fundraiser On Facebook! 

We know sometimes it’s hard to give. But if you’re passionate about our cause and want to help, consider setting up a fundraiser for us on Facebook. It’s super easy to do and all the funds come straight to NAFC. Read our step-by-step instructions on how to do it here.  With #GivingTuesday coming up on the 28th of this month, it’s a great time to get this going.

So there you have it!  We hope you’ll follow along with us this month to learn more about incontinence and help support us throughout the month to increase awareness of Bladder Health! 

Sincerely,

The National Association For Continence

Best practices For Preparedness (laying out clothes, prepping coffee/lunch, pick-up)

Sarah Jenkins

We believe that preparedness is the key to building a solid treatment plan for your incontinence. It’s also a great way to build stability in your life in general.

Read our top ten ways you can be better prepared to handle accidents, maintain your treatment plan, and stay accountable to your health goals.

1.     Lay out your outfit for the next day. Include shoes, accessories, briefcase or purse, and an extra set of absorbency products for your car or bag. Use the downtime at night to avoid the risk of forgetting something in the morning.

2.     Set out your breakfast and lunch so you can grab and go. There’s nothing worse that forgetting your breakfast or lunch and drinking coffee to sustain you. Not only will your stomach be growling, but you’ll likely irritate your bladder without the proper balance of food and hydration.

3.     Schedule your pelvic floor workout with your regular workout. By penciling in time to exercise, you’re keeping yourself accountable to the goals you set for your body. Your pelvic floor should be no different.

4.     Put a reminder in your calendar to review your bladder diary. Pick a time of the week or day where you’ll have no distractions and can focus on reviewing your notes. Maybe you stop at the library before you go home from work, or you leave early to get your morning coffee on the way to work and review it then.

5.     Check in with a friend or mentor once a month at the same time and place every month. Finding a person to glean guidance and support from can be key to living your life as fully as possible. Maybe this person is a friend who has dealt with incontinence before, or it is a mentor who helps you manage your life holistically? Make time with that accountability partner count by adhering to the schedule you agreed on.

6.     Review your day the night before. There are a lot of things that can be challenging with incontinence. Finding the restroom in a location is at the top of our list. Review your day the night before to avoid running in circles when you really need to go.

7.     Refill your prescriptions on time. For some, medicine is a crucial part to their incontinence treatment plan. Don’t ruin the progress you’ve made in your treatment by forgetting to renew your prescription. When the pharmacy calls or emails you to renew—do it right away to avoid a lapse in your intake.

8.     Take time to breathe. One of the best ways you can prepare yourself for the unexpected is stress management. And one of the best, cheapest, and most accessible ways to manage your stress is breathing. According to an article by NPR, deep breathing is not only relaxing, it's been scientifically proven to affect the heart, the brain, digestion, the immune system — and maybe even the expression of genes. Take time to breathe and focus on slowing your body down so you can be prepared and strong enough to face the chaos when it comes.

9.     Have a ‘worst-case’ solution. When everything fails and all of your steps to prepare yourself for the day or for treatment fall through, have a last resort trick up your sleeve. For some, this might be taking ten minutes to go on a walk and debrief, or a change of clothes in the car. For others, a worst-case solution is taking a lunch break or coffee break early away from their desk. Designate your worst-case solution and use it when necessary. You need a place to be redeemed from the unexpected pitfalls of treatment and day-to-day life.  

10.  Imagine your perfect day. There’s a benefit to letting your mind idealize your plan because it can give you something to look forward to. Take time to imagine your perfect treatment plan and your ideal day when you’re setting goals with your doctor. Think about that ideal situation when things get stressful and chaotic so you can bring your focus back to what you can control. 

Tech Tips For Helping A Senior From A Distance

Sarah Jenkins

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As we age, it’s normal to need a little help. Most seniors function just fine; it’s just that sometimes, support from loved ones can make a positive difference. That’s why you're ready to help your parents or senior friend.

Decades ago, you had to live near a senior in order to offer help. If you lived far away, there really wasn’t much you could do; however, technology has changed a lot since then.
These days, you can provide some form of assistance even if you live on the other side of the country. But before you can delve into tech like this, it helps to understand what kind of help seniors often need.

Problems Faced By Seniors

Lumen Learning has a free online course that describes the unique challenges faced by seniors. Some of these challenges include:

  • Financial problems brought on by less income and more healthcare expenses.
  • Ageism, or discrimination and prejudice based solely on the senior’s age.
  • Mistreatment or even abuse by people who should be providing care.
  • Loneliness and few opportunities to socialize.
  • Depression and similar mental health issues.

Of course, one of the biggest challenges seniors face is health. Thankfully, people are living longer than ever; the consequence of that is having more health problems. As Everyday Health explains, many seniors face the same medical conditions:

  • Arthritis
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
  • Osteoporosis
  • Diabetes
  • Disability issues

Apps & Sites To Help You Support Seniors

So how can you help your senior loved one manage these challenges when you live far away? With all of the advancement in technology these days, there are tons of apps, sites, and individual pieces of technology that can help you offer assistance no matter where you live.

For example, video chat can help alleviate loneliness and strengthen bonds between a senior and their family or loved ones. Video games can provide the mental stimulation needed to help fight dementia and can be a source of socialization. There are even health trackers that share information in real time. The beauty of this technology is that all of this can be done when you don’t live nearby.

Also, technology like this isn’t reserved just for you. There’s plenty of helpful technology your senior loved one can put to use. Some must-have technology for seniors include:

  • Tablets, smartphones, and iPads for photos, music, video chat, reading, and games.
  • Hearing aids to help with the loss of hearing that often comes with age.
  • Wireless home monitoring systems in case of medical emergencies.
  • Assistive technology such as LED lighting or stove shut-off systems.
  • Smart home technology that gives seniors the freedom to live independently.

Home Services

There are plenty of other ways to help besides providing tangible technology options. Did you know there are a variety of services available online that you can set up from your phone or computer?

For example, if your senior has difficulty getting to the grocery store, Caring.com lists meal delivery services that can provide regular groceries or complete meals delivered directly to their home.

If your senior loved one needs some extra help around the house, there are plenty of online options for housekeeping, pet sitting and lawn, and handyman services.

These are only a few of the options available, but they go to show that it’s easy to connect your senior loved one with the right kind of assistance through the touch of a button.

It’s challenging to take care of a senior from afar, but technology truly is making things so much easier. Once you’re familiar with the typical problems seniors face, you can help by providing your senior with technology that can boost their independence, or by using online services to give them some peace of mind and assistance. By incorporating the benefits of technology into your long-distance caregiving, you can stay connected and involved. In some ways, it might feel like you were never gone.

Patient Perspective: Why I No Longer Mind Wearing Adult Diapers

Sarah Jenkins

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I’m a 48-year old man, and I wear adult absorbent briefs. Every day, every night. The problem started when I was around 40. I had always had some nighttime bedwetting issues, but they were rare and something I managed for most of my life with waterproof bedding. But after I turned 40, I noticed I was having more and more frequent episodes at night. I tried wearing absorbent pads, but they still leaked, causing me to have to change my bed sheets almost 4 times a week. Then the problem started happening during the day – I just couldn’t hold it in long enough to make it to the bathroom. I saw three doctors, and none of them could find a specific diagnosis for me to explain why I was having this problem. I spent at least a year in denial – foregoing protection because I was embarrassed, but running to the bathroom more often than I wanted. I brought extra clothes with me to work and to social functions “just in case”, and soon, started to limit outings as much as I could because I couldn’t face the prospect of having an accident in front of my family and friends. I finally realized that if I wanted any semblance of a normal life, I needed to use protection. I did my research and tried out several types of absorbent products to find something that worked for me. (Turns out I use absorbent briefs for day and night, although my nighttime briefs are thicker for extra protection.)  It used to bother me that I had to wear “diapers” but now, I don’t think about it at all. I’d rather know I am protected vs. having an accident in public. If you struggle with bladder leakage, just bite the bullet and find a product that works for you. In the end, you’ll be so relieved to know that “you’re covered”, and most people won’t even know you are wearing extra protection.

Mike W., Pensacola, FL

Dry Night Solution: A Helpful Tool For Adult Bedwetting

Sarah Jenkins

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Over a year ago, NAFC launched the Dry Night Solution Kit, designed to help adult bedwetters find the right products to stay dry throughout the night. The kit has been a success in helping thousands of individuals who struggle with adult bedwetting wake up to a drier morning.

If you struggle with adult bedwetting and haven’t yet tried the Dry Night Solution Kit, here’s your chance!

Our kit offers you the chance to try a variety of products at a very low price so that you can easily see what works best for you. When you order the kit, you will receive the following:

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  • 1 Trial Bag of Reassure Overnight Underwear
  • 1 Trial Bag of Reassure Underpads
  • 2 Individual Reassure Booster Pads
  • 2 Individual Reassure Daytime Maximum Underwear
  • 2 Reassure Overnight Samples
  • 2 Reassure Washcloth Travel Packs
  • 2 Individual Tranquility Overnight Underwear
  • $55 in valuable money savings coupons

Not only that, but you’ll also have the chance to talk to a qualified bedwetting consultant for free to get advice about your condition and other products that may work for you. 

To order your kit, simply click the link below, or call 855-266-1112 and mention Promo Code 018000 to receive free shipping.

 

 

A Caregivers Guide To Keeping The Bed Dry

Sarah Jenkins

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One of the most challenging things about being a caregiver to someone who has incontinence can be the mornings. Waking up each day to your loved one’s wet bed can be both physically and emotionally draining. No one likes to wash and change sheets each day, and knowing the discomfort (and likely embarrassment) that your loved one feels can be disheartening.  In fact, incontinence is often a big reason that older adults are placed into long-term care facilities.

The key to managing this problem is prevention. Having the right tools at your disposal will do wonders to help keep the bed dry and your loved one comfortable.  And remember, layers are your friend. They will help keep any leaks to a minimum and make clean up so much easier. Here are some of our top tricks for keeping the bed dry and making your life a little easier.

  1. Zippered, Vinyl Waterproof Mattress Cover. This should go on the bed first and will help keep any moisture from getting on the mattress. After all, replacing a mattress is expensive, and getting lingering odors out of them is very hard. If you do nothing else, do this.
  2. Waterproof Mattress Pad. Use this as a second layer – it’s a softer, but still waterproof cover that will go over your vinyl cover.
  3. Waterproof Flat Sheet.  
  4.  Waterproof Underpad. You can use these both under, and on top of a flat sheet if you wish, and they can be disposable or washable. We recommend putting a large, sturdy, washable pad on the flat sheet, then topping that with a disposable pad that you can simply toss in the trash when needed.
  5. Use Layers Of Blankets Instead Of A Thick Comforter. These are easier to wash in the event of an accident.
  6. Disposable Absorbent Products. A good fitting disposable absorbent product is key. Find one for nighttime use (they’re more absorbent) and make sure the fit is good – you don’t want anything too tight or too lose, as it will lead to leaks. For a breakdown on what to look for, see our guide on absorbent products here.
  7. Skincare Protection. While this won’t protect your bedding, it will protect your loved one. Proper skincare protection can help keep skin from getting irritated or chapped due to accidents that happen during the night. 

Try these tips for a drier night, and happier morning. 

What tips do you have for a dry night? Share them with us in the comments below!

Demand To Be Dry: Why NAFC Is Fighting For Absorbent Standards Across The Country

Sarah Jenkins

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While most people know NAFC as a provider of education and support to those who live with incontinence, did you also know that we work tirelessly to raise awareness of the condition, and to ensure that you have quality products to manage the condition?

For many years, NAFC has been on a mission to ensure that all adult absorbent products made in the US adhere to certain quality standards. Why is this an issue?  Simply put, not every absorbent product is equal. Some work better than others, and this can create several problems:

  • Cost to the Patient. Inferior absorbent products are simply not as absorbent, which can result in the need for frequent changes. If you’re constantly changing products, it’s going to cost you a lot more money. 
  • Skin Irritation. Inferior products don’t do as good of a job at keeping the skin dry. Left in a wet product for too long, skin can become damaged, irritated, or infected. This can lead to an increase in skin irritation or more serious conditions like UTI’s or skin dermatitis
  • Medicaid supported products. Those who rely on Medicaid to help pay for absorbent products are at a disadvantage too, since these decisions are typically based solely on price, resulting in the use of cheap and often lower quality products.
  • Confusing Choices. With so many products on the market, caregivers and patients have a hard time weeding through the good from the bad.

All of this can lead to a negative overall impact on the quality of life for users and their families. This is why NAFC is fighting to get every state to adopt a set of standards that absorbent manufactures must follow.

These recommended standards include the following:

  • Instill A Ceiling For Rewet Rate. Rewet rate is a measure of a product’s ability to withstand multiple incontinent episodes between changes. It is the ability of the product to prevent the skin from being “rewet” by bodily fluids and is essential in skin protection.
  • Evaluate Rate Of Absorption. This refers to the amount of time it takes for a product to absorb a given amount of fluid and is important in reducing the amount of time skin is exposed to moisture following an incontinent episode. The more skin is exposed to moisture, the greater chance it has of becoming irritated.
  • Set Limits on Retention Capacity. Retention capacity measures a product’s ability to hold fluid without leaking. This is important not only in preventing leaks (isn’t that why you use absorbents in the first place?) but also in protecting the skin from increased moisture.
  • Ensure That Sizing Options Are Available. Because fit is an important factor in reducing the chance for leaks, sizing options matter. NAFC recommends that each state ensure that there is a variety of sizing choices available for patients to choose from to ensure the best possible fit.
  • Account For Varying Levels Of Absorbency. Not everyone experiences the same amount of leakage, so multiple options should be available to patients. Choosing the right level of absorbency can help protect the skin, reduce product waste, and optimize cost.
  • Use Safe Materials. Believe it or not, not every manufacturer uses high quality products to create their absorbency products. As part of the NAFC initiative, we recommend that none of the components in an absorbent product, including additives, be listed in any federal regulatory agency as “unsafe”.
  • Include Closure Systems on Briefs and Protective Underwear. Closures help patients in a couple of different ways – it promotes a better fit, and also reduces waste by making it easier to check for wetness without having to throw out the product.
  • Build In “Breathable Zones”.  Ensuring that enough air is allowed to flow in and out of the product reduces heat and humidity within the absorbent product, making it more comfortable and safe for the skin.
  • Institute Good Elasticity In Products. Elasticity may not seem like a big deal, but it helps to provide a comfortable and snug fit when wearing briefs or protective underwear. This can be especially important to those who experience chronic, loose bowels or diarrhea.

Currently, only NAFC has published standards for disposable absorbent products and there are no national quality standards for adult disposable absorbent products. Without national standards, caregivers and providers of adult absorbent products are forced to make incontinence product purchasing decisions with limited knowledge or understanding of product efficacy. This creates added waste (in terms of product, and wasted dollars), and can create health issues for patients as well. NAFC is working to make it easier for states to adopt these standards, and we need your help.

What You Can Do.

Help NAFC fight for these national standards to ensure that everyone has access to high quality products.

  • Pledge your support.  Help to ensure that Medicaid recipients who rely on incontinence goods receive quality products that are appropriate for their specific condition!  Please sign the NAFC’s petition, urging your state to adopt and implement NAFC’s "Quality Performance Standards for Disposable Adult Absorbent Products".

To find your state's pledge of support, click here.

  • Make a donation.  NAFC and the Council for Quality Absorbent Products are fighting to ensure that national quality standards are in place for adult disposable absorbent products. Please donate now to help us ensure that every state adopts these national standards. 

For a historical overview of NAFC’s Standards initiative, please review the published journal article as well as original suggested test methods.  Please note that the test methodologies related to NAFC’s Performance Standards for Disposable Absorbent Products for Incontinence have since been defined, documented and published by INDA and appear in The Harmonized Test Methods of the Nonwovens and Related Industries, 2012 Edition, published by INDA, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry and EDANA, International Association Serving the Nonwovens and Related Industries and The Harmonized Test Methods of the Nonwovens and Related Industries, 2015 Edition, published by INDA, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry and EDANA, International Association Serving the Nonwovens and Related Industries. Click here for a list of current INDA test methods as related to NAFC’s Performance Standards for Disposable Absorbent Products for Incontinence.

 

3 Reasons You Should Use A Mail Order Service When Ordering Incontinence Supplies

Sarah Jenkins

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If you live with bladder leakage or care for someone who does, then you’ve been there. Walking into a grocery store or supermarket, standing in the incontinence aisle, completely overwhelmed by the number of options to choose from. “Which brand is the best? What style should I try? How do I know this product will work?”, you may be wondering.  And then, when you finally make your choice, you stand in the check out lane, wondering who is watching, and what the clerk is thinking as you complete your purchase. 

It can be emotionally overwhelming. That’s why NAFC highly advocates for using a mail order service for incontinence supplies. Read below for our top 3 reasons.

Top 3 Reasons To Use A Mail Order Service When Ordering Incontinence Supplies

  1. More options.  Let’s face it – even though it may seem like you’re looking at a wall of incontinence supplies when you shop, your local drugstore only has so much space. When it comes to number of options, a mail order supply company can’t be beat. They have warehouses full of different brands – many of which you may not have heard of before (but may be just what you need!). Many mail supply companies also offer sampler kits, which allow you to try out several types of products or brands without having to invest in full packages of something you aren’t sure will work for you yet. Simply put, you won’t get a wider array of product options anywhere else.
  2. It’s Discreet. No perusing the products in the middle of the store. No one to see you checking out at the register. Mail order is discreet. Products arrive directly to your door, usually in non-descript packaging, ensuring that your privacy is kept in tact.
  3. You can get help from someone who knows what they’re talking about. This may be one of the biggest benefits to using a mail order service. A trained professional is usually available to walk through your symptoms, how you’ll use the product, and your preferences, to help you choose a product that is just right for you. They know the features of the products, have heard first hand how they work for their customers, and can be invaluable when trying to decide which product will work best for your needs. You won’t get that level of service at your local grocery store.

So how do you find a mail order service? Here are two that we highly recommend.  Check them out and make your first order today.

Home Delivery Incontinence Supply (HDIS)

Live Anew

Ask The Expert: How Do I Keep Myself Odor Free When I Have Incontinence?

Sarah Jenkins

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Each month, we ask our expert panel to answer one of our reader's questions. To learn more about the NAFC Expert Panel, and how to submit your own question, see below.

Question:  I live with incontinence and am often concerned about others noticing a certain “smell” about me. How do I ensure that my incontinence problem lead to an odor problem?

Expert Answer: Many people with incontinence often worry about this issue. But, it’s an easy one to solve as long as you’re diligent in following a few simple steps.

1.     Change often. If you wear absorbent pads, make sure you change them often to avoid smell. Fit and type of product is also important – a close fitting product will hold odors better than something that fits too loosely, and some products have odor-reducing materials built in, which can help prevent smells. In addition, stool or urine get onto your bedding or clothing, wash them right away, or place them in an airtight container until you are able to wash them to prevent odors from making their way throughout your house. If you’re on the go, pack a disposable plastic ziplock bag to store any soiled clothing due to leaks.

2.     Drink plenty of fluids. While many people with incontinence may try to limit their fluids, you should never do so to the limit that you become dehydrated. Drinking too little fluid throughout the day makes your urine more concentrated, and more likely to smell. The general guidance is 6-8 glasses a day. You’ll know if you’re drinking enough water by the color of your urine – clear urine with almost no color (and hardly any smell) is a good sign your staying hydrated – if your urine is a concentrated yellow, it could be a sign you need to drink a bit more.

3.     Be diligent about hygiene. It’s essential that you wash daily and clean yourself well after any accidents and after each pad or application change with a gentle cleanser.  If your skin becomes irritated, you can use a moisturizer or a protective ointment. The best line of defense against odor is ensuring that skin is kept clean and absorbent products are frequently changed or washed.

Read about more tips to stay clean and odor free! 

Are you an expert in incontinence care? Would you like to join the NAFC expert panel? Have a question you'd like answered? Contact us!

The 3 Most Important Things To Consider When Choosing An Adult Absorbent Product

Sarah Jenkins

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Finding the right protection for bladder leaks – for yourself, or for someone you care for – can be daunting. There are so many choices – how do you know what will work best?

When thinking about absorbent products, and ultimately, deciding on one to buy, think hard about these three things – they are the most important factors when deciding on an absorbent product.

Top 3 Things To Consider In An Adult Absorbent Product

Form. Think about how you’ll be using this product, and what matters most to you or your loved one in terms of comfort and ease. Are you very mobile? If so, pads or absorbent briefs may work well. Are you caring for someone confined mostly to a bed, or chair, then a product with tabs may be a better option for easier removal. Consider your lifestyle and make choice that will be conducive to how you live.

Fit. Out of all the things to consider, this is probably the most important. Finding the right fit should be your top priority since getting something too loose or too tight can lead to leaks. Different products have different sizing options so try them out and make sure that the fit feels good.

Function.  Think about your individual leakage when deciding on an absorbent product. Do you leak mostly at night, or during the day? Do you leak large amounts of urine or just a little bit? Is your leakage problem frequent, or is it just occasional. All of these answers can weigh in to the absorbency level of the product you choose, and many manufactures make specific products for each scenario. Think about your patterns and choose accordingly.

Don’t be afraid to consult a physician, or to call an online retailer, such as Live Anew or HDIS. They have product specialists that can help you find the perfect product by asking you questions about your specific.

 

 

Is Sitting Making You Older?

Sarah Jenkins

Is Sitting Making You Older?

We’re sure you’ve all heard the dangers of sitting too much. Being too sedentary can cause all sorts of issues, including organ damage, muscle degeneration, leg disorders, back pain, and even a greater risk of mortality.  But did you know that sitting for too long actually ages you too?

A recent study looked at just how much sitting can affect your “age”. The study, performed by Aladdin Shadyab from the University of California San Diego, took blood samples from 1500 women, and measured their daily activity levels using accelerometers. The researcher then looked at the impact sitting had on the women’s chromosomes. The study found that women who did not meet the recommended 30 minutes of physical daily activity, and spent more time sedentary (roughly 10 hours) were about 8 years older than those who were also inactive but not quite as sedentary. However, women who met the recommended daily activity level seemed to show no association between their chromosome age and how much they sat. This seems to suggest that exercise may counteract the aging process.  (Read more about the study here from Time.)

While the research is still out on exactly how much exercise you need to do daily to negate the aging effects, getting in the daily-recommended 30 minutes is a good place to start.  Wondering how to fit in 30 minutes a day? Here are a few ideas

  • Brisk Walking
  • Biking
  • Dancing
  • Resistance training (be sure to hit all the major muscle groups, including lower and upper body)
  • Running
  • Bodyweight cardio, like jumping jacks

Beyond that, try to avoid sitting for too long. Working at a desk job can make this challenging, but there are things you can do there too that can keep you from being too sedentary. Many work places have instituted standing work stations to combat the negative effects of aging. You may also try sitting on a balance ball, which helps to activate your muscles more than sitting in a normal chair. If these are not options for you (or even if they are), even just setting an alarm every hour to remind yourself to stand up and walk around a bit can help.  (Read this article for some more ideas to combat sitting during the workday.)

If you’re home all day, don’t get caught in the sitting trap. Take up a new hobby, such as gardening, or golf. Move around the house regularly. Find a friend to take a walk with. Clean the house. Anything you can do to stay active will help you in the long run.

How Can You Show Gratitude Toward Yourself And Others?

Steve Gregg

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.

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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. 

How To Have An End-Of-Life-Care Talk With Your Parent

Sarah Jenkins

End Of Life Care

It’s not something we ever want to think about, much less discuss. But we all get older, and sooner or later, there will be decisions that need to be made when it comes to how we, and our loved ones, want to be cared for toward the end of our life.  Talking about dying is not fun, but it is necessary to do it ahead of time to ensure that everyone’s wishes and needs are met – especially in the event that a loved one can no longer make those wishes heard on his or her own.

When talking with a parent, approach them directly, and let them know that you’d like to talk about how they’d like to be cared for as they get older.  This involves asking them questions about how involved they’d like to be in their medical care (do they want their doctors to do what they think is best or do they want to have a say in every decision), how much they want their family involved, what to do in the event of life-support or a terminal illness, etc. Talking about and documenting these wishes early will help prevent confusion later on and can ensure that your parent’s end-of-life wishes are carried out the way they would like.

Need some help getting things going? The Conversation Project is dedicated to helping people have discussions on end of life and has a great starter kit available on their website. Download yours here.