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GET ACTIVE

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.

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800-252-3337

NAFC is a non-profit offering resources for #incontinence, #bladderleakage, bedwetting, OAB, SUI, nocturia, neurogenic bladder, and pelvic floor disorders.

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.

 

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.

 

 

 

Present A Class With NAFC And Get Free Presentation Materials!

Sarah Jenkins

Present A Class With NAFC (2).png

NAFC is pleased to again offer the chance for you to receive our free presentation materials this fall. In honor of National Bladder Health Awareness Month, we're offering you the chance to download our renowned presentation kits when you agree to host a class in your local community. Why do we do this? Because we want to spread the word about pelvic health to as many people as we can!  

This year, we have 4 great presentations to choose from:

BE STRONG: Building Strength From The Inside Out

STAY STRONG: Caring For Your Pelvic Floor Through Menopause And Beyond

BE STRONG: Sex & The Pelvic Floor

BE STRONG: Building Strength & A Healthy Prostate

 

How Do I Get My Kit?

Click here to learn more about each of our presentation kits, sign up to host any or all of the above classes, and receive access to download your kit materials. It's that simple!  

Sign up today and help us spread the word about the benefits of pelvic floor health!

Aging is Easier When You Build a Community

Steve Gregg

They say two heads are better than one. And the old adage of a village raising a child isn’t just made up. Building community is key to longevity, positivity and happiness, and overall health.

People need other people and that need couldn’t be more apparent than during the aging process. Aging is much like growing up. It’s uncharted territory fraught with new experiences and changes in the body. Unfortunately, experiencing aging alone is more common that we realized.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported 11 million or 28% of people aged 65 and older, lived alone in 2010. As spouses and family members age and die, the likelihood of living alone increases. Although living alone and spending time alone isn’t a problem in and of itself, it can lead to isolation, which can lead to depression.

Additional strains of loneliness include physical health decline, vulnerability to elder abuse, cognitive decline, high blood pressure, and pessimism about the future. Some experts point to these statistics as reasons for community care with other elders or co-housing.

So how do caregivers or individuals in the midst of aging create or find community? They build relationships and attachments to recurring activities and engagements.
 

We recommend starting small and branching out. Look around your neighborhood and see if there are opportunities for friendships with neighbors. Or beyond the fence-- go to your local senior center and try a new class.

Building habits around time spent with other people is crucial. The importance of that time can’t be stressed enough. Click here to watch one of our favorite examples of the beauty of community.

How have you seen community benefit the aging process?

Caregivers In An Aging Population

Sarah Jenkins

caregiving in an aging population

Sally was 56 when she first decided to invite her dad to live with her. He was 80 years old and had been suffering with a slight form of dementia for a few years. Recently, his episodes had gotten worse and she decided that the time had come where she simply could not leave him on his own.  

Because she was an only child, most of the burden of care fell on her.  And while she was happy to do it, it was more challenging than she could have ever realized. Her already busy life was suddenly filled with even more responsibilities: helping him with his daily activities, accompanying him to doctor’s appointments, researching medical needs and performing tasks that were new to her. It didn't take long to reach the point where her career was suffering. While her boss was understanding, she had to reduce her hours just to be available to her father when he needed her. The financial strain was as great as the emotional one.

Sally’s issues aren't unique. So many who find themselves in a caregiver role are forced to make the same sacrifices, and the stresses can be overwhelming. And now that our population is aging quickly, these issues are only going to increase.

 The AARP estimates that by 2050 there will be only 3 potential caregivers for every person aged 80 and above. That’s a drastic difference from today’s 7-to-1 ratio.

Why the sharp decline?  In just 10 years, the oldest of the Baby Boomer generation will be slipping into their 80’s, and with them, the need for additional care. Unfortunately, with the population expected to grow at just a 1% pace over the next several years, the caregiver ratio simply won’t be able to keep up. The AARP estimates that over the next several years we’ll see a steady decline in the ratio of caregivers to older adults, with the sharpest decline happening as the Baby Boomers reach their 80’s.

What are the implications here? In the coming years, caregivers will need more support than ever before.  The greater number of caregivers will create an increased need for nationwide Long Term Services and Support.  And workplace policies will need to accommodate flexible work schedules to allow caregivers the extra time they so desperately need. In addition, care for the caregivers themselves will need to be addressed to ensure that they have the tools to take care of themselves, as well as their loved ones.  Things such as providing extra funding or tax credits to caregivers, creating more resources for caregivers to ensure they have the tools and skills needed to care for their loved ones, adjusting FMLA laws to allow for greater workplace flexibility and time off, and making adjustments to medicare and medicaid to cover caregiver coordination services are just a few of the things that can be done to avert this growing crisis.  Putting these types of resources and policies in place is crucial in the coming years if we want to support the caregiving community and our growing, older population.

MARKET RESEARCH STUDY FOR PROFESSIONAL CAREGIVERS OR FAMILY MEMBERS OF URINARY INCONTINENCE SUFFERERS MAKE $20 FOR A 20-MINUTE ONLINE SURVEY

Sarah Jenkins

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Participating in research is one of the most powerful ways to get involved and help companies find new products and improve existing ones so they can work better for more people living with incontinence.  

WE’RE LOOKING FOR CAREGIVERS OR FAMILY MEMBERS OF THOSE WHO SUFFER FROM URINARY INCONTINENCE.

Take part now in this online study with topics relevant to your everyday life. 

The study should take only 20 minutes and, if eligible, individuals will receive $20 for their time upon survey completion. 

CLICK HERE TO TAKE PART IN THE SURVEY!

The purpose of this online marketing research survey is to gather data from participants to use in uncovering insights of relevance to our clients. All information or data you choose to share during the course of this survey is done so voluntarily on your part and will be kept strictly confidential and used for marketing research purposes only.  Survey results are reported in aggregate, and your responses to our survey questions will never be associated with your name.

How Seniors Can Age-In-Place Comfortably And Safely

Sarah Jenkins

How Seniors Can Age-In-Place Comfortably And Safely

Many seniors can continue to live vital and active lives well after retirement, but safety is always a concern when a senior is living alone. As our bodies age, the risk of falls, broken bones, and other injuries increases, and for some, staying in the home may not be feasible. This is especially true when the home contains stairs, clutter, or walkways that aren’t accessible to wheelchairs or walkers. That’s why it’s imperative for seniors to assess their home to see what dangers might be lurking, to repair or replace any broken appliances, and take a good look at what their needs will be in the coming years.

Here are some of the best tips for senior safety while aging-in-place.

Update

If you have lived in the same home for many years, it’s possible that several updates need to be made in the kitchen and bathroom areas. Take a look at appliances and fixtures such as the stove, refrigerator, and bathtub and consider replacing worn-out technology with newer models. Many appliances now come with “smart” features--such as alarms and automatic shutoff--that would be extremely helpful for a senior. As for the bathroom, add non-slip rubber mats to the floor and tub, as well as a safety bar and shower seat.

Assess

Take a look at your home through the eyes of an older version of yourself. Will you be able to climb the stairs easily, or navigate through walkways? Remove any clutter, old rugs with turned-up corners or slippery backs, and furniture that could provide a trip hazard. Add lighting to stairwells and main living areas to ensure visibility; nightlights are a wonderful tool to have in every room. It’s also a good idea to make sure bedrooms and bathrooms will be accessible from a wheelchair and that doorways are wide enough, especially in older homes.

Security and home safety

For peace of mind, it’s always nice to have door alarms or motion sensors on the property, but they can also be helpful in reminding you to lock up. Consider investing in an alarm service and having motion sensor lights installed around the perimeter, which will aid your vision at night.

It’s also a good idea to make sure there are up-to-date fire extinguishers in the kitchen and in any living space where there might be candles or smoking. Install carbon monoxide and smoke alarms in living spaces.

Consider getting a pet

Dogs and cats can be wonderful companions, and for seniors, they can also be service animals. These animals do much more than provide loyal company; they also help lower stress levels and can be extremely helpful for individuals living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Aging-in-place may seem like a big undertaking, but if you take it one step at a time and plan well, you might be able to stay in your own home for the rest of your days.

About the Author:  Caroline James is the co-founder of Elder Action, which aims to provide useful information to aging seniors.

Ask The Expert: What Are The Top Things I Should Consider When Thinking About Placing My Loved One In A Long-Term Care Facility?

Sarah Jenkins

Ask The Expert: Long Term Care

Expert Answer: Placing your loved one in a facility is an extremely difficult decision. There are so many things to think about, but here are three of the top things to consider:  

Quality Of Life.

While it may seem obvious, how your loved one will be treated at the facility you choose is one of the most important things to consider.  Is the staff respectful? Do the residents have some say over how they spend their time? What services and activities are available? Will they have the privacy they desire? Think about your loved one and what is important to them. Will this home provide that?

Quality Of Care.

Of course the main reason that you are looking for a care facility is because your loved one needs the help. It is important to look at all aspects of the care provided at a facility when making your decision. Ask about what their plan of care is and who is in charge of it. Who are the doctors or nurses that will be looking after your loved one? How often are residents checked on and how long do they have to wait if they need assistance.

Cost.

Unfortunately, some care facilities may be ruled out simply because of their costs. Know what you can afford, and look for quality facilities that fall into your price range.

Once you’ve done your research and narrowed down the facilities to ones that seem to fit your criteria, be sure to visit each of them to get a feel for what they are like. After all, this will be your loved one’s new home, and just like shopping for a house, you may feel a special connection toward one that you just can’t see on paper. For a complete list of things to consider when searching for a good long term care facility, read our guide here.

NAFC's Top 8 Tips For Caregivers

Sarah Jenkins

Tips For Caregivers

Being a caregiver to someone you love is complicated work – it can be both rewarding, and draining all at once. The emotional and physical demands placed on a caregiver are many. Add to that the financial strain that many caregivers face and it’s easy to see how caregivers can become a bit stressed out at times. Read below to learn our Top 8 Tips for Caregivers.

Learn To Take Care Of Yourself First.

Before you can even begin to care for someone else, you need to ensure that your own needs are met. Eating well, getting good sleep, and exercising regularly will help you stay healthy and energized. And don’t forget about taking regular breaks and time outs for yourself – it may seem like an extravagance, but fitting in a little alone time can do wonders for your mood.  You’ll come back feeling refreshed and ready to take on the daily demands of caregiving.

Get Organized.

Medical files, legal documents, financial information – who knew that caregiving would involve so much paperwork! Get organized right from the start and create a system that will allow you to keep track of all your important records.  Also, speak with your loved one and make sure that you know their wishes for end of life care and make sure you get any paperwork needed in order.

Get The Help You Need.

There are lots of services out there that can help you manage the load of caregiving. Finding extra medical support, meal assistance, or even having a friend or family member help out for a few hours each week can help shoulder a lot of the burden of caregiving.

Simplify Your Own Life.

Taking care of someone else can make your other daily chores seem harder. Outsource what you can and automate everything else. Hire a cleaning person. Sign up for a food service like Blue Apron. Have your groceries delivered or set up an auto grocery list online for things that you purchase regularly. Set up automatic bill pay for your fixed expenses. Simplifying these things can help free up some of your precious time and energy, and help keep you from becoming overwhelmed.

Connect With Others.

Things are always easier when you have someone else to talk to. Sign up for one of the many online networks available to caregivers and chat with others who understand. You may even be able to find a local support group in your area. Here are some great networks to check out:

Find Ways To Connect With Your Loved One Daily.

With all the routine demands of caregiving – bathing, feeding, managing medications – it can be easy to forget one of the most important things an aging loved one needs – human connection. Don’t get so caught up in the daily demands that you forget to spend quality time with your loved one. Taking daily walks, reading or listening to audio books, playing card games, looking through old pictures or even just watching a favorite television show together can help make your loved one feel loved and connected. And telling them how much you love them will never get old.

Learn About Your Loved One’s Condition.

Learn as much as you can about any conditions that your loved one may be dealing with. Knowing what to expect and how to handle it can make a world of difference.

Put Yourself In Their Shoes.

Caregiving can sometimes be a thankless job, and it’s easy to see how frustrations can morph into feelings of bitterness or resentment toward your loved one. But the saying “Treat others how you would like to be treated” applies in this situation as well.  Think about how you would like to be cared for and try your best to understand your loved ones feelings and what they are going through.

 

 

Choosing The Right Long-Term-Care Facility For Your Loved One.

Sarah Jenkins

Choosing The Right Long-Term Care Facility

Making the decision to place a loved one in a long-term care facility can be difficult. Feelings of guilt and sadness are often present, despite how necessary the decision may be. But there are many situations where a long-term care facility can provide more help to a loved one than you can – and it doesn’t have to be as grim as many imagine it to be.  In fact, there are many wonderful facilities in the US that provide excellent care.  Be sure to visit the home, or have a trusted friend visit one if you are unable to, and keep this list of things to consider when reviewing your options. (Summarized list from The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Your Guide To Choosing a Nursing Home or Other Long-Term Care)

Things to Consider When Choosing A Care Facility

Quality of life.

  • Will my loved one be treated in a respectful way?
  • How will the nursing home help my loved one participate in social, recreational, religious, or cultural activities that are important to him/her?
  • Do the residents get to choose what time to get up, go to sleep, or bathe?
  • Can the residents have visitors at any time?  Can they bring pets?
  • Can residents decorate their living space any way they want?
  • What is privacy like?
  • Are the residents able to leave the premises?
  • What services are provided? Are they the services my loved one needs?
  • Can we get a copy of any resident policies that must be followed?

Quality of care.

  • What’s a plan of care, who makes it, and what does it look like?
  • Will my loved one and I be included in planning my care?
  • Who are the doctors who will care for my loved one? Can he/she still see their personal doctors?
  • If a resident has a problem with confusion and wanders, how does the staff handle this type of behavior?
  • Does the nursing home’s inspection report show quality of care problems?
  • How often are residents checked on and what is the average wait time if they need assistance?

Location & Availability.

  • Is the nursing home close to family and friends?
  • Is a bed available now, or can my loved one’s name be added to a waiting list?

Staffing.

  • Is there enough staff to give my loved one the care he/she needs?
  • Will my loved one have the same staff people take care of him/her day to day.
  • How many Certified Nursing Assistants are there and how many residents is a CNA assigned to work with during each shift and during meals? (Note: Nursing homes are required to post this information.)
  • What type of therapy is available at this facility?
  • Is there a social worker available? Can we meet him or her? (Note: Nursing homes must provide medically related social services, but if the nursing home has less than 120 beds, it doesn’t have to have a full-time social worker on staff.

Food & Dining.

  • Does the nursing home have food service that my loved one would be happy with and can they provide for special dietary needs? 
  • Does the nursing home provide a pleasant dining experience?
  • Does staff help residents eat and drink at mealtimes if needed?
  • Are there options and substitutes available if they don’t like a particular meal?

Language.

  • Is my loved one’s primary language spoken by staff that will work directly with them? If not, is an interpreter available to help them communicate their needs?

Security.

  • Does the nursing home provide a safe environment? Is it locked at night?
  • Will my loved one’s personal belongings be secure in their room?

Preventive Care.

  • Do residents get preventive care to help keep them healthy? Does the facility help make arrangements to see specialists? (Note: Nursing homes must either provide treatment, or help make appointments and provide transportation to see a specialist.)
  • Is there a screening program for vaccinations, like flu and pneumonia? (Note: Nursing homes are required to provide flu shots each year, but residents have the right to refuse if they don’t want the shot, have already been immunized during the immunization period, or if the shots are medically contraindicated.)

Hospitals.

  • Is there an arrangement with a nearby hospital for emergencies and can personal doctors care for my loved one at that hospital?

Licensing & Certification.

  • Is the nursing home and current administrator licensed in my loved one’s state?  (Have they met certain state or local government agency standards?)
  • Is the nursing home Medicare- and/or Medicaid-certified? (Note: “Certified” means the nursing home meets Medicare and/or Medicaid regulations and the nursing home has passed and continues to pass an inspection survey done by the State Survey Agency. If they’re certified, make sure they haven’t recently lost, or are about to lose their certification.

Charges & fees.

  • Will the nursing home tell me in writing about their services, charges, and fees before my loved one moves into the home? What is included and what is extra? (Note: Medicare- and/or Medicaid-certified nursing homes must tell you this information in writing.) 

To read the full guide, click here.

 

 

10 Tips To Control Bedwetting In Children And Adults

Sarah Jenkins

10 Tips To Control Bedwetting In Children and Adults

Bedwetting is a common issue among young children as well as incontinent adolescents and adults. There are many issues that bedwetting can cause, including embarrassment, discomfort and messes. In addition, bedwetting individuals are at risk of damaging their skin by lying in a wet or soiled bed throughout the night. Bedwetting is therefore an issue that must be dealt with properly, rather than accepting it as fact.

With the proper steps, bedwetting occurrences in both children and adult can become less frequent or even stop altogether. The following 10 tips offer effective ways to stay dry at night.

1.   Monitor fluid intake

Although it is important to stay hydrated throughout the day to avoid dehydration, which can irritate the bladder, try to limit fluid intake during the last few hours before bed. This will help ensure that the bladder isn’t working too hard during the night, which can lead to bedwetting.

2.   Cut back on caffeine.

Caffeine has been found to increase urine production rate, and it is therefore recommended to decrease intake of caffeinated products including coffee, tea, carbonated drinks, energy drinks and cocoa, especially close to bedtime.

3.   Use the bathroom before bed

Before going to bed, empty your bladder fully to help avoid nighttime accidents.

4.   Ensure easy access to the bathroom

For many bedwetting individuals, it may be a simple issue of getting to the bathroom in time. This problem is especially likely when dealing with young children, disabled or mature adults, as well as mentally impaired individuals.

The following are several tips to provide safer and easier access to toileting at night:

  • Clear the path between the bed and bathroom to avoid tripping or falling
  • Use night lights to help your loved one easily locate the bathroom
  • Install a raised toilet seat to make it easier for adults with mobility issues to use the bathroom independently
  • Provide a bedside commode, urinal or bedpan to give immediate access to bedridden adults or those with limited mobility

5.   Monitor bowel movements

Constipation can get in the way of effective bladder voiding, so monitor bowel movements to ensure that your loved one is not suffering unnecessarily. If constipation or irregularity is suspected, speak to your doctor about the best way to relieve this issue and thus help avoid nighttime overflows.

6.   Use a bedwetting alarm

Bedwetting alarms are an effective way of training incontinent children as well as adults who have primary enuresis (bedwetting since childhood).

Do not use bedwetting alarms for adults who wet their beds at night due to any of the following issues:

  •  Secondary enuresis caused by a disease or condition
  • Degenerative diseases
  • Inability to sense when the bladder is full
  • Physical difficulties getting to the bathroom

Bedwetting alarms sound on detection of urine during the night, which can successfully train adults and children to associate the sensation of a full bladder with getting up to use the bathroom. This method has been proven very effective if used consistently for several weeks.

7.   Wearable protection

Until your loved one is trained or cured of their bedwetting issues, you can help keep their skin and their beds comfortably dry throughout the night with wearable protection such as incontinence pads, youth or adult diapers and absorbent underwear, also known as pull-ups. Disposable incontinence products – especially those designed for overnight use – can contain a high amount of liquid and are easily disposed of when soiled.

8.   Bedding protection

When wearable protection isn’t sufficient for keeping the linen dry during the night, bed pads can go a long way to protect the part of the bed most likely to get wet or soiled. Purchase cost-efficient and environment-friendly reusable underpads or conveniently disposable bed chucks that offer reliable absorbency and waterproof backing to minimize clean-up after an accident.

9.   Mattress protection

Mattress covers and mattress pads won’t keep the bedding dry, but it will protect your mattresses from liquid damage and is an important step to consider if your loved one has bedwetting issues. These products are waterproof and usually easy to wash, and offer reliable protection that will allow for longer mattress life. Keep in mind that although thicker mattress pads do provide better comfort for the user, the thickness also means that washing and drying these pads will take longer.

10.   Speak to your doctor

Although bedwetting may be uncomfortable or even embarrassing to discuss, it is important to consult your doctor about your issue. This is crucial because a medical professional can help discover the underlying cause of bedwetting issues, which will make treatment easier and more effective.

Bedwetting can be difficult and frustrating for any caregiver, but it is important to remember the feelings of the incontinent individual as well. Always avoid teasing, blaming and punishing loved ones who suffer from bedwetting issues. Not only will this approach be ineffective, since the problem is out of the child or adult’s control; this may actually make the problem worse. Instead, focus on encouraging and supporting your loved one through this difficult time, and with the help of the above tips, you will be well on the way to dry, stress-free nights becoming the new normal.

About The Author: Hanna Landman lives in New Jersey with her husband and child. She works for AvaCare Medical, an online medical supply store servicing seniors and the homebound across the US. She specializes in adult incontinence solutions and writes for their blog on all topics related to incontinence, caregiving, senior living and more.

Bedwetting In Teens - Possible Causes And What To Do About It

Sarah Jenkins

Bedwetting In Teens - Causes and Solutions

Do you have a teen who is still wetting the bed? You’re not alone. Many teens struggle with nocturnal enuresis, a fancy term for nighttime bedwetting. And while it can be frustrating and emotionally draining for both you, and your teen, most of the time, they will grow out of it.

There are several reasons a teenager may be struggling with staying dry at night:

  • They have a small bladder.
  • They are deep sleepers.
  • They are constipated.
  • There is a family history of bedwetting.
  • They produce too much urine overnight
  • They are experiencing a stressful situation or a big change (new school, change in family dynamic, trouble with friends, etc.)

All of these things may contribute to a teens bedwetting problem.  So, what can you do to help them?  The first course of action is to contact a physician as soon as you can to help set up a treatment plan.  Be supportive of your teen and try not to make a big deal out of it – it’s very likely that your teen is already extremely embarrassed about wetting the bed. Talk with them about it, and show them how to clean themselves, and their bedding when they have an accident. You don’t want to encourage them to hide their problem, but constantly having to ask you for help may make them feel even more embarrassed.  Below is a list of several options to consider if your teenager is still wetting the bed.

Try a bedwetting alarm.

These alarms detect moisture and can alert a teen if they are starting to have an accident. Over time, this can help condition them to wake up and use the bathroom when they need to go.

Bladder retraining.

Just like other muscles in the body, the bladder can be trained to empty at specific times. Learn more about how to retrain your bladder here. 

Medications.

There are several medications that can help with bedwetting in teens and adults. Talk to your doctor to see if this may be a good option for your teen.

Limit fluids before bedtime.

Try to avoid drinking too much about an hour before bedtime, and always be sure to empty your bladder prior to going to bed.

Try the NAFC Dry Night Solution Kit.

Sometimes, the right protection can make all the difference. NAFC's Bedwetting kit allows you to try out several products at a very low price, making it a great way to find out what works for you. Learn more here.

Patient Perspective - Teen Bedwetting

Sarah Jenkins

Patient Perspective - teen bedwetting

I’m sharing this story as an adult, but it is really about my childhood. I suffered from bedwetting when I was young and it lasted until I was almost a teenager.  I was lucky enough to have very supportive parents, but that didn’t stop the shame I felt every time it happened. It never felt like a big deal until I was around 7. Then I started getting invited to sleep overs, which were always very stressful for me. I was constantly scared of wetting the bed at someone else’s house and of my friends learning my secret. I started to turn down invitations simply because of my fear, and the problem began to effect me emotionally. Luckily, my bedwetting slowed down a lot after I was around 9, but I still had an occasional accident through age 12.

I’m not sure what I would have done I hadn’t had such wonderful parents to help me through it. They never made me feel bad about it, and always were as discreet as possible when helping me clean up after an accident. Their support took a lot of the pressure off of me, which I think would have only added to my problem back then. I now have a 3-year old myself, and, knowing that they could possibly experience prolonged bedwetting (after all – it is hereditary) shows me how stressful it can be for a parent. If you are a parent of a young child reading this, please take this one thing away:  Support your child, even if their problem has caused you countless sleepless nights, extra loads of laundry, and profound frustrations. I can tell you first-hand that it likely pales in comparison to the shame they’ve felt themselves. And the support and understanding you can give to them during this time will do wonders for their self-esteem and sense of wellbeing. They will remember it forever – I know I have.

Terry B., Salt Lake City, Utah

Need a solution for nighttime bedwetting? Try NAFC's Bedwetting Kit, available here.

Bedwetting In Children - Tips For Managing And Overcoming

Sarah Jenkins

tips for bedwetting in children

Many parents often cheer once they’ve successfully trained their child to stay dry during the day – and rightfully so! This is a big accomplishment for both you, and your little one! But it can be frustrating for parents when their child is still unable to stay dry at night. It’s important to note that this is not your child’s fault – the functions that a child needs to stay dry at night take a bit longer to develop, and every child develops them at their own pace. Think of it as Potty Training – Round 2.  Parents should work with their children and support them in this sometimes-difficult next step of potty training. Here are 5 things to remember when working with your child to stay dry through the night: 

It’s Not Their Fault. 

Wetting the bed is a common condition, and it’s in no way your child’s fault.  For a child to stay dry at night, several things need to happen, all of which are really out of their control. The signals between the brain and the bladder need time to fully develop. Their bladder capacity needs to be large enough to hold urine for the entire night. Finally, they need to be able to wake up when the urge to urinate strikes. All of these things take time to develop. Remember – bedwetting is normal in children up to 5 years of age, and is still quite common in children from 5-10 years old.

Don’t blame your child and encourage them when they do well. 

No child wants to wet the bed, and as we just discussed, they truly cannot help doing it.  Don’t make your child feel ashamed or guilty for wetting the bed as this may only prolong the problem. Instead, talk to them about how this problem is normal for kids their age, don’t make a big deal of it if they wet the bed, and offer plenty of praise and reward if they wake up dry.

Empty their bladder before bed. 

Always take your child to the bathroom before bed. You may even want to take your child to the bathroom once more when you yourself go to bed just to see if they can go one more time before a full nights sleep.  Limiting fluids an hour or so before bed can also help keep their bladder empty before a long night.

Talk to their doctor.

Talk to your pediatrician and rule out any potential medical causes that may be keeping your child from staying dry at night. Constipation, which can press on the bladder and reduce bladder capacity, is a common culprit. Other medical conditions, such as UTIs, diabetes, sleep apnea, and even stress can all contribute to bedwetting.

Try a bedwetting alarm.

A bedwetting alarm senses moisture and then alerts the child – through an actual alarm, or through a vibrating sensor. There are several different types that make it easy to choose one that works best for your child, and they can help condition your child to wake up when they feel like they need to empty their bladder. 

Take protective measures.

Make it as easy as possible to clean up any accidents when they happen. Use a waterproof mattress to protect the bed. Have an extra set of pajamas ready to change into just in case.  Put a waterproof pad down on top of the sheets, which is easy to switch out if an accident happens. And don’t be afraid to use pullups if you need to.

Remember, it is completely normal for a child to experience bedwetting accidents – even up to 10 years of age. But rest assured that the majority of children will grow out of this phase. Being supportive and encouraging their successes will help make the process much easier for both you, and your child.

Potty Training: What's Normal And What's Not

Sarah Jenkins

Potty Training - What's Normal And What's Not

Potty training can be difficult for both parent and child. Just when you think you’ve mastered it, your child may do something completely unexpected that makes you second-guess throwing out all those old diapers after all.  But most of the time, the things you may be worried about are completely normal and not a cause for concern. Read on for explanations on typical potty training setbacks, and what you can do about them.

“My daughter was doing great, but recently has wanted had a lot of trouble staying dry and is asking to use diapers again. What’s going on?” 

This is called regression and is completely normal. There is no single cause of regression, but it can often happen in times of transition. Is there a new sibling in the house, new school, or other changes happening? These types of changes can cause a potential regression in potty training.  The answer could also be medical – many kids with constipation have bladder leaks. Talk with your doctor if you think your child may be constipated to see what you can do to fix the problem. Sticking with your potty training routine is key to reverse the regression – inconsistency will only cause the regression to last longer. So keep up the timed potty usage (every 2 hours is a good rule to follow), make sure to have your child go before going out and before bed.  Find ways to motivate her to use the potty again – sticker charts, treasure boxes, or other rewards usually work great. Be patient with her and before you know it she’ll be back on track.

“My son has been completely dry during the day from months but still continues to wet the bed at night.”

It is very common for children to master daytime use of the potty first. Staying dry through the night typically comes a while after that, sometimes even years after.  Nighttime training should be looked at as “round 2” of potty training. It is much harder for children to master than daytime dryness, and some children simply take a little longer to develop the physical changes needed to stay dry at night. 

Once your child has been able to wake up dry five mornings in a row, it’s a good time to let him try wearing underwear to bed (be sure to use protective bedding, such as plastic bedcovers or waterproof pads). But don’t pressure him, and don’t reprimand him if he has an accident – bedwetting is involuntary and not their fault.  And if he starts having more accidents at night, don’t be afraid to go back to pull ups. He may just need a little more time to develop.

“My daughter seems to have random accidents all the time, even though she has been potty trained for a while.”

Accidents will happen from time to time, and that’s completely normal. Many kids will actually put off going, or simply forget about it, because they are too absorbed with playing.  The easiest way to fix this is to keep her on a schedule – take regular potty breaks, and ask her periodically if she needs to go. You can also watch for cues that she may need to go - holding herself or dancing around - and take her to the bathroom if she’s demonstrating any.  Consistency is key and often just little reminders can help remedy the issue.

“My son is 3 and shows absolutely no interest in using the potty. Will he ever be ready?”

Every child is different and kids become ready for potty training at different times – there is no hard and fast rule that says a child should be potty trained by a certain age. Be patient with your child and try to encourage his interest by reading him books about the potty, taking him to the bathroom when you need to go (or seeing that Daddy goes too!) buying new “big boy undies” and even familiarizing him with a training potty. Don’t push him – it is harder to train a child who isn’t ready and will only cause frustration for you both. Don’t worry – he’ll get their in his own time.

Above all, with any of the issues above, try your hardest to not reprimand your child when he or she has an accident. Potty training is a huge milestone for kids and making them feel bad can cause real setbacks in their training (and resistance from your child). Be understanding when they have an accident, and praise them when they succeed. More than anything, they need to know that you are on their team and are rooting for their success.

Ask The Expert: My Son Is Four And Still Isn't Fully Potty Trained. When Should I Start Worrying?

Sarah Jenkins

Question: My son is four and still isn’t fully potty trained. When should I start worrying?

Answer: Your question is a common one. As parents, we want the best for our kids, and while there are common ages for certain developmental milestones, it doesn’t mean that every child will follow them to a tee. Four is still young, and it’s common for boys to take a bit longer to learn to use the bathroom regularly without accidents. Even those who are fully potty trained can still experience the occasional accident at four, five and even six. 


Be patient with your child and follow their cue – most children will show signs that they’re ready for potty training (asking questions, wanting to watch, or even sitting on the potty themselves are all great indicators that they are getting curious). Encourage your child - praise them when they make it to the potty, and don’t scold them or act disappointed when they don’t. Once the process has started, know that accidents will still happen, but the majority of kids grow out of this eventually. If your child is in preschool, ask his teachers to help with the process – they may have some new tips to share and many kids often are encouraged to use the potty when they see their friends doing it too.

If you’ve followed our potty training tips, aren’t seeing the results that you’d expect and are still worried, it’s best to consult your child’s pediatrician. There may be a medical reason that is preventing your son from using the potty. The pediatrician will likely ask you lots of questions, and work with you over time until your child is able to master using the potty.

How Much Water Should You Drink When You Have Incontinence?

Sarah Jenkins

How Much Water Should You Drink When You Have Incontinence?

When you have incontinence, you’ll do anything to avoid having an embarrassing accident. And it may seem logical to think that restricting fluids will help you avoid one. While cutting back a little may help, it also may hurt you. Drinking too little can cause dehydration, which means your body can’t function like it should. When you don’t drink enough your urine also can become very concentrated, which can cause bladder irritation (meaning that it may actually cause you to have an accident). And, if you do leak, concentrated urine has a much stronger smell, which may make your leak more noticeable to others. The tip is finding that right balance between too much and too little. Below are some tips on how much you should be drinking, and how to find your magic number.

Drink Enough To Stay Hydrated.

This will vary from person to person, but for most, 6-8oz glasses per day is enough.  You can also look to your own urine for clues on if you are well-hydrated – in general, lighter colored urine means you're more hydrated and darker, yellow colored urine means your urine is very concentrated and you may need to drink more.

Use A Bladder Diary.

A bladder diary is a great tool to track the relationship between what you eat and drink and your incontinence. Use it for a few days and pay close attention to how your fluid intake plays a role in any accidents or urges you may have. This will give you a good indication on whether or not your drinking too much or too little as it relates to your incontinence.

Limit Fluids Before Bedtime.

If you suffer from nocturia or bedwetting, try limiting the fluids you drink before bedtime. While you don’t want to limit your water intake too much throughout the day, keeping fluids to a minimum an hour or so before bed may help curb some of the nightly bathroom trips you’ve been making.

Pay attention to what you drink. 

Water is always a good choice, but other drinks may actually cause you to go more simply because of what’s in them. Minimize caffeinated, sugary and carbonated drinks. And decrease or eliminate alcohol consumption.  All of these have been known to irritate the bladder.

If you’re thirsty – DRINK! 

Cutting back on fluids, especially when you’re thirsty, can cause dehydration and lead to more problems. Your body needs water to function well and thirst is the number one indicator that you need to drink more. Keep this in mind especially when it’s hot outside, or you’re working up a sweat in the gym – listen to your body and never put off your thirst because you’re scared of having an accident.

Remember, everyone is different so there is no one right amount that you should be drinking. Experiment and find out what works best for you, and most importantly, pay attention to your body and stay healthy.

Want to learn about some ways to fit more water into your daily routine? Read this:  How To Drink More Water

NAFC's Top 10 Tips For Potty Training Your Toddler

Sarah Jenkins

10 Tips For Potty Training

Teaching your child to use the potty is a big challenge, but it also comes with big rewards. No more diapers, more independence for your little one, and maybe even a bit more sanity for you at the end of the day.

But where do you start? And when? These answers will vary from family to family because (as we’re sure you know by now, every child is different) what works for some kids may not work for everyone. But, as long as your child seems ready to start trying, (2.5 – 3 is an average age for kids to start, although some may be ready to start as early as 18 months) give some of the tips below a try. Before you know it, you’re little one will be a pro on the potty

Tip #1:  Make sure they are ready.

Look for clues that your child is ready to start this process. Things like asking to be changed, showing an interest in bathroom habits (even yours!), and telling you when they have to go to the bathroom are good signs that they may be ready to start trying.

Tip #2: Get them comfortable.

Some kids have a fear of the toilet –them their own training potty that is just their size will not only make it feel more comfortable for them, they can practice sitting in it in other, more comfortable places your home to really make them feel at ease and prepare them for the next step – actually going!

Tip #3: Let them go naked.

Part of the problem with potty training in a pull-up is that it’s not that much different than a diaper. And kids are typically so used to going in their diaper they may not even remember or think to tell you when they have to use the potty. When they’re naked, they have no choice. Start by letting them be naked for a bit before or after bathtime and encourage them to try to use the potty. Then, when you’re feeling brave enough, let them go for longer, extended periods when you’re home. (But be sure to expect a few accidents along the way as they get used to knowing when they have to go.) Most kids don’t want to have an accident so after one or two, they’ll typically start telling you when they have to go.

Tip #4: Schedule regular potty time.

This can be a time consuming process, but scheduling potty time every 20-30 minutes can be really helpful in helping a child learn. It gives them plenty of practice using the restroom and helps set them up for success by instilling mandatory potty breaks in short intervals. The more they are able to successfully go on their own, the more likely they will be to continue.

Tip #5: Rewards.

We hate to say it, but bribes work. Giving your child a small reward each time they successfully use the potty can be a huge motivator for them. Some families choose sweet treats (M&M’s are a favorite), but you don’t have to resort to sugar to make this work. Fill a box with small inexpensive toys (stickers, erasers, etc.) and let your child choose from the box after a pre-defined number of successful potty trips. Get some cool “big-kid underwear” as an incentive for getting out of pull ups. Kids also love to see their progress so using something like a sticker chart where they can track their success over time can be a great motivator.

Tip #6: Read to them.

It can sometimes be hard to get kids to stay on the potty long enough for them to actually go. Reading can be a huge help. Pick out some favorite books, or some get a few new ones from the library, and read to your little one during their scheduled potty times. They’ll start to look forward to going, and you’ll be getting in some extra reading time at the same time! Win-win!

Tip #7: Praise their progress.

Kids, just like adults, love to hear that they’re doing a good job. Praise their accomplishments and their efforts to keep their momentum going, and to encourage them when they’re feeling frustrated.

Tip #8: All or nothing.

Try just putting them in underwear for a long weekend and see what happens. Some parents swear by this method, although it’s not for everyone. This usually works best if you have a dedicated few days where you can commit to staying at home (and are comfortable with cleaning up a few messes).

Tip #9: Be prepared for a possible regression.

Sometimes kids can be doing great with potty training, only to have a setback after a few months. This is normal and shouldn’t be anything to worry about. Be understanding with your child – showing your frustrations can only make them feel worse and may lead to more accidents. Try to figure out why the setbacks are occurring (is your family going through a transition in any way or does your child have any medical issues, like constipation, that could be causing the regression). Once things have settled down or you’ve identified and treated the problem, your child should return to potty training again.

Tip #10: Be patient.

Remember that potty training is a process, and, despite some programs that claim they will potty train in a short amount of time, it often takes several weeks to months for your child to become dry regularly. Be patient with them as they learn to master this and provide as much love and support as you can to help them along.

Have any of your own potty training tips to share? We’d love to hear them in the comments section below!

When Should You Start Potty Training Your Toddler?

Sarah Jenkins

Potty Training - When To Start

Potty Training your little one is a big step, and one that can happen at different times for different kids.  There is no one magic timeline since each child is unique. Some toddlers are ready to begin the process as early as 18 months, although a very small percentage of children under 24 months are fully potty trained. Two and a half, or even three years old, is a typical age for kids to start.

Look for the following signs to see if your child is ready to start potty training.

  1. They show interest in the bathroom. Is your child telling you when they are wet? Do they want to watch you go to the bathroom? Are they asking to wear underwear or big-kids pants? These are all signs that they are may be ready to start potty training.
  2. Their patterns become more regular. They have bowel movements at about the same time each day, no bowel movements at night, and can go for at least a couple of hours at a time without having a wet diaper, which means their bladder muscles are able to hold urine.
  3. They are emotionally ready. Kids who have no interest in using the potty, don’t want to wear underwear, and generally don’t mind being in a wet diaper are probably not yet ready to start the process. 
  4. They are physically ready. It takes some coordination to use the toilet. Kids must be able to walk, sit down, remove clothing, climb up to the toilet, and tell their parent or caregiver that they need to use the potty.

It’s important to reiterate that every child is different and to follow your child’s lead. Girls are often potty trained faster than boys. And if you have multiple children, younger siblings may benefit from seeing their older siblings go through the process, making it go more quickly for them. But watch for the signs listed above - starting to potty train before your child is ready will cause frustrations for you both, and will often take longer than if you had waited for them to show more interest.  Also know that it’s common for a child to master using the potty during the day, but still have some trouble staying dry at night. Nightime training often takes a bit longer– sometimes even a few years after daytime dryness has been established.

Think your little one is ready to start easing their way out of diapers? Here are our best tips for successful potty training.

 

What Is A Gynecologist?

Sarah Jenkins

What Is A Gynecologist?

Many women are familiar with OB/GYNs, but what is a Gynecologist, and how is it different?

What Is A Gynecologist?

A Gynecologist is a doctor that specializes in women’s health, especially as it relates to reproductive organs. Obstetricians are doctors that are specialized in caring for pregnant women. While the two fields are separate, many Gynecologists specialize in both, which is why you often see OB/GYN listed as it’s own specialty.

What Conditions Do Gynecologists Treat?

Gynecologists can treat any issue that relates to a woman’s reproductive organs, but also treats women’s general health issues as well. Some of the things that gynecologists may treat include the following:

  • Pregnancy (if specialized in obstetrics
  • Cancers (such as HPV breast, or ovarian cancer)
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Prolapse
  • Bladder issues, including incontinence
  • Menopause symptoms

How Often Should I See A Gynecologist?

Women should see their gynecologist once a year for regular exams, but visits may be more frequent if they are experiencing problems, or if they are pregnant. This goes for women at any age from teens to older women.

But I’ve Already Gone Through Menopause. Do I Really Still Have To See A Gynecologist?

Yes! In fact, regular screenings are just as important now as they were when you were younger. You should also still receive pelvic exams – even if you’re not getting a Pap smear – to check for things like sexually transmitted diseases, and any signs of cancer. In addition, incontinence or prolapse can also be big concerns as women get older. Don’t just assume that these are a normal part of aging and that nothing can be done. Your gynecologist can work with you to develop a treatment plan for these conditions, and recommend surgery if it is needed and desired. 

What To Expect At Your Gynecologist Visit

At your first visit, your gynecologist will want to get your medical history, and will likely do a pelvic examination. He or she may also do a breast check, to check for any unusual lumps. If they don’t instruct you how to do your own, ask them. Women should perform regular checks for breast lumps on their own outside of their yearly exams so they know what is normal, and can recognize when something seems unusual.

After that, your yearly exams will be pretty routine, unless you have an issue or if you are pregnant. Once you get older, your doctor will talk with you about menopause, the changes and symptoms you may be experiencing, and how to treat them. Your gynecologist will also perform regular checks of the ovaries, vagina, bladder, rectum, and your uterus. A lot can still happen in your later years, including various cancers, STDs, vaginal tears (due to increased dryness of the vaginal walls), incontinence, or prolapse, so it’s important to keep up with those regular routine exams.

 

 

 

A Guide To Talking To Your Doctor About Bladder Leakage

Sarah Jenkins

A Guide To Talking To Your Doctor About Bladder Leakage

Taking the first step in talking to your doctor about bladder or bowel issues is hard, but it’s a necessary part of getting treatment. Make the leap and find a specialist today so that you can start getting this problem under control and living your life again.

Prepare For Your Visit

Preparing for your visit and knowing what to expect can help make this conversation a bit less intimidating. Make sure you read up on the conditions and treatment options available so that you know the right questions to ask your doctor. It may help to write your questions down ahead of time so that you don’t forget them during the appointment, when your nerves can get the better of you. It may also help to keep a bladder or bowel diary for a few days prior to your visit, so that you can give your doctor (and yourself!) a good glimpse into your bathroom patterns. By keeping a diary you may even start to see some common links associated between your habits (what you eat and drink) and your urges or leaks.

What To Expect At Your Appointment

You may be wondering what to expect when you see your doctor.  Here is a rundown on some things he or she may talk with you about or do during your appointment:

  1. Your symptoms. Your doctor will likely ask you to describe all the symptoms you are experiencing.  This is where your trusty bladder diary that you’ve been filling out will come in handy.  Review this with them and tell them anything else about your incontinence that is causing you trouble.  

  2. Your medical history. Your doctor will want to know about all of your medical history, particularly details of childbirth and any pelvic surgery.  Be sure to tell him or her about any other problems that may be related to your incontinence – bladder infections, difficulty urinating, neurologic problems such as back injury, stroke, or any gynecologic problems are all things that may play into your symptoms and help your doctor determine an appropriate treatment plan for you.
  3. Prior treatments for incontinence. Talk with your doctor about what you’ve done to treat your incontinence, and how it has worked for you.  Have you used medication?  Had surgery? Any other procedures?  He needs to know.
  4. Physical examination.  Your doctor will likely perform a physical examination.  He or she may test your urine for infection or other problems, catheterize you to determine if you are emptying the bladder completely, or examine you while coughing and straining to see if that has any effect on incontinence.  In more advanced cases, your doctor may also request that an X-ray or MRI of the bladder be done to get a better insight into what is happening.
  5. Your wishes.  It is important to note that while your doctor may suggest some options he or she feels are best for you, you have a strong say in your treatment plan too.  Voice any concerns you have about certain treatment options and ask about ones that you are interested in.  Not keen on medications? Tell him!  Want to see if physical therapy may help?  Ask more about this option.  Your wishes matter and your doctor will want to know the types of treatments you are willing to try.  After all, by setting you up with a treatment plan you are on board with, you’ll be more likely to stick with it and experience success, which is exactly what your doctor wants for you.  So speak up!

Be Open

Above all else, be as open and honest about your condition as you can be. This can be an embarrassing and hard conversation to have, but know that you are speaking with a medical professional whose job it is to have these discussions. And trust us, you are most certainly not the first patient, nor will you be the last, to have this conversation with them.  This is your chance – give them any and all information that may help them assemble the best plan possible for you.

Need some more inspiration to talk to your doctor? Check out these inspirational stories from people who made the leap!