Ask The Expert: How Do I Avoid Leaks When Visiting Loved Ones?

How Do I Avoid Leaks When Visiting Loved Ones?

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 suffer from incontinence and will be visiting my daughter for 3 weeks this holiday season. I’m terrified I’ll have an accident at her house. Do you have any precautions I can take to avoid leaks and the accompanying embarrassment?

Answer: This is a common concern and is a great topic to discuss around the holidays. There are many things you can do to avoid leaks, as well as a few things you can have at the ready in case a leak does happen at your loved one’s home.  

As always, preparation is key, and will help give you some peace of mind knowing that you have the proper products in place to prevent leaks. Be sure to bring plenty of supplies with you: absorbent products for day and night, extra changes of clothes (black is a great color choice since it goes with everything and hides leaks well), and extra medication, if you’re on it. After all, when traveling during the winter season, anything is possible and delayed or canceled flights can leave you unprepared – pack extras so that you have enough to last you for a few extra days just in case. If you have trouble at night, bring your own waterproof pad (or two) to protect the bedding. Don’t forget about any other supplies you may need – skin protectants or cleansers, detergents for doing a load of laundry, disposable plastic bags to hold used or wet products, and an odor neutralizing spray to hide any unwanted odors.

An extra bag can help you transport and hide your supplies, as well as serve as a place to store used products or clothes that you can dispose of when convenient for you.  And if you’re a woman, upgrade your purse to a tote bag that can hold extra supplies you may need when you’re out and about.

Finally, the holidays can be a time of indulgence, so watch what you’re eating and drinking. Skip the coffee and alcohol, limit spicy foods and sweets, and avoid any foods that you know irritate your bladder. 

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!

3 Ways To Beat Stress This Holiday Season

3 Ways To Beat Holiday Stress

Studies have shown that people with incontinence are prone to have more anxiety – not too surprising considering the constant worry of making it to the restroom on time.  But add in the holidays, and the stress can take on a whole new level. 

Here are 3 tips to reduce your stress so that you’re actually able to enjoy the holiday season.

  1. Take on only what you think you can accomplish.  Baking that extra batch of cookies for the church bake sale. Volunteering in your child’s school activity. Hosting out of town guests. These are all good things. But taking on too much at once can really raise your stress levels. Think about what you realistically have time for, then prioritize the things that are the most important to you. 
  2. Take time for yourself.  Go for a walk or run. Set aside some time to read a book. Relax and wrap gifts with your kids while listening to holiday music. Taking a break from your normal routine will give you the time to reflect on the season, and put you in a better, more relaxed mood.
  3. Keep a schedule. Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean you should ignore your own personal needs. Make sure to go to bed at your normal hour. Try to eat as healthfully as you can. Get regular exercise.  Limit your alcohol intake. Taking care of yourself will help put you in the best mindset to deal with stressfulsituations that may come up during the holidays.

Have a great stress-fighting tips for this time of year? Share it in the comments below!

The Newest Products For Incontinence: Our Wish List This Year

Pericoach System

While the holidays are generally a time for giving, there’s no reason you can’t treat yourself to something new this season – especially if it helps you manage your incontinence.  So do yourself a favor and take a peak at some of our favorite products to hit the shelves recently.

PeriCoach™

The PeriCoach™ System is a personalized device, web portal, and smart phone app for pelvic floor muscle training. Designed for home use, it is the first system that includes a device, an app providing instruction and real-time feedback and a connection that enables patient management by clinicians remotely. We love this product for its ease of use and the ability to see your results and improvements in your own home.

Carin Incontinence Underwear

Developed by LifeSense, the Carin Incontinence Underwear combines smart textile technology that protects the wearer from any leaks and odors.  Carin combines a miniature sensor and mobile app that together track urine loss related to specific activities.  Based on your results, the program then provides you with a personalized training program of pelvic floor exercises.  Plus, these undies are super attractive!

Impressa® Bladder Supports

This new product from Poise is designed for women to temporarily manage Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI), and helps stop leaks before they happen.  Impressa® Bladder Supports are available over the counter and are inserted into the vagina like a tampon to gently lift and give support to the urethra, which helps prevent urine from leaking.  Impressa® Bladder Supports come in various sizes so you may need to experiment a bit to find the size that works best for you.

Just For Men Variety Pack

If you are a man who is just starting to experience incontinence, or haven’t yet found a product that you feel comfortable with, this pack is for you.  Just For Men Variety Pack from HDIS gives you 2 samples of 5 different types of absorbent products which allows you to find the one that best fits your individual needs, without heavily investing in a full box of each product.

Just Go Girl™ Athletic Leak Pads

These pads were designed with the active women in mind.  Customers rave about Just Go Girl’s™ absorbent, lightweight and comfortable design.  The pad is very absorbent for moderate protection, yet isn’t visible under tight fitting workout clothes, which makes it a great choice for those who experience slight leakage while working out.

Do you have a favorite product you use for incontinence management?  Share it with us in the comments below!

Combating Incontinence-Related Odors During Holiday Get Togethers

Combating Incontinence Related Odors During The Holidays

The holidays are here and that means that for most of us, we’ll be attending at least one or two social gatherings in the next few weeks.  Whether it’s a company holiday party or a festive lunch over at your in-laws, there will be much time for merry-making.  That is, unless you are dealing with odor-issues from incontinence.  Luckily there are many easy ways you can manage this embarrassing side-effect that will have you enjoying the festivities until the last bite of fruitcake has been eaten.

1.  Reduce The Smell

It makes sense that if your urine doesn’t smell, you’ll drastically reduce the chance of an odor if/when you have a leak.  Simple things like changing your diet (asparagus=out; cranberry juice=in), drinking more water to dilute your urine, and getting checked for an infection (which can sometimes cause urine to have a strong odor) all help alleviate smell.

2. Maintain Good Hygiene

Keeping yourself clean is half the battle.  If you have an accident, change your clothes immediately and wash yourself well.  The same goes for any urine collection devices.  Make sure that you are completely cleansing any reusable parts appropriately. 

3.  Find Products Designed To Help

Some absorbent products actually contain odor-reducing materials that can help keep odor from leaks at bay. 

4.  Cleanse Your Space

If you’re hosting the party, you may need to think about more than just your clothes.  Wash your bed sheets often (and as soon as possible after an accident) using white vinegar, baking soda, or even ammonia as a booster (never combine them though!).  Invest in an air freshener to eliminate smell, and always clean up any leaks from other surfaces in your home as soon as they happen.

Follow these tips and you’ll be ready to hit the party circuit in style – and odor free!

We want to hear from you!  What other tips do you have for managing incontinence-related odors?  Share them in the comments below!

Caring For An Incontinent Loved One Over the Holidays

Caring For An Incontinent Loved One Over The Holidays

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

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

Here are some tips to make your loved one feel comfortable.

1. Be prepared and involve your loved one in the preparation.

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

2. Evaluate the travel plan and map out as much as possible in advance.

Remember that your loved one will not know where public restrooms are. If you plan on taking your loved one to another persons home, be sure to locate the bathrooms immediately and make sure they are barrier free, easy to access, and safe.

3. Make sure there is a quiet place to retreat to.

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

4. Make sure your loved one participates in as many activities as possible.

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

5. Be discreet.

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

6. Be prepared for meal time.

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

7. Ask for help.

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

8. Take the time to listen to your loved one.

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

It's important to care for yourself during this time too. Below are some tips to help you help yourself.

1. Be sure to take time for yourself.

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

2. Stay healthy.

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

3. Find additional support.

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

4. Stay positive.

Caring for a loved one can be stressful. But just keeping an upbeat and steady attitude can go a long way in making the holidays a relaxing and enjoyable time for everyone.  Try to find ways to ease some of your tension, like squeezing in a couple of workouts, or finding some time to practice meditation.