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?
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.
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