How Can I Take Back My Life After Becoming Incontinent?
Incontinence is a problem that can significantly lower your quality of life, decrease self-esteem, increase daily anxiety and, make it impossible for you to travel outside your home. However, with the proper diagnosis, treatments, and products designed just for this issue, you can take back your life and feel more confident in your own body once again.
Urinary incontinence refers to unintentional leaking of the bladder. It most frequently occurs with aging or following some type of trauma to the lower abdominal area, such as may occur following pregnancy or surgery. This issue may also be tied to obesity or other poor physical habits, such as smoking. Even infections and hormonal changes can be the underlying source of some types of incontinence.
Over 25 percent of men and women in the United States struggle with incontinence at some point in their lives while over 30 million individuals have an overactive bladder that leads them to urinary urgency and possibly urge incontinence. Others deal with stress incontinence when they run or sneeze or have trouble emptying their bladders, leading to frequent leakage. Thankfully, there are several ways that you can take back your life from minor incontinence issues.
Adults diapers are not nearly as distressing as they sound. Today’s adult diapers provide great absorbency with very little padding, so they are virtually impossible to notice beneath your clothing. Even if you prefer to wear tighter knit clothing or leggings, these diapers will fit almost exactly like your typical briefs do so that you are comfortable and free from embarrassment wherever you go. Be sure to choose a diaper or brief that is designed for your height and weight.
A variety of major companies produce adult diapers for both men and women. The benefits of this solution can be astounding if you have been dealing with the stress of incontinence for months or years. You will be able to enjoy the following benefits:
- The ability to go out and about whenever you like
- A comfortable brief that keeps irritating urine off your skin
- A stylish and discreet choice
- Convenient products that pull on and off just as regular briefs do
Protective underwear is similar to adult diapers in that you wear them in place of your regular underwear. However, this solution is even more comfortable and discreet because it offers a lighter-weight solution in both men’s and women’s varieties. This underwear is usually machine washable and reusable, saving you plenty of money every year. However, they still effectively protect your clothing from incontinence and protect your mind from anxiety with their thin pads that collect any urinary leaks and wick moisture away from your body.
Because you spend a great portion of each day in bed, you will want to be sure to protect your mattress from urinary leaks. Mattresses are difficult to clean and often hold onto urine scents and stains forever. Today’s mattress protection options are far more comfortable than what was marketed several decades ago. Instead of only being able to find noisy plastic options that make you hot and sweaty while keeping you awake at night, you can now find mattress protection products that are lightweight, breathable, and quiet.
Think of your bedding in terms of layers to make cleanup easy. Start with a zippered waterproof mattress cover but layer another waterproof mattress pad over it for another mode of protection. Switch out your regular sheets for a waterproof flat sheet and use several thin blankets or quilts, which are far easier to wash than thick blankets and comforters are.
While you can opt for disposable protector pads for infrequent incontinence, you’ll find washable items are far more comfortable close to your skin. Plus, these use-and-toss options can become expensive over time.
Guards and Shields
A guard or shield is an absorbent pad that is designed to stick directly into your own underwear. This allows you to continue enjoying the comfort and superb fit of your underwear without worrying about leakage. Be sure to purchase the right type of guard depending on your gender because men’s and women’s guards are designed quite differently. Also, be sure to consider the following features to find the right guard for your needs:
- Odor Control
- Moisture Control
- Tabs for securing the guard to your undergarments
Some types of exercise help to strengthen the muscles around the bladder, helping you regain some or all your urinary control without having to turn to more expensive medications or highly invasive medical treatments. One of the best-known options is Kegel exercises, also known as pelvic floor exercises. A review of studies found that people who do Kegels regularly are 17 times more likely to stop incontinence when compared to their peers. To do Kegels, you will pull up your pelvic muscles as if you were trying to stop your flow of urine and hold this position for several seconds.
Other types of exercise have also proven to be efficient at building muscle tone in the area. For example, a Canadian university discovered that dance can help senior women see relief. In addition, a small study showed that yoga decreased incontinence by up to 75 percent in senior women.
Keep in mind that adult diapers and other solutions should not take the place of lifestyle changes, medications, or other medical treatments that your doctor may recommend. However, they can significantly decrease your stress while you are waiting for your treatments to work and can help you enjoy your life more fully.
Be sure to ask your medical provider about the best solution for you.