January is International Quality of Life Month. This first month of the year symbolizes a new beginning and is a great time to reflect on the quality of your life and its purpose. While evaluating your quality of life, you may think about your relationships, community, work, school, finances, health, fitness, spirituality or other parts of your life.
In honor of Quality of Life month, we’re featuring a host of questions from Men’s Liberty users and potential users about how incontinence impacts your quality of life and what Men’s Liberty can do to improve men’s quality of life right now.
1. How does incontinence affect quality of life?
Incontinence can have a huge impact on your life; it is associated with depression, social isolation, health problems and infections. So it’s important to get it under control and get back out there in the world!
Once you’ve have mastered the mechanics, set goals on how you can remain active. Make a schedule and establish routes with available restrooms. Try finding a support group because life is more pleasant when you can share your challenges with other people who understand. Exercise as much as you can. Create a daily routine involving moderate physical activity and make it permanent.
The typical response when dealing with urine control is to cut back on social activities. This is understandable until you learn to manage it. But that’s the key – manage it; then get out and live life to the fullest.
2. Can my incontinence have an impact on my loved one’s quality of life?
If you need help managing your urine, it’s important to create as much free time for your spouse or companion as possible. Tying caregivers to your bathroom schedule makes it difficult for them to get a break. Choosing a urine management option that empowers you and does not require frequent assistance is preferred. Alternatively, plans may include employing a personal caregiver, at least on a part-time schedule to provide respite assistance.
3. I know there isn’t a magical solution, but is there at least a way to reduce the impact of my incontinence on my life?
Sadly, there isn’t one magical secret to making it all go away. If there was, I would be a RICH woman I assure you (hint: I’m not). The best advice I can give you is two things:
- Be prepared. Plan ahead. Before your go out make sure you have enough supplies to last through the day. If you’re travelling make sure you have enough supplies and some spares. Make sure to carry an extra set of clothes, plastic bags for wet clothes, wet wipes and baby powder in a small bag that you can keep with you. No one ever wants to have an accident but being prepared can mitigate a lot of your worry. Whether it’s a long car ride or a bumpy flight – it’s always best to be prepared.
- Find the right product for you and stick with it. High maintenance times aren’t the time to be trying something new at the last minute. There is usually a learning curve involved with new products and it’s best to try those out when you have some quiet time to monitor and respond if something doesn’t work quite as planned. This is certainly something we advocate with our product. Men’s Liberty has a bit of a learning curve for your skin because it absorbs all the excess moisture in your skin that has built up from using diapers and pads. That means the first one won’t last 24 hours. It takes about 3 back-to-back applications to get the full wear time of the product. Knowing that in advance allows you to plan and stay in control.
4. My patient/loved one is incontinent but is embarrassed to discuss it with their doctor. It’s making them stay home and hurting their social life. How can I talk to them about management products without causing undue embarrassment?
What’s most important in this discussion is to be sensitive, to listen to your patient/loved one and don’t get accusatory or defensive. This is a difficult conversation to have. Here are a few tips:
- Even in a well-established relationship, it can be hard to find a way to discuss incontinence. But experts say you should bring the subject up with your partner when you’re far away from the bedroom door. Waiting until intimacy is imminent puts pressure on both of you. Instead, find a time when you’re both relaxed and feeling positive before you broach the topic.
- It can be tempting to talk about difficult subjects over the phone, or via email, but there is much more scope for misunderstanding there as well. It’s easy to misinterpret silence as awkwardness, or confusion as disapproval and being face-to-face is the best way to avoid those problems.
- The best response will likely vary based on your relationship with the person. The best default is just to show no embarrassment yourself. If you treat it as a matter of fact thing that has to be dealt with then they will likely follow your lead. Avoid joking unless you’re really secure in your relationship with that person as it’s easy to cause offense about such a sensitive subject.