How to help your loved one maintain their independence while struggling with incontinence
It is possible to maintain independence while managing incontinence. Help your loved one do so with these tips.
Arm yourself with information
Start by learning about the kind of incontinence you are dealing with. The main kinds are stress incontinence or urine leakage with bladder pressure when you do things like lift, laugh, sneeze or cough. Overflow incontinence is owed to weakened bladder muscles that make it hard to completely empty the bladder. The bladder may empty involuntarily, even without signaling that it is full. Also common is urge incontinence where contractions of the bladder create a sudden urge to urinate. The urge may be so strong and sudden that your loved one will not make it to the bathroom in time to avoid an accident.
Use what you know to decide what you will do
Maintain independence by getting a game plan for more control of incontinence. For example, your loved one may practice Kegel exercises to improve symptoms of stress or urge incontinence. You can generally expect to see stronger pelvic floor muscles, and thus better control, in two to four months. For overflow incontinence your loved one should try double voiding. To do this, urinate then wait a few minutes and try again. The idea here is to completely empty the bladder.
Look for patterns and adjust as you go
Other strategies include planning and lifestyle changes. Encourage your loved one to use the bathroom every three hours, even if he doesn’t feel like he has to go. Try running water to encourage urination. Wear easy to remove clothing. Avoid foods that irritate the bladder like citrus, caffeine, and anything too spicy. Notice if symptoms worsen with stress. If so, practice deep breathing or other stress management techniques. Cut back on liquids an hour or so before sleep and sex. If your loved one is overweight or smokes, encourage him to quit. Both contribute to incontinence.
Keep the focus on solutions
It is normal to feel frustrated or anxious about managing incontinence. Encourage your loved one to not stop there. Move beyond disappointment to a search for solutions. Men’s Liberty is one solution that has helped millions of men maintain their independence. Our skin friendly, external catheter provides hours of worry free wear. Work, play and sleep without fear of accidents, leaks or pop-offs. Your loved one may be able to get Men’s Liberty with little or no out of pocket cost. Give us a call or chat online to learn more.