International Infection Prevention Week (IIPW) ended last week, but that doesn’t mean we can slack off for the next 358 days. Let’s stick with the mission statement developed by APIC: 365 days of commitment, 7 days of focus. In fact, we would like to take a moment to give a shout out to the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) and Eloquest Healthcare Inc. Both of these organizations are making great strides in order to reduce the number of infections contracted by healthcare patients.
This week is International Infection Prevention Week and to kick things off we are going to dispel some common myths about Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) and expose the facts. Before we dive into these myths, let’s talk about just how common it is to contract a UTI.
Urinary tract infections are the second most common type of infection in the body, accounting for 8.1 million visits to health providers each year. To put a $ sign on it, a recent study published in Infection Control Today found that ER visits for UTIs contributed to $4 BILLION in unnecessary healthcare costs annually. Dozens of other studies tell us that urinary tract infections are the most common type of hospital-acquired infection and most hospital-acquired UTIs happen after urinary catheterization.
So what causes a UTI? Are women more susceptible them men to contracting a UTI? Does cranberry juice really cure UTIs? I’m sure you’ve heard various answers to these questions. Well, we are here to tell you the facts. But don’t feel bad if you’ve had it wrong, some of this was news to me too!
Myth: UTIs only happen after having sex.
Fact: Sexual intercourse is the number one cause of UTIs. However, it isn’t the only cause. Other causes of UTIs include wiping from back to front, holding in your urine for extended periods of time, and catheters or tubes place in the urethra and bladder.
Myth: UTIs are a sign of bad hygiene.
Fact: You don’t get a UTI from having bad hygiene of sleeping with somebody who doesn’t shower every day. You (and our partner) can be squeaky clean and still contract a UTI.
Myth: Men don’t get UTIs.
Fact: Bacteria do not discriminate between sexes. Although it’s certainly rarer for men to contract a UTI, only 12% of men claim to have had a UTI in their lifetime compared to 50% of women. Women have a much shorter urethra then men, which means that bacteria has a much shorter journey into the bladder, resulting in higher infection rates. However, for men, the likelihood of getting a UTI increases with age.
Myth: Cranberries, cranberry juice, or cranberry products can cure UTIs.
Fact: Cranberry juice contains the active ingredient, cranberry proanthocyanidins or PACs, that helps prevent bacterial growth in the bladder. You can drink cranberry juice to help prevent a bladder infection. But don’t rely on cranberry products as a cure if you have already contracted a UTI. It won’t hurt, but it won’t help significantly more than drinking plenty of water. Only an antibiotic will cure an established UTI.
Myth: Taking a low-dose antibiotic every day is a good way to prevent UTIs.
Fact: Daily antibiotics can be effective but pretty quickly you’ll discover that the bacteria have become resistant to them. Plus, this is a good way to give your body something it doesn’t need. Prevention of UTIs typically doesn’t require antibiotics. The scientific community now knows how to standardize and dose cranberry PACs in dietary supplements at 36mgs of PAC once a day to properly maintain a clean urinary tract. Increasing antibiotic resistance is a chief concern and initiative of both the WHO (World Health Organization) and the CDC (Center for Disease Control). Antibiotics are for treatment, and frequent use can lead to antibiotic resistance. It's better to maintain a clean urinary tract with ellura, lots of water and other simple protections.
Have you heard other myths regarding UTIs that I may have missed or do you have a question? Leave it in the comments section and I will respond or address it in our next blog. As always, thanks for reading!
In this week's video blog we are going to answer questions about the Men's Liberty "Learning Curve". What exactly is the "Learning Curve"? Well what are you waiting for, click the video below and find out!
As some of you may have already guessed, I am new to the BioDerm team and the healthcare industry. I have only been with the company for the past two weeks; however, ever since my first interview I could see the dedication and passion everyone here has for the products we produce. It’s one of the things that attracted me to the company. Everyone from the call center representatives to upper management is enthusiastic about making a difference for our customers and improving their daily lives. I’ll admit, I didn’t quite get it at first. Then I looked a little deeper, and I was struck by how different they were from what is currently on the market and how they could make a positive impact for physicians, caregivers, and ultimately patients.
And fortunately, it seems I’m not alone. This afternoon I was sent an email which I would like to share with you. The email is from one of our patients, Kelly Iden. Kelly was recently sent samples of our CathGrip products, UniGrip and Grip&Seal as well as BioPlus+.
CathGrip is our hydrocolloid based catheter securement device. It uses the same adhesive as Men’s Liberty and can secure almost any tube coming out of your body. Tubes and drains are common in hospitals, but what I didn’t know was that some people have permanent tubes – they’re always going to need products like ours!
Kelly is one of these. He has a permanent suprapubic tube and is currently recovering from surgery to correct buried bumper syndrome.
Below, he describes his experience using our products.
“I wanted to thank you all for the samples and say I love your products. My skin was happy for one of the first times in 5 years. They don’t cause itching, or pain. After you remove them you cannot tell where they were. They are sturdy and they didn’t fall off (or even lift) and the clasps didn’t break no matter how many times you opened and shut them. I loved them both but at this time I prefer the UniGrip. The BioPlus+ didn’t cause any itching either. You have an awesome product and it truly does what it claims to do”
That last sentence really drove it home for me. We are not just selling healthcare devices without purpose; we are creating products that positively impact the lives of other people. I now understand where the passion and dedication comes from; it comes from stories like this.
With that being said, we still have many people to help. There will be more stories to tell and more people who can benefit from discovering these lifechanging products.
So I’m sending out a big thank you to Kelly for sharing his experience with us and allowing me to share it with our readers. I look forward to hearing more stories like this one, so please, if you have an experience you would like to share with us, don’t be afraid to reach out. We would love to hear your story!
Today I wanted to share a blog from Nancy Pham of nationalincontinence.com, she is a product specialist who often writes about new incontinence products. This post may be short but it contains some valuable information regarding prostate cancer screening, risk factors, and symptoms. This is a widespread disease and although 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed in his lifetime with prostate cancer, the survival rate is quite high if detected and treated early.
So take a look, do you know someone who has been diagnosed or is recovering from prostate cancer? Do you have a story to share? Let us know.
Prostate cancer affected an estimated 2.8 million men in the United States last year, according to cancer.org. It is the most common cancer – after skin cancer – among American men, and approximately 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with the disease in his lifetime. Fortunately, the survival rate is quite high if the cancer is detected and treated early.
September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, a time to learn about the signs and risk factors of the disease. Early detection and screening can help prevent the spread of the cancer. However, screening recommendations have been controversial, as results from the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test and the digital rectal exam (DRE) can be inaccurate. The disease also usually grows and spreads at a slow pace, or not at all, and overtreatment can cause more problems than solutions.
The American Urological Association (AUA) recently released new guidelines recommending men ages 55 to 69 start asking their doctors about the benefits and harms of prostate cancer screening. The association recommends against screening for men younger than 55 who are at average risk, as well as for men ages 70 and older. The American Cancer Society (ACS) suggests that men should start discussing screening pros and cons at age 50. African American men or those with a family history should consider getting screened starting at age 45. The United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends against routine PSA screening for men of all ages without symptoms.
Despite the differences of if and when to get screened, the general consensus is to speak to a doctor about the consequences of prostate cancer screening before going through with the process. Each case is unique, and an informed decision should be made only after accessing all risks and benefits.
So who is most at risk for prostate cancer? Researchers are still trying to pinpoint the exact causes of the disease, but they have identified several risks factors that may play a role:
- Being over the age of 40
- Being African American
- Having a family history
- Eating a lot of red meat or high-fat dairy products, and few fruits and vegetables
Unfortunately, symptoms during the early stages are scarce – a reason why many people encourage annual screenings after a certain age. During advanced stages, men may experience:
- urination problems, such as frequent urges to urinate and having a slow or weak urinary stream
- blood in the urine, or hematuria
- pelvis, hips, lower back pains
- trouble getting an erection
- loss of bladder or bowel control, or incontinence
If you believe that you may have prostate cancer, speak to your doctor. Men who are in the early stages may not need treatment, but should be monitored in case of progression (also called active surveillance). For more information on prostate cancer, please visit the ACS website.
I saw these shocking statistics from caregivers in a recent edition of the Boston Globe and just had to share! Caregivers make an amazing contribution to our healthcare system and to their loved ones. It's no small thing to be a caregiver and anything we can do to ease their burden is welcome!
So I was appalled to hear that the most difficult task for most caregivers is dealing with incontinence supplies. It just doesn't have to be that difficult, if you're using the right products!
Most difficult medical tasks rated by the caregivers:
67%: Use incontinence equipment, supplies, administer enemas
66%: Do wound care (bandages, ointments, prescription drugs for skin care, or to treat pressure sores or postsurgical wounds) and ostomy care
61%: Manage medications, including IV and injections
53%: Prepare food for special diets
39%: Help with assistive devices for mobility like canes or walkers
49%: Operate medical equipment (mechanical ventilators, oxygen, tube feeding equipment, home dialysis equipment, suctioning equipment)
36%: Operate durable medical equipment (hospital beds, lifts, wheelchairs, scooters, toilet or bath chairs, geri chairs, for example)
36%: Use meters/monitors (thermometer, glucometer, stethoscope, weight scales, blood pressure monitors, oxygen saturation monitors), administer test kits, use telehealth equipment
Who exactly are these caregivers?
According to the Boston Globe survey, caregivers are a mixed bunch. They are:
- Female: 58%
- Median age: 56
- Married: 67%
- Working: 47%
- Not working: 17%
- Retired: 27%
- Disabled: 9%
Whether your a full time caregiver, juggling caregiving and employment or just looking for a better option for yourself, consider changing how you manage urinary incontinence - and save hours every day with an easier option!
SOURCE: Home Alone: Family Caregivers Providing Complex Chronic Care
Join us as Wendy LaTorre discusses her involvement in Men's Liberty in the first video blog.
Since we’re at the American Physical Therapy Association conference this week, I thought it was the perfect time to share some great information on the importance of physical therapy after spinal cord injuries. We’re thrilled to welcome Matt Anton as a guest blogger!
When you are treating a person who has suffered a spinal cord injury, the biggest focus is on regaining function and independence so that patients can be active, healthy and happy, despite the challenges they face. Among clinicians, it's widely accepted that the best results come from using a variety of treatment methods and that the more you put into your rehab, the more you get out!
What Happens After A Spinal Injury
When you suffer a spinal injury, you need to allow enough time for the injured muscles and the bones to heal. This is why there is usually a phase of immobilization that allows the bones and the muscles to repair themselves. While this is going on, your doctors usually prescribe medication which will encourage faster healing as well as provide nutritional supplements like vitamins and minerals to speed up the healing process.
Rehabilitation After Injury
When the rehabilitation process starts, physical therapists along with occupational therapists, health care professionals and psychologists work as a team under the coordination of a specialist who will set goals for the patient’s recovery and develop a plan for the patient’s discharge. In the acute care phase the physical therapists usually focus on the respiratory status of the patient. They do this in order to prevent indirect complications as well as maintain a range of motion activities and keep the muscles active.
Complexity Of Neurological Impairment
When spinal injuries occur, there are often neurological impairments and/or damages involved. The level of impairment differs in different cases. The higher up the spine the injury occurs, the greater the challenges. Often the level of neurological impairment is such that some of the ventilator muscles are impaired and that puts more stress on muscles that are unaffected. Most spinal injury patients suffer from reduced lung capacity as well as reduced tidal volume. Thus, the therapists at such a stage teach the patients accessory breathing methods and techniques.
Method Of Physical Therapies
Physical therapists may also assist such patients in learning how to cough as well as clearing the secretions that come up the throat. The stretching of the thoracic wall is done in a way that is taught to such impaired patients. Many of these patients are provided abdominal support belt as it becomes necessary. The amount of the time that a patient remains in an immobilized condition depends on the spinal cord injuries that they sustain. Physical therapists need to work with such patients in order to prevent any complications that may arise due to such immobilized state. Other complications that arise from immobilization are osteoporosis and muscle atrophy. That, in turn, increases the risk of fractures of the femur and the tibia.
Importance Of Physical Rehabilitation
To prevent such conditions during the immobilization period, there are many kinds of electrical stimulation techniques that are used in order to achieve effective results. The intensity and the frequency as well as the duration of the stress that is given to the bones is decided by the therapist. Thus, physical therapy for spinal injury patients is essential. Even though they are painful at certain stages especially during the phase of immobilization, one needs to keep up such therapies in order to reduce the risk of related damages to other areas of the body.
Getting Out of the Hospital
Rehabilitation therapy involves relearning old skills and developing new ones. Patients will learn to use new equipment including wheelchairs, transfer benches and shower chairs. This may also include special equipment for bladder or bowel management. During this learning phase it is critical to set goals for yourself and your recovery that allow you to work toward resuming your previous lifestyle and getting back to the routines and activities you enjoyed prior to your injury.
Author Bio:Matt Anton is an author who contributes articles on different healthcare forums. He also writes articles on a variety financial matters. For more articles from Matt, check out: http://paymentsavvy.com.
Are you a blogger looking for opportunities to share your work? Men's Liberty is looking for guest bloggers to provide great new content featuring spinal cord injuries, incontinence and your personal stories. We'd love to feature you! If interested, email: Swoodward@mensliberty.com
**Please note: Men's Liberty does not endorse or support any products or services mentioned in the above article or associated links**
Just before the holidays, the National Association for Continence announced that they had finalized the recommendations for quality performance standards for disposable adult absorbent products. These quality standards are being implemented by a 15 member council including representatives of all major absorbent manufacturers in the U.S., the non-wovens trade association, five state government agencies from all regions of the U.S., recognized nursing educators in continence care, family caregivers appointed by the National Family Caregivers Association.
The recommendations cover eight specific characteristics:
- Rewet rate – a measure of a product’s ability to withstand incontinent episodes between changes
- Rate of acquisition – a measure of the speed at which urine is drawn away from the skin
- Retention capacity – a measure of a product’s capacity to hold fluid without leaking
- Sizing options – ranging from youth and small adult to extra large and XX-large adult
- Safety – no components including additives that are listed in any Federal Regulatory Agency as being considered “unsafe”
- Presence of a closure system – allowing re-open ability
- Breathable zones – an acceptable minimum air flow in side “wings” of the product sufficient to release trapped body heat/gaseous body perspiration in pelvic region
- Performance of elastics – giving evidence of fit and functionality of containment of waste, without sacrificing comfort
Detailed steps of testing procedures are included among the recommendations, as are recommendations on how products should be submitted for independent laboratory testing and allowance for variation. Additional cost-saving suggestions are offered, such as encouraging states to share data of tested product. In early January, NAFC will be providing details to the Medicaid agencies of all 50 states.
As a company in the incontinence arena, I find these recommendations to be a bit like trying to put lipstick on a pig. Wearing absorbent products are quite simply bad for your health.
In general, absorbent products are made of hydrophilic materials which absorb urine and a hydrophobic external layer to hold the moisture inside and prevent leaks. The main positives for diapers are that they are relatively cheap, readily available and easy to use.
The price of most superabsorbents is between $0.44 and $0.86 per pad[i]. Pads should be changed 4-6 times a day[ii], meaning the annual expenditure for wearing absorbents could reach $4,402. Because absorbents aren’t generally covered by insurance, these costs are borne by the user.
The most common side effect of absorbents is Incontinence-Associated Dermatitis (IAD) which occurs in up to 25% of users[iii]. Continuous use of absorbents for as little as 5 days has been shown to cause increased sweat production and compromised skin barrier function[iv]. Continuous absorbent use is also associated with an increased risk of pressure ulcers[v].
Absorbents also have several more ineffable downsides – like the pervasive ammonia smell, the bulky heft visible under your clothes and the need to carry extra supplies whenever you leave the house.
So let’s call a spade a spade, shall we? No matter how many committees you have, recommendations you implement, a diaper, is a diaper, is a diaper. And why spend time and money trying to put lipstick on a pig when there’s already a healthier, cost effective option on the market?
There is literally nothing else out there like Men’s Liberty. It’s truly a product that changes people's lives. Nearly 1.5 million Men's Liberty units have been used without a single reportable adverse event caused by the device including UTI and skin injury. Compare that to other outdated managements devices like indwelling catheters, condom catheters or diapers which have astronomical infection rates that result in additional medications, hospitalizations and even death. There is, quite simply, no comparison. We are head and shoulders above the rest.
The most important features of Men's Liberty are:
- It's completely external - There is nothing in Men's Liberty which goes inside the body. This eliminates one of the primary infection paths you find with indwelling catheters. As a completely non-invasive product, Men's Liberty is more comfortable, easier to apply, reduces the need for skilled nurses to manage incontinence and improves health outcomes.
- It's made from skin friendly hydrocolloid - hydrocolloid has been used in wound care for decades. It is safe, skin friendly, latex free and hypoallergenic. Quite simply, it's better for people's skin. It reduces or eliminates skin tears and injuries, all the while maintaining a secure seal for 24-48 hours.
- It's covered by Medicare, most state Medicaids, VA/TriCare, Workers Compensation and most private insurances. Most of our customers can get a healthier product for little to nothing out of pocket which helps their bottom line.
[i] Brazzelli et al. “Absorbent Products for Containing Urinary and/or Fecal Incontinence in Adults,” Journal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing, Jan. 2002: pp. 45-54.
[ii] Brazzelli et al. “Absorbent Products for Containing Urinary and/or Fecal Incontinence in Adults,” Journal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing, Jan. 2002: pp. 45-54.
[iii] Gray, M., “Optimal Management of Incontinence-Associated Dermatitis in the Elderly,” American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2010:00 (0).
[iv] Aly, R., Shirley, C., Cunico, B., et al, “Effect of Prolonged occlusion on the microbial flora, pH, carbon dioxide and transepidermal water loss on human skin,” Journal Investifative Dermatology, 1978; 71 (6): 378-81.
[v] BioDerm estimate, 2005, based on Pajk, Marilyn Pressure Sores. Merck Manual of Geriatrics Section 15, Chapter 124. Internet Edition provided by Medical Services, USMEDSA, USHH. Published by Merck and Co. Inc, 2000
What is double dipping exactly? Traditionally, it’s when you dip your chip into the salsa or other condiment more than once. Etiquette guru, Emily Post, says this habit is ‘gauche’ while in mixed company.
But would you be surprised to know that there is a second potential meaning to double dipping that’s all about incontinence? Among the coolest kids on the incontinent playground, double dipping is when you pee twice into the same diaper in order to extend the life of the diaper and save money. Personally, I think Emily Post’s opinion works for this definition too!
But aside from issues of etiquette, double dipping in your diapers can cause some serious complications and end up costing you more money in the long run.
Absorbent products go by a lot of names these day – adult diapers, briefs, pads, male guards and pull ups, just to name a few. Whatever the brand, there are some basic commonalities. Absorbent products are made up of hydrophilic materials like paper pulp which absorb urine and a hydrophobic external layer like nylon to hold the moisture inside and prevent leaks.
The price of most superabsorbent pads is between $0.44 and $0.86 per unit. Pads should be changed an average of 4-6 times a day, meaning that the annual expenditure for an incontinent man using pads could be as high as $4,402. Because absorbents aren’t covered by insurance, these costs are borne almost exclusively by the individual user.
So I understand the impulse to try and make your pad last a little longer and to save a little of that money. But sadly diapers are generally only designed to absorb around 16 ounces of fluid in a single episode and most do very poorly during a second urination.
In an amusing 2008 article, Slate contributor Justin Peters tested 6 different diaper brands for absorbency, wearability, longevity and style. His experiment led him to make a couple of recommendations that I wanted to share below.
#1 - Generic is a bad idea!
“Store brands are for the sad soul who is both incontinent and destitute, and for nobody else. Conventional wisdom says that any savings that may result from using generic personal-hygiene products are subsumed by the discomfort that users must endure. This is doubly true for generic adult diapers. Unless you are impoverished, or a masochist, there is no reason to go generic. The savings are minimal, and so is the quality.”
#2 - A Diaper Should Never Be Memorable.
“My experience with Kroger was particularly memorable, which isn't a good thing when it comes to diapers. They were about as absorbent as a drainpipe, sagging under the weight of the water and leaking like Daniel Ellsberg. Eventually I consumed enough liquor to muster the courage to wear them wet. Unfortunately, consuming all that liquor also mustered enough urine to make the testing process one of the more unpleasant experiences of my life. The diaper swelled until it could swell no more, at which point streams of urine began running down the sides of my legs.”
“Even though I had locked myself in a bathroom to perform the test, I still feel unaccountably ashamed, as if God were laughing at me—a feeling made worse by my inability to exit the diaper. The Kroger diaper features quick-release strips on its sides so that wearers can rip the sides for a quick and easy exit. But the strips didn't immediately rip, and I just stood there stymied for a few seconds, tugging ineffectively at a wet adult diaper and feeling as if there must be easier ways to make a living. Afterward, I headed directly to the shower.”
#3 – One size fits all doesn’t.
“I also tested the [Depends] Super Plus Absorbency Adjustable Underwear variety (now with worry-free odor control!), which looked and felt like a cut-rate codpiece. While it was comfortable and largely itch-free, the main problem was that the garment didn't fit. It is undoubtedly difficult to make a one-size-fits-all adult diaper, but I fell squarely inside the L/XL size according to the chart on the box, and I could have fit another person in these briefs. (This is speculation: I did not attempt this.)”
#4 – The super-absorbency label is meaningless.
“Like Depends, Attends was functional, but its performance certainly wasn't great. Attends was the most comfortable domestic diaper when it came to long-term wear, but that's sort of like saying that first-degree burns are the best kind of burn. While, like a Depends, it held about 16 ounces of liquid before structural integrity was breached, it certainly did not live up to its expected absorbency. A basic Attends brief promises to hold about 15 ounces of liquid; you would expect that the Super Plus Absorbency variety would exceed that capacity. It did not, which is no big surprise.”
The conclusion of his personalized testing was the realization that: “adult-diaper manufacturers are sort of bastards.” Knowing what I do about the instances of diaper rash, urinary tract infections and the embarrassment factor of adult diapers, I think he has a point.
It always strikes me when I read something like this, I wish more people knew about the better options that were available for men with incontinence. Men's Liberty is discreet, dignified and dependable which is more than you can say about the diapers Justin tested...
For the full story, click here: http://www.slate.com/articles/life/geezers/2008/09/whats_the_best_adult_diaper.2.html
For more information on adult diaper complications, click out our recent post: What Adult Diaper Companies Don’t Want Men to Know…