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Incontinence Support Blog

Spinal Cord Injuries and Incontinence

Posted by Mens Liberty

Dec 28, 2017 6:03:47 PM

Urination is accomplished via communication between the brain and the urinary system. That system is comprised of the kidneys, bladder, ureters, urethra and sphincter muscles. Signals between the urinary system and brain must pass along the spinal cord. When injury disrupts this system of communication, the result is incontinence.

How spinal cord injury (SPI) leads to incontinence

Involuntary responses continue after SPI. For example, the kidneys continue to make urine and, that urine travels into the ureters and urethra. No communication between the brain and urinary system is needed.

Voluntary responses do not continue after SPI. The brain must work with the sphincter muscles and bladder to recognize urge and fullness sensations. When this communication is disrupted the bladder may empty spontaneously (accidents) or it may not empty at all. If the bladder does not empty, there is a risk of distention. The bladder stretches to accommodate higher volumes of urine. Bladder muscle tone is negatively impacted. There is also risk of reflux action; a life-threatening condition in which urine travels back into the kidneys and ureters.

Managing incontinence

It is important to work with your healthcare provider to manage incontinence. Doing so will greatly add to your quality and enjoyment of everyday life. Your doctor can help you understand about the latest surgical options, so you can make informed decisions based on your individual needs and goals. You may also want to try therapy and /or medication to manage incontinence.

Men’s Liberty offers another option. If you are considering an external collection system, our innovation answer might be right for you. Unlike traditional external catheters, Men’s Liberty attaches only to the head of the penis. It directs urine away from the skin to protect against irritation and infection.  

We designed Men’s Liberty to be an anxiety free incontinence management system. Travel, sleep, work or even exercise without fear of accidents or leaks. You get up to 24-hours of dependable protection against embarrassing accidents.

Give us a call with your questions. Maybe you are considering our collection system for exclusive use or as part of your overall incontinence management plan. We can help you decide if Men’s Liberty is right for you.

Tramautic Brain Injury and Incontinence

Posted by Mens Liberty

Dec 19, 2017 11:00:18 AM

 

We don’t often think about it unless there is a problem. But urinating is a complex process. In addition to the involvement of the urinary system, the brain stem, spinal cord and cerebral cortex support this function. Voluntary and involuntary muscles are also recruited to hold urine and empty the bladder. Traumatic brain injury leads to incontinence when involved systems are compromised.

How the brain is involved

When urine is in the storage phase (being held in the bladder) the brain and bladder work together to sense fullness. In healthy individuals, the bladder holds the urine in until the brain signals that it is time to void (or urinate). Although the bladder may send the brain a signal that it is time, the brain can inhibit urination if you’re, say, stuck in traffic until it is convenient.

Once the brain sends a signal that it is time to void, urination begins until the bladder is empty.

TBI and UI

Urinary incontinence is quite common with traumatic brain injury, particularly in the first several weeks. Injury to the frontal lobes causes loss of cortical control of urination. Without management or treatment, leaks and accidents occur.  Urinary retention, or difficulty emptying the bladder, can also result from traumatic brain injury.

Urinary incontinence

Traumatic brain injury can disrupt communication between the brain and bladder. TBI related damage to bladder perception and sphincter control essentially does away with or extends the storage phase. Urination happens involuntarily, almost as soon as it enters the bladder. The bladder may empty too often and without warning or hold urine even when the bladder is full.

Rehabilitation and UI management

Your medical team will develop a rehabilitation plan to restore as much healthy urinary function as possible. Healing takes time. It is important to be patient and realistic about what you can expect. In the meantime, speak openly with your providers about how incontinence impacts your daily life.

Recent advances have made more surgical and therapeutic options available. Innovative incontinence products such as the Men’s Liberty external collection system can also free you from some of the limits of incontinence. An alternative to the traditional catheter our device protects the skin and keeps you dry up to 24 hours – even while you sleep. It’s easy to use, too.

Give us a call today to learn how we help men manage incontinence with dignity.

Safety In the ER

Posted by Caleb Bartlett

Dec 6, 2017 5:51:50 PM

About a month ago I did something I swore I would never do. I feel asleep in my wheelchair, lost my balance, and fell on the floor. I sustained a spinal cord injury almost twenty-four years ago and because of sitting for so long I developed bone density issues and arthritis, particularly in the legs and hips. So falling can be a dangerous thing. Because I lack sensation in a certain capacity I can hurt myself and not know it so it is necessary to have x-rays and a CAT scan to be certain I’m unharmed. This means a trip to the ER.

This is never pleasant for anyone regardless of their situation and if you have spent any time around the medical profession in America you know all hospitals are not created equal. Some are always overcrowded and understaffed, others dirty, some brand new and spotless, some knowledgeable, some not, it runs the gamut. If you have a rare or unusual condition like me, even the doctors themselves may be ill-prepared. If you’re on Medicare or Medicaid and your regular doctor does not have privileges what do you do? 

Today I thought I would offer a few strategies on how to navigate the world of the ER should the need arise. Below are a few tips. I hope they help. 

  1. Be clear, concise, and informative from the beginning. If you are being brought in by ambulance or just admitted by the nurse give the EMTs or the Nurses as much direct, important info on your condition. Show them immediately you can control your own care and you are extremely knowledgeable regarding your condition. If you need them to follow certain protocols you use at home for your own safety such as transferring or using the bathroom tell them. If you use a urinary device like Men’s Liberty, tell them. If you need to, ask their level of experience with your condition.
  2. Be polite, cooperative, and grateful. You catch more flies with honey. ER staff work long hours in a depressing, stressful environment. They are understaffed and underpaid. Many don’t see their families for hours at a time. They are in the business of saving lives, give them a little grace. Say thank you. Show them your gratitude and look for ways to make their job easier. A little goes a long way and if you’re in a tough spot they will go the extra mile to help you.
  3. Voice ALL your concerns. Be sure you and the doctor or doctors are all on the same page and they all have the same information. Don’t be afraid to remind them of things important to you. Don’t be afraid to ask even the simplest questions and be honest about your fears.
  4. Know your rights. If you want a second opinion, get it. If a staff member is rude and disrespectful, speak up. It’s your body and your health. Own it.
  5. Stay calm. Pain and suffering can be stressful. Going to the ER, especially with no idea what is happening can be very frightening. The more you can remain in control the better you will complete steps 1-4 and the safer you will be.

That’s all for this month. I hope it was helpful, that you only have good health, and do not have to visit the hospital. If you do, remember these five steps and you’ll recover well.

 

Thanks for reading.

Why You Should Tell Your Doctor You Have a Problem and Tips for Talking about Incontinence with Your Doctor

Posted by Mens Liberty

Nov 21, 2017 4:41:16 PM

Incontinence is a common problem affecting millions of men. But when you are among that number it feels as if you alone are dealing with the shame. Think of incontinence as a medical condition (which it is), not a personal failing or weakness (which it isn’t). Deciding to talk with your doctor can open the door to treatment that helps you manage or stop incontinence.

Talk with your doctor about incontinence

Start with your primary care physician. Be as open as you can about any changes in your urinary habits that cause you concern or discomfort. Common concerns include feeling more urgency (intense need to urinate, accidents before you reach the toilet) or experiencing small leaks when you exert yourself. Your doctor will talk with you about any current medications and your health history.

If your incontinence is caused by an infection or medication, your doctor can change or prescribe medication as needed. Talking to your doctor is also important because it will help you rule out and/or treat other health conditions such as diabetes. The bottom line is ignoring incontinence will not make it go away. It is a signal that there is a medical problem that must be addressed.

Your doctor can help

Again, incontinence impacts millions of men. Your doctor has experience with treatments and strategies that can bring relief. Technology has made a wide range of option from surgery to therapy and collection systems available. Insurance providers often require a letter of medical necessity and/or prescription for incontinence products. If you don’t tell your doctor that you have a problem with leaking or incontinence your insurance won’t approve covering your incontinence supplies. The sooner you talk with your doctor the sooner you can get ahead of the problem.

Tips for talking with your doctor

Your doctor will need a full understanding of how you are experiencing incontinence to better help you. Share as much as you can about:

  • Any medications you are taking
  • How often/much you are leaking (quantify if you can)
  • How your bathroom habits have changed (how often do you urinate, how much)
  • Are you experiencing any physical discomfort, including aches or burning?
  • Your dietary habits (do you use caffeine, alcohol, nicotine)
  • Your medical history, including any surgeries
  • What you have tried to far (for example, Kegel’s)
  • What you would like to try or have more information about (for example, surgery, diapers, catheters, Men’s Liberty or bladder training)

Although it feels like you are the only one when incontinence happens, remember that you aren’t. Your doctor has experience talking with men who have incontinence. When you talk to your doctor you get the benefit of his knowledge to determine the best options for your unique situation.

Myths and Facts about Medicare Coverage for Incontinence Products

Posted by Mens Liberty

Nov 14, 2017 5:48:19 PM

Incontinence products can be costly, so it is important to understand your coverage options. These myths and facts about Medicare coverage will help.

Medicare covers the cost of incontinence products

Given the millions of men managing incontinence you might assume pads and diapers are covered. They aren’t under Medicare part A or B. However, some incontinence products like catheters may be covered under other insurance or Medicare supplemental plans. Review your policy carefully.

I can buy the brand I want from any store or vendor

Even if your incontinence products are covered you may find that your preferred brand and/or size is not. Most people pay up to $300 per month out pocket for adult diapers or pads. If you are lucky enough to have some of your supplied covered you may be required to use approved providers or be limited by the number and type of products you can purchase each month.

I can purchase covered products even if I do not have a physician diagnosed medical condition.

To qualify for coverage or be eligible for a tax deduction for incontinence products, their use must be followed by a documented medical condition. Take care to save all your receipts so you can accurately report your expenses at tax time.

Medicaid covers the cost of incontinence products

Coverage varies from state to state. Medicaid may pay for incontinence products in your state. Related products, such as gloves, personal care wipes and skin creams are often not covered. Again, review your policy carefully.

If I don’t have a Medicare supplemental plan or Medicaid is not an option in my state, I’m out of luck.

That isn’t necessarily so. If you are a veteran, you may qualify for coverage of your incontinence products. Also, options such as Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and tax deductions may help you offset costs for these products.

Men’s Liberty offers a better alternative – our innovative external catheter is covered by over 3000 insurance plans for little to no out of pocket cost

Our alternative to the Foley Catheter and traditional external catheter directs urine away from the skin keeping you dry 24/7. It is long-wearing and dependable, too. You get up to 24 hours of discreet coverage so you can go about your day (or enjoy a full night’s sleep) without anxiety about accidents or leaks.

Our answer to incontinence is easy. Call today to see if the Men’s Liberty solution is right for you. Our product is covered by most insurance plans. If you qualify you can enjoy freedom from diapers and pads with little to no out of pocket costs. Don’t let incontinence slow you down.

 

When You Know You Will Be Leaving the Hospital In a Diaper

Posted by Mens Liberty

Nov 2, 2017 11:20:02 AM

Diapers or absorbent pads can be a temporary response to incontinence when you leave the hospital. If you have been told you may need a solution to help manage insentience prior to an operation or trip to the hospital it may be easier to explore your options now instead of trying to do it after you are discharged home with a pack of diapers.

There are a number of solutions available today and here are some of the options:

mensliberty

Pack ahead

To be sure you will have the brand and size you feel comfortable with have your own products when you arrive at the hospital. Always have more than you think you’ll need on hand. Pack a change of clothes as well as some standard personal care products, too. Remove a wet diaper or internal catheter as soon as you can to prevent skin irritation or infection.

Adjust your diet

Concentrated urine has a very strong smell. Drink plenty of water to dilute your urine and reduce odor. Avoid foods like garlic and asparagus as these also give urine a strong odor. Ask your doctor if vitamin C or deodorizing tablets are appropriate for you. Both can lessen the smell of urine. Skip citrus foods though, they can irritate the bladder and exacerbate incontinence.

Empty your bladder

Try to empty your bladder before leaving the hospital. Particularly if you are managing overflow incontinence you may want to try double voiding. To do this urinate, wait several seconds then stand up and/or change positions and try to urinate again. You can try leaning forward, pressing on your stomach or even running the water. Try to relax and be patient. Head to the bathroom at least once every two hours.

Be mindful of your seat

Your body is making a lot of adjustments. You may need to be extra careful until you know what to expect. Minimize leaks and accidents on cloth seats in the car and at home by planning proactively. Take rest stop breaks if you live more than an hour from the hospital (and mobility isn’t an issue). You may also want to use a seat protector.

Let yourself acknowledge any awkward feelings

It’s great to be going home. Embarrassment and anxiety about managing your incontinence at home may rob you of some of the joy you would ordinarily feel on reuniting with loved ones and heading home. Try to stay focused on the big picture. Incontinence often improves, and there are management products other than diapers you may be able to use. Visit our home page to learn more about staying dry 24/7, with our discreet, non-invasive male external catheter.

Maintaining Dad’s Dignity Without Diapers

Posted by Mens Liberty

Oct 26, 2017 5:51:37 PM

Incontinence doesn’t have to keep your dad from doing the things he has always enjoyed. Learn more about our easy to use, discreet and dependable system.

Ditch diaper anxiety for our worry-free option

Fear of leaks or embarrassment about odors may turn your active dad into a couch potato. Help him get back to life on his terms with our external catheter. It is fast and easy to apply. Best of all dad has up to 24 hours of dependable protection without the telltale bulkiness you get with diapers.

No more wet linen

Men’s Liberty offers an external collection system for peace of mind day and night. Dad can sleep comfortably without worry of soiling the bed. No more extra loads of laundry to wash and no more middle of the night changes. Our innovative technology provides long wear so everyone can get some rest.

Give dad back some privacy

Frequent diaper changes can be awkward, frustrating and embarrassing. With Men’s Liberty dad is protected up to 24 hours, giving him more freedom and caregivers more flexibility. Our product directs urine away from the skin so dad stays dry, too. That means less need to deal with rashes and skin irritation that come from diapers.

Millions of men are impacted by incontinence every year. Whether the incontinence is related to an injury or health issue, men want to be able to manage it with as much dignity and ease as possible. Your dad, too. Talk with his healthcare provider and explore the Men’s Liberty option for:

• Reducing embarrassing touch – a serious illness or injury may require your dad to ask for help in ways that make both of you uncomfortable. Men’s Liberty can reduce this kind of contact as it only needs to be changed once a day, eliminating frequent diaper changes and removing the need for skin protection creams.

• Remaining comfortable and dry at night – waking up wet can be frustrating and humiliating. Staying dry is possible with our external collection system.

• Eliminating accidents – enjoy the things you used to do together without packing extra clothes and diapers. Revel in moments of togetherness without the disruptive dash to the bathroom or changes.

Incontinence need not loom over every minute of the day. It is still possible to enjoy life without the constant anxiety it can bring. Our easy to apply system is covered by Medicare and most private insurance plans, and will give dad back his freedom and preserve his dignity. When dad doesn’t have to worry about odor or wetness he will feel more like himself. That is important to both of you.

 

 

Myths and Facts About Medicare Coverage for Incontinence Products

Posted by Mens Liberty

Oct 24, 2017 5:05:35 PM

Myths and Facts about Medicare Coverage for Incontinence Products

Incontinence products can be costly, so it is important to understand your coverage options. These myths and facts about Medicare coverage will help.

Medicare covers the cost of incontinence products

Given the millions of men managing incontinence you might assume pads and diapers are covered. They aren’t under Medicare part A or B. However, incontinence products may be covered under other insurance or Medicare supplemental plans. Review your policy carefully.

I can buy the brand I want from any store or vendor

Even if your incontinence products are covered you may find that your preferred brand and/or size is not. You may be required to use approved providers or be limited by the number and type of products you can purchase each month.

I can purchase covered products even if I do not have a physician diagnosed medical condition.

To qualify for coverage or be eligible for a tax deduction for incontinence products, their use must be followed by a documented medical condition. Take care to save all your receipts so you can accurately report your expenses at tax time.

Medicaid covers the cost of incontinence products

Coverage varies from state to state. Medicaid may pay for incontinence products in your state. Related products, such as gloves, personal care wipes and skin creams are often not covered. Again, review your policy carefully.

If I don’t have a Medicare supplemental plan or Medicaid is not an option in my state, I’m out of luck.

That isn’t necessarily so. If you are a veteran, you may qualify for coverage of your incontinence products. Also, options such as Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and tax deductions may help you offset costs for these products.

Men’s Liberty offers a better alternative – our innovative external catheter

Our alternative to the Foley Catheter and traditional external catheter directs urine away from the skin. It is long-wearing and dependable, too. You get up to 24 hours of discreet coverage so you can go about your day (or enjoy a full night’s sleep) without anxiety about accidents or leaks.

Our answer to incontinence is ease. Call today to see if the Men’s Liberty system is right for you. Our product is covered by most insurance plans. If you qualify you can enjoy freedom from diapers and pads with little to no out of pocket costs. Incontinence doesn’t have to slow you down.

8 Tips for Managing the Stress of Caregiving

Posted by Mens Liberty

Oct 18, 2017 5:01:11 PM

 

Caregiving often means a significant shift in the relationship with the person for whom care is being provided. That means big adjustments. In addition to the time and physical demands required, you must also learn to cope with changes to virtually every facet of your daily life. To say caregiving can be stressful is an understatement. But it can also be rewarding with the right approach and support. Try these tips for less stress and more reward with caregiving.

1. Keep growing

Protect your sense of self by actively seeking out opportunities to learn and do new things or old hobbies. Guilt and/or demands on your time may make it seem that finally going back to school or training for that 5k is impossible – it isn’t. Prioritize your time and ask for help.  Go as slowly as you need to. Making (and honoring) this commitment to yourself can be restorative. You will bring more emotional energy and patience to caregiving when you also take time to care for yourself.

2. Live by your own expectations

Most everyone will have an opinion about what your caregiving should look like. You may also compare yourself to other caregivers you know. Remember that every person and situation is different. One way is not necessarily better than another or an indication of how much you love the person needing care. As the song says, you can go your own way.

3. Take care of your health

Especially if you are caring for someone that has many appointments you may miss tests and exams you need. Visit the dentist and doctor regularly. Sit down for balanced meals and aim for 7 to 8 hours sleep (in a row) daily. You won’t be helping anyone if your health declines.

4. Join a support group

Look for online or in person groups of people that give you the space and support to be honest. You will have good days and bad days, and it is important to be able to say that to someone out loud without fear of judgement.

5. Be curious

Your relationship has likely undergone some significant changes. Be open to new ways of enjoying time together.

6. Practice mindfulness

Noticing what is happening in the moment provides more chances to appreciate the small daily joys we usually overlook or take for granted. Mindfulness can help you pay attention to how much you enjoy a nice breeze, cup of coffee or your loved one’s smile. Slow down and breathe deeply throughout the day.

7. Learn about resources

Use supportive services such as home health aides, respite care and day programs. One way to manage the stress of caregiving is to surrender your superhero cape. You will need help and must give yourself permission to ask for and accept it.

8. Understand your options

There are so many types of products to help make your job a little easier. Take time to research options that could work best for your loved one. For example, if they are struggling with incontinence they have the option of using diapers, internal or external catheters, pads or urinals. Diapers have to be changed up to five times a day and are not covered by insurance costing up to $300 per month, where some of the other solutions can be changed daily and covered up to 100% by insurance. Each option has pros and cons so take the time to figure out what might work best for your situation. 

Caregiving can be both stressful and rewarding – it need not be 100% stressful. Remember to recognize and respond to your own needs, ask for help and find new ways to connect with the person for whom you are providing care. You’ve got this.

Dealing with Cancer and Incontinence After Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

Posted by Mens Liberty

Oct 13, 2017 3:10:55 PM

Dealing with Cancer and Incontinence After Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

The National Cancer Institute estimates that more than 3 million men were living with prostate cancer in 2014 (the most recent year for which stats are available). This type of cancer is most common in men in the United States, after non-melanoma skin cancer. Some treatments for prostate cancer can lead to incontinence. Men’s Liberty has been providing products to help men manage incontinence since 2006, with over 4 million units sold to men to help them live their life with dignity and minimal disruption.

Incontinence

Types of incontinence include accidental leakage of urine or stress incontinence. You may experience unintended dribbling with laughing, coughing or exertion such as during lifting or exercise. Stress incontinence is the most common. One way to manage it is to empty your bladder frequently. Avoid waiting too long between bathroom visits because the muscles that hold urine in the bladder can weaken with prostate cancer and treatment.

Overactive bladder or urge incontinence is another type. Here you may experience a strong urge to urinate, even when the bladder is not full. This type of incontinence is common with prostate infection or irritation of the bladder. Because the bladder is unable to hold urine you may experience urinary frequency or unintentional release, which can occur at any time, even during sleep.

Overflow incontinence is the type of incontinence associated with difficulty emptying the bladder. Common causes are scar tissue, blockage or weakened bladder muscles. The bladder simply can’t move the urine out. Reduced urine stream and leakage may occur.

Grab the bull by the horns

Incontinence is inconvenient, but it does not need to be totally disruptive. It is a pervasive health issue that impacts millions of men. Incontinence is best dealt with head-on.

First, acknowledge whatever feelings you have about being diagnosed with prostate cancer and dealing with incontinence. You may feel disappointment, frustration, anger, a shifting sense of self…understand that whatever you are feeling is normal.

Next, talk to your health care provider. Sometimes there are things you can do, such as lose weight or quit smoking – both reduce stress and irritation on the bladder. You can modify your diet. Alcohol, caffeine and citrus can also irritate your bladder and exacerbate incontinence. Often men find themselves frustrated by incontinence, but you can shift your focus to what you can do. Researchers and doctors are learning more about prostate cancer and managing incontinence. Explore the latest treatment modalities and responses with your health care provider. Being proactive about your health, treatment plan and recovery can help you feel more in control.

 You can count on Men’s Liberty, too. We offer an innovative incontinence solution that helps you stay dry 24/7, only needs to be changed once a day, and makes it easier for you to live your life with dignity and minimal disruption.