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Incontinence Support Blog

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.

 

Jumping Hurdles

Posted by Nurse Nicole

Apr 11, 2017 1:35:34 PM

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There is no discrimination when it comes to who “should” live a healthy lifestyle- it includes all of us, don’t you think? Declining health does not focus on one ethnicity, sex, race, religion, or age.  Sometimes declining health is a wakeup call to start making changes; however, prevention is the best solution to a potential problem. Realistically, you can spend your entire life leading the healthiest lifestyle and will still face the possibility of health problems. Like anything else in life- “just do the best you can” while taking time to enjoy each moment we have!

 Let’s talk about information based on the most common hurdles that seniors face.

1. Arthritis (inflammation of the bones)

There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, and it is more common in women than men. According to the CDC, 22.7% (52.5 million) of adults reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis, with significantly higher age-adjusted prevalence in women (23.9%) than in men (18.6%). By 2040, an estimated 78 million (26%) US adults ages 18 years or older are projected to have doctor-diagnosed arthritis.

  • Living with arthritis: Aches and pains are only the beginning of this problematic diagnosis. Use heat such as warm baths or heating blankets (which are my FAVORITE! Anyone else love the warmth of heating blankets?!) Heat helps loosen the muscles surrounding the joints, making mobility easier. You must be careful when using heating blankets persistently with Men’s Liberty because the blankets can get up to 160 degrees Fahrenheit and this could interfere with the adhesive. Low- impact activities such as swimming or cycling will also be beneficial for someone with arthritis and will increase your range of motion- it is important to stay in motion as much as possible to prevent stiffness of your joints.
  • Prevention: Although there’s no true way to fully prevent arthritis, there are some things you can keep in mind to help reduce the symptoms. Always prevent unhealthy weight gain, which causes extra pressure on your joints), take fish oil (or eat lean fish) to help reduce inflammation and pain, and of course – don’t smoke.  According to Mayo Clinic, “toxins in smoke cause stress on connective tissue, leading to more joint problems”.

2. Heart disease

Coronary Artery Disease, Congestive Heart Failure, Peripheral Artery Disease, Congenital Heart Disease are all some examples of heart disease. The CDC states that heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, with ~ 610,000 people dying in the US from it every year.

  • Living With: One common symptom of heart disease is shortness of breath. With heart disease, blood is not being pumped or circulated properly. When blood is not circulating well, it is not bringing oxygen to your tissues and oxygen is not flowing properly through the lungs. This causes shortness of breath and/or light headedness. “Heart disease” is a very broad term and involves multiple subcategories that involve different symptoms such as swelling of the limbs and/or numbness.  
  • Prevention: A few ways to prevent heart disease include: Not smoking (Isn’t this a solution for everything?), decrease salt intake, and exercise. These will all help to keep the blood flowing throughout your body and prevent you from retaining excess fluids!

3. Cancer

Such a broad, but ugly term. According to the most recent study done in the United States by United Stated Cancer Statistics: more than 1,600 people a day died of cancer in 2013. The most common cancers include skin cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, and bladder cancer.

  • Living With: Common signs and symptoms of cancer include night sweats, fatigue, significant weight loss or weight gain. Of course there are additional signs and symptoms depending on the specific type of cancer. With colon cancer, you may experience a change in your bowel movements; Breast cancer you may usually find a lump under the skin; Laryngeal/pharyngeal (throat) cancer, you may experience a significant persistent cough, hoarseness, or difficulty swallowing. 
  • Prevention: There are things you can do to help prevent cancer, but there is no TRUE prevention.  Smoking is associated with many different types of cancer. Many people believe smoking only increases your chances of lung or throat cancer, but this is not true.  According to the CDC, “People who smoke cigarettes are 15 to 30 times more likely to get lung cancer or die from lung cancer than people who do not smoke”. However, smoking is not inclusive to lung cancer and is proven to increase your chance of developing any type of cancer.

Avoiding excessive sun exposure or persistently using sunscreen/ cover-ups can help prevent your chances of getting skin cancer.  These are solely suggestions, because cancer can affect anyone, anywhere, at anytime.

We don’t have a glass ball that shows us the future and what we will be faced with. Although it is beneficial to be knowledgeable, don’t fret on the possibility of something developing.

Taking care of your health and noticing symptoms are the two most important things you can do.

Like most things in life, we jump them as they come!

~Nurse Nicole

 

Resources:

  1. "Arthritis Pain: Do's and Don'ts." Mayo Clinic, 26 Oct. 2016. Web. 04 Feb. 2017.
  2. "Heart Disease." Mayo Clinic. N.p., 29 July 2014. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.
  3. "Cancer Symptoms." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 23 May 2015. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.

Topics: medical research, proactive patients, incontinence, Nurse Nicole, cancer, Arthritis, Heart Disease

DO NOT FEAR, GET IN GEAR

Posted by Caleb Bartlett

Mar 28, 2017 1:27:35 PM

These days it seems like every news outlet, social media platform, and Lord knows what else is buzzing with speculation over what is going to happen with healthcare. Will they abolish Medicaid? What will happen with Medicare? Will disability benefits be cut? These are tough things to consider. Many people are concerned, some even terrified what will happen to them if these things become a reality, and understandably so. I certainly understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach, the situation is vast and complex. There are many, many people who simple can’t work, can’t care for themselves… maybe you are reading this and you are caregiver or family member of someone who is the victim of stroke or brain trauma. What can you do?

If history has proven anything it is that in times of great change and upheaval if people will push aside fear and work together they can find a way. The answers to the troubles of our nation and the planet are not to be found in fighting each other out of fear, but coming together in peace to fight the fear itself. Take heart reader, you are not alone. Do you need a steady, work-from-home income? Get online, read, improve yourself. Find out what is out there. Depend on yourself, not Uncle Sam. Do you have health issues that are largely diet-based? Make some changes and reduce your dependence on costly medications. Maybe you have paralysis or a similar condition, express your concerns to your doctor, connect with others like you in your community and as a group seek out an attorney who specializes in disabled rights. Maybe you live in a rural area and have a few acres of land. Get involved with the slow food and local food movements in your area. Start providing healthy food for those with greater disabilities. Speak to your local politicians. Who knows… you could start a grassroots community movement that could change the face of healthcare forever.

I believe in people. I believe in the strength and goodness of the human spirit. On the other hand, I do not believe in fairy tales or castles in the sky. Real change takes real action, and action takes work. Don’t let the years of physical difficulty take away your will and determination. I hope this message encouraged you. I believe one day in the near future I will get a headline across my news feed that reads, “Man in wheelchair redefines medical coverage for millions”.

Thanks for reading.

Topics: Spinal Cord Injury with Caleb, Guest Blogs, incontinence

Feeling Sluggish? Low Energy? Here’s a Terrific and Super-Healthy Cure!

Posted by Mens Liberty

Mar 7, 2017 11:12:38 AM

We literally take hundreds of calls daily, and one of the biggest grumbles that we hear from our clients has nothing to do with incontinence.  It’s all about how sluggish they feel, and how they ‘wish they had the energy they did when they were younger.’

You may recall that I did a video blog on a book that has changed many people’s lives

http://blog.mensliberty.com/blog/health-update-summary-of-the-china-study.  It’s called “The China Study”.  Without going into a lot of detail, here’s a quick summary:

The U.S. government commissioned a study in the late 80’s for scientists to study various population groups in China.  They postulated that a healthy diet included a minimum of 20 grams of protein / day.

A team of scientists went to China and studied thousands of people – wealthy, poor, urban, non-urban, etc.  As it turns out, the scientists had 2 shocking discoveries.  First, they discovered that there were many healthy people ingesting much less than 20 grams of protein daily.

They also discovered that the poorest populations were the healthiest.  In fact, they had less than 1% of their population getting cancer, having obesity, heart disease, diabetes, digestive complications, and on and on…  LESS THAN 1%!!

As it turns out, the poorest populations couldn’t afford to buy proteins and their diets consisted mostly of fruits, nuts, vegetables and some seafood.

And of course the least healthy populations had diets heavy in proteins.

Now before you think we’re going to try and convert you into a vegetarian, please – relax.  We’re not.  This is about gaining energy and preventing age-related disease.  And here’s the best news – some of the latest research says this is much easier than we thought.

While there’s a lot of things that are out of our control (such as our genes), the following information is something completely within our control, and is relatively easy to manage.  This follows some of the guidelines set in “The China Study”, and it’s called “Eating Clean.”

Let’s go through the 6 simple rules of “Eating Clean.”

  1. Get back to basics. The foundation of eating clean is 2 things: Making better choices and eating more foods in their natural states: unsalted nuts, grass-fed and free-range meats, whole fruits and vegetables.  Common sense.

Much of what we consume today is chemically altered with all kinds of things that we can’t spell or properly announce.

Just try to replace 2 servings of clean food each day instead of processed or altered foods.

  1. Think outside the box. Most foods that come inside a box have been processed in some manner. That means they’ve either added things or stripped away some of the food’s essential goodness.

Try to choose foods with the least amount of processing.  The closer it is to its original form, the better it is for you.

  1. Check the label. Spend a little time reading labels and seeing what the ingredients are.

Simple rule of thumb:  The lower the number of ingredients, the better off you are.  Case in point:  Yogurt.  Yogurt is one of the healthiest foods out there.

  1. Know the enemy. We all know that certain ingredients are bad for our health. They affect our blood pressure, our cholesterol and blood sugar.

Try to avoid things like high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, nitrates and nitrites, trans fats, and food coloring – especially blue 1, blue 2, green 3, citrus red 2, red 3, yellow 5 and 6.

  1. Shop smarter. Some foods have major health benefits – foods like hummus, peppercorns, tuna, salmon, grain breads, garlic and garlic powder, chia seeds, oats, fermented foods (miso, sauer-kraut, kimchi), quinoa and whole grain pastas, and of course, fruits and vegetables. If it’s meats, make it grain-fed and/or free-range.

Just like 1 through 4 – all common sense.

  1. Eat at home. It comes at no surprise that restaurant and fast food meals have more calories and fewer nutrients. It’s likely that when we eat home-prepared meals, we eat less.

Keep this in mind when preparing meals:  Simple is best.  I frequently eat a small piece of grilled fish (salmon, tuna, or sea bass) with sliced tomatoes and steamed broccoli.  It’s also quick!  Sometimes in the summer, it’s just some tomato slices and fresh corn on the cob.  Again, simple and quick!

In closing I want to tell you a story about one of my friends.  A few years ago, he almost died.  When he got out of the hospital he weighed 333 pounds.  While recuperating, he read “The China Study” and immediately changed his diet.  He’s what we call a “pescatarian” – that’s a vegetarian who also eats fish and seafood.

Since revising his eating habits and doing one simple exercise 3 or 4 days a week (swimming), he’s lost more than 75 pounds.  More importantly, he’s of course a lot healthier, and he has a ton more energy.  And get this – every couple of months, he’ll indulge in a cheeseburger or pizza or steak – sometimes all 3 in the same day!  Those are our rewards for making great lifestyle choices.

Feeling sluggish?  Wishing you had the energy levels you had when you were younger.  Betcha there’s a great solution in what we discussed today!

Make it a terrific week!  I love sharing these tips with you!

 

  • Wendy LaTorre

Topics: family, Health Literacy

Holistic Kidney Health

Posted by Caleb Bartlett

Feb 22, 2017 3:43:45 PM

 As a survivor of spinal cord injury for almost twenty-three years I have been blessed with very good kidney health. Sadly, many of those in a similar situation have not been as fortunate. I recognize that not all conditions have the same cause and not everyone reading this may have a spinal cord injury, but considering that most of the readers of this blog are using or are affiliated with the Men’s Liberty product in some way kidney health was a good topic to tackle. Kidney health starts with hydration. With the constant availability of soft drinks, energy drinks, teas, and other beverages filled with sugar and sugar substitutes that tease our brain’s pleasure centers it’s easy to think we are hydrating when we aren’t. This month I am going to give a few simple (and cost-effective) methods to hydrate properly and prolong the life and cleanliness of your kidneys. 

If you have ever cleaned the filter on a fish tank or air conditioner you know how the smallest particles can build to a nasty mess over time. As you go about your daily life the blood pumped through your body not only carries nutrients, but removes the impurities that are rejected by cells to maintain health. Bacteria, uric acid, heavy metals, salts, and other toxins make their way to the kidneys where they are filtered, drained into the bladder, and washed away when you urinate. When the body lacks the proper balance of fresh water the blood and kidneys must work harder to push those toxins out. Think about it… what moves faster through a straw, a milkshake or, well… water? So how do you get a proper hydration cycle?
  1. Give your kidneys a much-needed break. Oftentimes we are conscious about what we eat, but not what we drink. Read the label. Sugar, aspartame, artificial flavors, sweeteners, and chemicals you can’t pronounce should be removed from your diet. Coffee and tea are acidic and the caffeine they contain will dehydrate you regularly.
  2. Drink natural things. Water, herbal teas, freshly juiced fruits and veggies. If you have been diagnosed with sand in your kidneys water with lemon and cranberry juice low in sugar regularly will help greatly.
  3. Observe your body. When do you urinate most during the day? If you have paralysis, does your sitting position or laying down effect how you urinate? Do you have difficulty when it’s very hot or very cold? Share this with your doctor.
  4. Watch what you eat. Eat simple foods. Find healthy proteins and vegetables and stop fast food and snack foods like chips and cookies.
  5. Move around. Avoid a sedentary existence as much you possibly can. Get your blood pumping and moving those impurities from your body.
Kidney infections are nothing to play around with. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you need to make a lifestyle change, do it. Sure, that sugar-sweet soft drink tastes good and gives a happy feeling, but isn’t a long life and good health better that a few moments of satisfied taste buds? Best of luck, and take care of your body.

Thanks for reading.

Topics: doctors visit, urinary tract infections, Guest Blogs, incontinence, Kidney Health

5 Tips to staying Mentally Healthy

Posted by Mens Liberty

Feb 9, 2017 1:11:26 PM

I read the most beautiful article the other day. Someone had brought kittens to a nursing facility that needed to be bottle fed. “Ohhh how sweet and cute,” is usually the initial reaction when you see tiny kittens being bottle fed by an elderly man and woman. Surprisingly, it’s not something I thought into more deeply. It wasn’t until someone pointed out how much it was helping the PEOPLE doing the bottle feeding that I thought about it that way.

Here are some things we can all benefit from and will help keep your mental health on key, which can sometimes be unfairly overlooked.

  1. Apply yourself to something that makes you feel needed and independent.

Having previous experience in geriatrics, I know residents get frustrated because their hands shake, they don’t understand, something is unfamiliar, anxiety, depression, fear, and many people feel like they are such a burden. It is important for EVERYONE’S mental health (not just elderly) to find something that you can contribute to remind yourself that you ARE a useful human being. We all have struggles, and we all like to feel loved, useful, and important.

Have you ever done an activity like sewing, painting, exercising, gardening, or crocheting where you actually go on “auto-pilot” and look up to realize you got lost in what you were doing? These are what I call “freeing activities”.

  1. Find activities you get lost in that do not involve electronics. There is a difference between being fixated on something like the TV and being lost in a hobby. Try to make a habit of doing these activities at least once a week to help free your mind!

I don’t know about anyone else, but when I eat junk- I feel like JUNK.

  1. Fuel your body with proper nutrients. Know your necessary caloric intake and percentages of complex carbs (greens), and protein. With each milestone in our life or medication changes, our nutrient needs can vary.

Do you ever feel like you don’t have many people you can talk to? Maybe you feel you will be judged, or maybe you don’t really want to bother with explaining the situation so you just keep it to yourself? Keep all your worries, concerns, frustrations to yourself with no “freeing activities” or other release in between and all I can picture is a brewing problem inside.

  1. Talk. It’s so important to be able to talk about things whether it be to a friend, family member, significant other, or therapist. This gives you a chance to release any mental toxins you may have so you can feel good as new.

Have you ever been around people who are negative.ALL.THE.TIME. Okay, enough said. It’s okay to be realistic and vent like #4. It’s also even more important to do THIS.

  1. Find the POSITIVE. I can honestly still hear my mom saying this. “Look at the silver lining”. Oh, this is so true. There is also a phrase something like “whether you are looking for a positive or a negative- you will find what you seek” If that’s actually not out there then I call dibs on being credited!  If you sit and focus on the negative over and over- that is going to be what you find in situations, and that’s going to be what you spend the most time on.

Quick Question: Which statement gives you a better feeling? 

Example:  

  1. I don’t need anyone or their help in life.
  2. I have the utmost strength and ability to tackle life independently.

If I portrayed my point as anticipated, chances are that option B gave off a more positive vibe than option A. It’s because positivity was used over negativity. It’s important to look at a bad situation, acknowledge it, and then step back and look at the silver lining (or sometimes make your own silver lining.) You may have incontinence, but Men’s Liberty can be the positive in an undesirable situation.

 

Best wishes and until next time,

     ~Nurse Nicole

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Topics: family, Health Literacy

Resolve To Be Resolute

Posted by Caleb Bartlett

Jan 27, 2017 10:47:53 AM

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I am still trying to believe it is 2017. I remember when 2000 seemed a long way off. With each new year comes plans, resolutions, to-do lists, and the like as we make a renewed attempt to better ourselves and our lives. I know I do… lose more weight, pay off debts, eat better, take on a new project, sound familiar? The hard part is always following through. Mustering will power for any challenge in life is the real challenge itself. We love it when our favorite athlete scores a touchdown or gains a knockout. We cheer and shout as they seem to conquer their opponent with ease and power. What we do not realize is that victory was not won in that monumental moment, but long before, in little moments, moments when no-one was looking, no cheering crowds, no fancy uniforms, no cold drinks, no rub-downs or massages. That victory was won in painful increments, cold and snowy morning runs, sweltering hot wind sprints, blisters, bruises, broken bones and teeth, beat-downs, and even losses. Maybe even the laughter and mockery of haters, or the lack of support of family and those they look up to. These are the moments when the victory is truly accomplished.

At the risk of becoming an advice column… let’s rephrase… we call it an encouragement column. Either way you slice it, I hope you come away from reading this feeling motivated and ready to move the ball down the field of life. Maybe your reading this and you’re a new injury or diagnosis, or maybe you’ve been dealing with a physical issue for many years. No-one likes limitation, illness, or pain. It can lead to depression, tension in relationships, emotional breakdowns, and even more illness. It seems giving in to the familiar and comfortable makes us feel better. Fatty comfort foods, TV binging, and other addiction-forming behaviors can crop up, weakening us further, and providing only a short-term, superficial solution.

So this new season of 2017 I say to all of my cyber readers who may be struggling with the first step, GO FOR IT! Do you want to get in shape? Take the first step and look for a gym. Want to get smarter? Get a library card, or open an Audible.com account. Want to eat healthier? Find a nutritionist. The journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. Then… stick with it. Do ONE THING every day for twenty-one days and it will become a habit. Once a habit develops it becomes an instinct. When that change takes place those little victories become greater and greater.

Start letting your will power define you in 2017. Make it your best year yet. Resolve to be resolute in your resolution. Sound like a bunch of motivational mumbo-jumbo? Only if you talk yourself out of it. Believe, do, and move forward. I had a high school teacher who said that “Can’t never did anything”. I believe this to be true.

What’s your 2017 resolution? Do it.

Thanks for reading.

Topics: Spinal Cord Injury with Caleb, incontinence

“Prostate- what omy”?

Posted by Mens Liberty

Jan 19, 2017 4:04:25 PM

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We thought we would introduce a new voice to the Men's Liberty blog.  Meet Men's Liberty's very own Nurse Nicole.  Some of you may have already spoken to her on the phone at our offices. On the "Nurse Hotline" as she calls it.  We think she's great!

We have asked her to break down some of the basic questions we get asked, as well as some of the more common medical issues that men face. We know she is the right person to give simple, clear explainations to some, often confusing, health subject matters. So, look for more blogs and some new videos from her too!

This week she'll cover “Prostate- what omy”? 

Everyone has different reasons for incontinence, and learning to cope with the changes our bodies go through isn’t an easy task. Educating yourself, being prepared, and having the ability to laugh at life situations can work wonders with coping. A large portion of patients who need to use urinary devices have had a prostatectomy. Even though some of you are a pro on the topic now, I am willing to bet there was at least ONE point in time when you were unsure on what the procedure was, what to expect, or maybe what the next steps would be.

For those who are just learning about the procedure and would like to learn more information- you’ve come to the right place! In this article we will be learning about a prostatectomy and what it means for you and your health.

Prostatectomy is the removal of the prostate, which is located below the bladder. Many times, this procedure is done to make sure cancer cells will not remain in the body. There are different ways to perform a prostatectomy, and most are robotically assisted due to our advanced technology. The different approaches include, but are not limited to:

  1. Suprapubic: an incision is made in the abdomen below the belly button to remove the prostate.
  2. Perineal: an incision is made in the perineum to remove the prostate.
  3. Laparoscopic (Robotically assisted) : a few small holes are made across the abdomen for the removal of the prostate.  

Your physician will choose which approach is best suited for you, your body, and your health. Make sure to ask as many questions as you need to be informed- I usually recommend making a list….and checkin’ it twice!  (Makes me think of Christmastime!)

Instructions after your procedure may vary depending on the type of procedure you had, your physician, and the facility’s protocols. The hospital will give you discharge instructions on how your activity must be limited. Usually they want you to take it easy for about 6 weeks- that means no whiskey or late night clubbing! You will be sent home with an internal catheter (Foley catheter). Do not pull on the catheter, as there is an inflated balloon inside.

Unfortunately, this seems to be the most irritating part of the entire process. The good news is- it is TEMPORARY (for 1 week). It may be a nuisance, but it is necessary for your healing and will be removed when you visit your urologist.  

If you have already had a prostatectomy, you’re probably now aware of the typical side effects of the procedure. For those who don’t know, the side effects of the procedure may include erectile dysfunction or incontinence.

The good news is Men’s Liberty is here to help you successfully address the incontinence. Combine that with additional medications, vacuums, or therapies and you’ll have conquered the procedure and be on the road to a healthier you!

                                                                                                                                                        ~Nurse Nicole


 

Topics: prostate cancer, Health Literacy

The HIGH PRICE of Not Getting Enough Sleep

Posted by Phoebe Ezell

Jan 5, 2017 10:46:09 AM

Okay…  I admit it.  I know I’m not getting enough sleep.  Sometimes I jokingly call it “The 444 Curse” – I wake up every morning at 4:44.

I also have read enough newspaper and magazine articles about the horrible health effects of not getting enough sleep.  So I began my research…

Here’s some quick facts:  In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared lack of quality sleep “a public health problem.”  They report that “80 million American adults aren’t getting enough sleep.”

Researchers at the National Institute of Health (NIH) report that “more than 70 million American adults suffer from sleep difficulties.”

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports that of all patient’s health complaints, lack of sleep is number 2.  And just a few short years ago, that complaint wasn’t even in the top 5.

So what’s causing this?  Experts say that the top 3 culprits are the rising obesity rate, the unprecedented number of adults taking anti-depressant medications, and all of our electronic screens emitting a high intensity “Blue Light” which scrambles our circadian rhythms. 

Apparently, this high intensity “Blue Light” strongly emulates sunlight, thus throwing our brains off kilter, making them believe it’s actually still daytime.  Our brains have thousands of years of “pre-programming” to think that we stay awake during daylight, and sleep when it’s dark out. 

Sleep researchers report that on average, we’re using devices emitting “Blue Light” 11 hours a day.  And if you’re like me, you have a TV in your bedroom emitting that same light as we try and fall asleep… 

Brain researchers have a unique way of describing what happens to us if we don’t get enough quality sleep.  They say that sleep is the brain’s overnight “rinse cycle”, and it’s important for our brains to “flush cellular debris generated by metabolic activity.”  In other words, “the brain has to go offline during that process.” 

As many of us have experienced a bad night’s sleep, the following day results in a sluggish and diminished function – kind of like being in a fog.  That effects our memory and our mental acuity.  And as adults, many nights of bad sleep can speed up the development of cognitive impairments. 

Here’s where sleep can really affect our health:  It’s reported that some 40 million Americans have “Sleep Apnea”.  Get this – apparently 25% of all middle-aged men have Apnea, yet the majority of them have never been diagnosed. 

The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine did a study that revealed the high cost.  Those with severe apnea are: 

  • 4 times more likely to have a stroke
  • Twice as likely to develop depression
  • 5 times more likely to die from cancer

Another study found that apnea sufferers

  • Develop Alzheimer’s disease 5 years earlier than those who sleep soundly; and
  • Mildly cognitive impairments come a decade earlier

Okay…  enough of the bad news.  Let’s talk about what we can do to IMPROVE our sleep and prevent apnea and other sleep disorders.  It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the same things we recommend to prevent other diseases are the same for apnea, such as:

  • Limit your use of “Blue Light” emitting devices to less than 8 hours a day
  • Turn off all “Blue Light” emitting devices at least 2 hours prior to going to bed for the night
  • Get 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week
  • No foods for at least 4 hours prior to going to bed – especially sweets or chocolates
  • No caffeine after 4:00 p.m.
  • No more than 1 cocktail or glass of wine, and no later than 7:00 in the evening
  • Do your best not to think about stressful things when you awake in the middle of the night
  • Maintain a healthy weight and keep your Body Mass Index (BMI) between 18.5 to 24.9

And know this – do your best to get a minimum of 7 solid hours of sleep each night.

Hopefully this will give you some guidance on how truly valuable a consistent good night’s sleep for your health!

Sweet dreams!

Topics: Health Literacy