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Incontinence Support Blog

Understanding Incontinence is Your Best Defense

Posted by Andy Orrell

Jul 14, 2016 12:00:37 PM

There are some unbelievable stories that float around concerning urinary incontinence. I like to term these stories, “Incontinence myths." I’ll do my best to explain the difference between incontinence myths and true facts, as believing the myths can harm your ability to deal effectively with you urinary incontinence.

The first story I hear all the time is that people who have incontinence have small bladders. Not true…that’s one of those incontinence myths. We’re all born with a normal sized bladder, which is the correct size for our body. Because you may urinate often, you may think your bladder is too small and therefore fills up quickly, resulting in the urge to urinate. Forget that logic…your bladder is not too small. The only exception to a normal sized bladder, which we are all born with, is if someone has had bladder surgery to purposely reduce the size of the bladder. But this is an anomaly. So forget about the small bladder syndrome…it’s a myth.

The second story I hear often is that to stop incontinence you need to cut back on drinking liquids. This theory also falls in the category of incontinence myths. If you suffer from incontinence you may be tempted to drink less, but this can make the urine more concentrated, aggravating the bladder and making it more active. The very best advice is to drink moderately in small amounts throughout the day rather than gulping large cups of liquid at one time. A good rule of thumb is if you’re thirsty or if your lips are dry, drink. If you’re not thirsty, don’t drink. Pretty simple. Get in the habit of sipping water between meals to get your liquid requirement for the day. Remember, drinking less liquid than your body requires can lead to dehydration. Truly a myth!

This story I just heard the other day. A good friend of mine honestly believed that incontinence affects only old people. Again, this is another incontinence myth. Incontinence is actually very common. One in eight men experience incontinence at some point in their lives. Incontinence affects more people under the age of 53 than over. Incontinence is not a normal part of aging…and aging alone does not cause incontinence. Dispel this myth!

Another one of the many incontinence myths I hear all the time is that Kegal exercises only work for women. Kegel exercises certainly work for men and are just as effective for men as they are for women. Regular Kegel exercises can prevent and, in some cases, even reverse incontinence. It is important that one learns how to do Kegel exercises correctly. Once learned, it is recommended that they be done on average three times each day. If you follow that exercise regimen, you should see improvement because you will be strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, which keep the bladder from dropping.

The final and most upsetting myth I hear from people is that the only way to treat incontinence is to wear unsanitary diapers or dangerous condom catheters. This is a major falsehood. I believe, as do the thousands of our satisfied customers, that the better solution is the Men’s Liberty.

Men’s Liberty is made from BioDerm’s proprietary medical adhesive, hydrocolloid, that creates a secure, skin friendly seal around the urinary opening to ensure that all urine caused by leakage is collected in a small pouch that hides discreetly in your pants. Simpler, better, and definitely safer than the alternatives.

BioDerm provides an excellent training program for application and use of the product. Another benefit is that Medicare helps pay for the Men’s Liberty external catheters; Medicare does not pay for diapers or absorbents that you purchase from your local drugstore.

Call our care team today at 1-800-814-3174. They are here to help you.

Topics: customer care, medical research, diaper alternatives, Health Literacy, incontinence

The Ugly Truth About Diapers

Posted by Mens Liberty

May 10, 2016 1:55:47 PM

 

It’s been a while since we talked about diapers…  Truth is, many of our clients find us due to all the horrible side effects created by wearing disposable adult diapers.

Earlier this week, I asked one of my assistants to give me a handful of facts regarding diapers – beginning with the environmental impact of disposable diapers.

Do you have any idea how many disposable diapers are dumped into United States landfills each year?  This is shocking!  The Environmental Protection Agency reports that about 20 BILLION diapers are dumped into our landfills each year!  20 BILLION!!

That accounts for 3.5 million tons of waste each year!  That’s 7 BILLION tons of waste!

Have you ever wondered how many trees are lost each year, just for the manufacture of disposable diapers?  How about 200,000 trees EACH YEAR.  The average tree farm has 400 seedlings per acre (SPA), so that equals 500 acres per year.

Now 500 acres might not sound like very much, but think about it like this…  500 acres is the equivalent of 227 city blocks!

It also takes 3.4 billion gallons of fuel oil every year to make diapers.  Bottom line – disposable diapers use 20 times more raw materials, 2 times more water, and 3 times more energy to manufacture than what it takes to manufacture cloth diapers.

Bottom line:  Besides depleting tons and tons and acres and acres of our precious natural resources, manufacturing disposable diapers also utilizes a massive amount of energy sources that are non-renewable.

One final environmental factor:  Landfills.  Diapers do not degrade well in landfills for one very simple reason – they need to be exposed to oxygen and sunlight to decompose.  Because they’re typically buried, it takes the average disposable diaper right around 500 years to decompose.

Researchers are now discovering that our groundwater is being contaminated by the millions of tons of untreated waste, and that’s not taking into consideration the potential viruses inside those diapers.  That’s enough about disposable diapers environmental impact.

Let’s talk about something a lot more personal – the horrible side effects that we’ve seen and heard about from our Men’s Liberty clients who formerly wore men’s diapers.

Diaper Prices:  Very simply, have you seen the price of adult diapers?  We figured Walmart might have just about the lowest price out there, so here’s how it works out:  36 “maximum absorbency men’s diapers are $15.74.  That’s 43.7¢ each.

Most of our clients tell us they were wearing an average of 5 diapers / day prior to discovering Men’s Liberty.  At 5 diapers per day, that’s 150 diapers per month – basically 6 boxes.  That’s right around $90 per month in disposable diapers.

And here’s one more thing – most insurances don’t cover the cost of diapers.  But they DO COVER THE COST OF MEN’S LIBERTY!

Laundry:  No doubt about it – with diapers, there WILL BE LEAKS.  That means increased laundry expenses.

Shame and embarrassment:  With diapers, it’s not a matter of IF, it’s a matter of WHEN…  There’s leaks and ODORS, neither of which are your friends.  With Men’s Liberty – no leaks and no odors.

Leaks and odors are the number 1 and number 2 factor for such drastic lifestyle changes in men wearing diapers.  As a result of those horribly embarrassing leaks and odors, some men literally become housebound, choosing never to leave the home again…  This is a horribly sad fact.  Yet…

One simple device is literally changing people’s lives – Men’s Liberty.  If you haven’t looked into Men’s Liberty, please, please, please - call our care team now!  800 814-3174

Inconvenience:  Who knows when we have to change our diapers?  It makes being out in public quite problematic.  Plus, who wants to carry spare diapers everywhere they go?

Skin problems:  When something moist or wet stays against our skin, rashes are guaranteed.

Constant exposure to moisture can cause skin breakdown, and rashes are just the beginning…  What about yeast infections, urinary tract infections, pressure ulcers, and on and on?

The Solution:  I think by this point, we’ve proven that adult diapers are not anywhere close to a solution.  Men’s Liberty is a much healthier option for managing men’s urinary incontinence – WITHOUT ALL THE COMPLICATIONS.

Call our care team today!  We’re here to help you in every way possible!  800 814-3174

Topics: diaper alternatives, Health Literacy

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas… with Men’s Liberty 2015

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Dec 24, 2015 10:00:00 AM

'Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the store

Not an item was discounted, not even a drawer;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were waiting all snug in their threads,

While visions of X-boxes danced in their heads;

And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled down for a Christmas shopper’s nap,

When up on the riser there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the line to see what was the matter.

Up to the display I flew like a flash,

Tore past the elves and knocked down the sash.

The lights on the piles of the fake-plastic snow

Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so sluggish and thick,

I knew it must be the mall’s incontinent St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his options they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, Foley! now, Texas! now, Tena and Depends!

On, Condom! on Corman! on, Poise and Attends!

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

So up to the mall-top the coursers they flew,

With the sleigh full of pee, and St. Nicholas too.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the hall a new St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all burnished with ashes and soot;

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

He had a broad face and a little round belly,

That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his crown,

Gave me to know there was a better option in town;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his seat,

And welcomed the children; who asked for a sweet,

Calling me closer, he told me his quest,

‘Forget about diapers, opt for the best;

‘Men’s Liberty’s the key to sitting for hours,

No leaks at all and no more wet trousers!


And I heard him exclaim, ‘ere we walked out of sight,

 "Merry Christmas to all, and to all a dry-night."

 

Topics: urinary management, bladder control, diaper alternatives

Defeating Stigma in Healthcare Award for 2013: Rick Rador, MD

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Sep 16, 2013 9:19:00 AM

We're thrilled to get to share some news from the Simon Foundation for Continence.  They recently announced Rick Rader, MD, as the 2013 Defeating Stigma in Healthcare Award recipient. Dr. Rader is the Director of the Morton J. Kent Habilitation Center at the Orange Grove Center (Chattanooga, TN), a nationally known community agency supporting the needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Rick Rader, MD, as the 2013 Defeating Stigma in Healthcare AwardRader was presented the Defeating Stigma in Healthcare Award at a Black Tie Gala April 12th in Chicago. The Gala marked the conclusion of a year-long celebration of the 30th anniversary of the founding of The Simon Foundation for Continence in 1982. This event attracted an international audience of guests, including participants from Japan, Australia, Denmark, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada, England, Sweden, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, and Israel along with individuals from throughout the USA.

“Our organization was delighted to surprise and honor Dr. Rader for his tremendous efforts to reduce stigma in healthcare with the 2013 Defeating Stigma in Healthcare Award. Stigma negatively impacts the quality of life of individuals with conditions such as cancer, AIDS, and incontinence; conditions that sadly yet today, cause so many to fear being marginalized by society. It is impossible to overestimate the impact of stigma,” stated Cheryle Gartley, President and Founder of The Simon Foundation for Continence.

Dr. Rader trained as an internist and is a medical futurist, responsible for the creation of innovative healthcare programs addressing the challenges of aging in the marginalized population he serves. He lectures frequently on stigma and its impact on healthcare access for compromised and underserved patient populations. Dr. Rader’s outreach includes: Editor-in-Chief of Exceptional Parent Magazine; over 300 articles published in the arena of disabilities; past president of the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry; consultant to four Surgeon Generals; adjunct Professor of Human Development at the University of Tennessee; an appointment to the National Academy of Practice in Medicine as a Distinguished Practitioner; Founding President of the American Association on Multi-Sensory Environments; Emeritus Advisor to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality at the US Department of Health & Human Services in the area of Healthcare Innovation; and co-founder of Label Me Not, an organization working to defeat stigma.

In accepting the Defeating Stigma in Healthcare Award, Dr. Rader, who began his career as a medical anthropologist, told the audience that the stigma he observed as an anthropologist led him to his career in medicine. Stated Rader: “According to Goffman, [sociologist] stigma spoils an individual’s identity; and in doing so it also robs him/her of their visibility. It is this rendering of a person’s invisibility that relegates them to injustice and often removes them from mainstream healthcare. The medical, nursing and therapy community is often the worst offenders. This award from the Simon Foundation is greatly appreciated and is deserved by all of us in the daily throes of supporting and protecting vulnerable individuals. It serves to inspire me to work harder, work longer and work smarter along with my colleagues in the defeat of misguided healthcare stigma.”

Congratulations Dr Rador, and thank you for all your work!

Eliminate the Stigma  of Incontinence

Topics: healthcare professionals, diaper alternatives

Seniors reusing incontinence products!

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Aug 15, 2013 11:55:00 AM

It seems that US Seniors aren't exactly alone in not having their incontinence products (i.e. diapers) covered by the government or insurance. It's the same situation in our northern neighbour, Canada.

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.

But in Canada, Jack O'Neill is on a mission to change all that.

Orange Line

Jack O'NeillPORT COLBORNE - Jack O’Neil is disgusted that low-income seniors are forced to put their dignity aside to feed themselves.

The longtime seniors advocate says some seniors on fixed incomes in Port Colborne have to choose between buying groceries or incontinence products.

“Depending on the level of incontinence, people can spend more than $150 a month on these things,” he said.

“I know some people try to use them again or even wash them and it’s not healthy.”

O’Neil met with Welland MPP Cindy Forster Monday morning to deliver a petition with more than 1,300 signatures from residents of Port Colborne and doctors from across Ontario calling for government funding for incontinence products for low-income seniors.

“I think it’s an important issue,” Forster said. “Seniors don’t have enough money to live on. Many live below the poverty line as singles and even couples. This is another example of the need for supports for low-income seniors.”

She intends to bring the petition to Queen’s Park when the Ontario legislature resumes Sept. 9. Health Minister Deb Matthews will have 24 sessional days, or six weeks, to respond in writing.

Forster, a former nurse, said trying to reuse incontinence products or leaving the same pair on for expended periods can lead to rashes, bladder infections, skin breakdowns and serious skin infections.

Roseanne Western, administrator at Niagara Region’s Gilmore Lodge seniors home in Fort Erie, said in a phone interview that almost 90% of seniors living in regional senior care facilities have incontinence issues.

“It’s just something that happens as we age,” she said. “We experience a loss of muscle tone, so (people) lose a lot of control of bowel and bladder functions. Those muscles are not as strong or working as well (as they used to).”

She said the region’s homes receive funding for the products, but she empathizes with seniors who have to buy their own.

“It’s definitely an issue,” she said. “They are expensive and it’s quite a cost for them.”

At Shoppers Drug Mart on Niagara St. in Welland a package of 16 Depends Undergarments cost $23.99. The brands Max Protection undergarments are the same price, but come with 10 in a package.

Find Out About  Diaper Alternatives!

 

Original article published in Well and Tribune CA - http://www.wellandtribune.ca/2013/07/15/seniors-reusing-incontinence-products

Topics: Interesting Articles, proactive patients, diaper alternatives, urinary tract infections

67% of Survey Respondents say Fear of Accidents is their #1 Worry

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Jul 27, 2013 10:20:00 AM

Recently, Parentgiving.com conducted a great opinion survey on the troubling condition reaching out to nearly 5,000 people who use self-care products for incontinence. The goal was to learn how you cope with incontinence and if a greater awareness about it as a medical issue has erased its stigma and prompted more people to talk to their doctors about treatment. They also asked respondents to share both their frustrations and their strategies for maintaining quality of life.

Results show that while progress is being made, there is still distress and frustration. Slightly over 70% have talked to their healthcare provider about incontinence—many of them are taking or have tried medications, and a few have had surgical procedures. For nearly 25%, incontinence is a known part of an ongoing medical problem, from MS, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease to prostate surgery for men and uterine prolapse for women.

Twenty five percent are taking or have taken medications, but less than half report that the meds help. Some can't take incontinence drugs because they'd interfere with medications prescribed for other conditions or because they just can't afford them.

Other medical conditions and costs were among the reasons some people declined to have surgery to correct incontinence. Others chose not to have it because the results were too iffy or because they felt they were too old. One respondent already had two surgeries, neither of which helped, yet three others found their surgery successful—procedures involved a sling or implanted stimulator. At the other extreme, a few respondents reported that their doctors didn't bother to suggest any treatment or minimized the condition.

A few did find help with a non-invasive approach: "My doctor sent me to a 6-week continence program with a local therapist. It's very hard to do the exercises consistently, but if I don't then the problem gets worse."

The discouraging finding is that nearly 30% of respondents have still not sought medical attention. Reasons are varied. A few people still feel embarrassed about bringing it up, even to an experienced medical doctor. One respondent wrote, "Too embarrassing to discuss, especially since I don't think there's anything she can do about it. Also, if there's a pill for it, I already take so many pills I rattle when I walk."

Others just assume it's just a normal part of old age (it's not!) or don't know that there are treatments that might help. Some feel that their more life-threatening medical issues, from diabetes to stroke recovery, take precedence when they're at the doctor's office. For a few, the possibility of yet another medication to add to their existing regimen is financially out of the question, so they just don't bother to bring up incontinence. But one person offered this advice to anyone still hesitating about asking for medical care: "If you don't feel comfortable talking to your doctor, please find another doctor."

How Incontinence Products Factor In:

Survey results offered insights into what concerns you most and how you manage incontinence:

* Fear of accidents is the top concern.
Two-thirds of respondents ranked this as their number one worry. The lack of product selection came in second at 21%. People want more product choices, which will, in turn, help them feel more secure about avoiding accidents.

* Online is the way people want to buy products.
Nearly 46% buy products online where you can get the widest selection and have anonymity.

* Absorbency is the key feature in choosing products.
An overwhelming 81% ranked this first. Information on a product's absorbency should be front and center on product descriptions, say the respondents. Comfort ranked second and the ability to buy a product online ranked a strong third at 36%, above both cost and anatomical design of items.

* Many people are satisfied with their incontinence products. In fact, 40% are very satisfied. However 44% are only somewhat satisfied—there's room for better education about products to help people find those that are more effective and the respondents had numerous suggestions for incontinence product manufacturers to improve styles.

Orange Line

The only issue I have to take with the study, is that it ignores any available alternative to diapers/pads. It focuses just on cash sales, ignoring options covered by insurance. For seniors and their caregivers, frequently on fixed incomes, this is no small thing to overlook.

So for the 60% of you who aren't totally satisfied with your current incontinence product, consider Men's Liberty. The external, non-invasive design provides security for 24+ hours, discreet shipping to your door and you can reduce or eliminate your out-of-pocket costs through insurance or Medicare coverage.

Click me

 

For full survey results: click here.

Topics: family, doctors visit, Caregiving, proactive patients, diaper alternatives

67% of Caregivers say Managing Incontinence is Hardest Medical Task!

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Jun 18, 2013 11:41:00 AM

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!

Find Out About  Diaper Alternatives!

SOURCE: Home Alone: Family Caregivers Providing Complex Chronic Care

 

Topics: Caregiving, proactive patients, diaper alternatives

The Worst Incontinence Advice EVER!!!

Posted by Sarah Woodward

May 13, 2013 11:02:00 AM

I'm officially appalled. This has to be the WORST advice for dealing with incontinence ever - “live with it. It’s just a little bit of water. Get help. And be brave."

Check out the full article here. I know the British are stereotyped as having a 'stiff upper lip' about problems (not inaccurately, I lived there) but still. No one should ever be relegated to just living with incontinence. There are so many treatment and management options that can help reduce or eliminate incontinence. At absolute minimum, there are ways to manage incontinence so that it has less of an impact on your daily life.

So, inspired by a heapful of dismay at such poor advice, I've copied Maggie's original question below and provided my own answer!

Dear Virginia,

I’m 35 and I’ve had radiation therapy for cancer and the resulting scarring means that I find it very difficult to stop leaking urine at times during the day. I really need to be near a loo all the time and as a result my life has been severely hampered. I’ve tried pads, but I’m always worried about the smell. Because I can’t go out very far my kids have to stay indoors all the time and it’s not good for them. I’ve tried every doctor, but no one can help and they just say I must “live with it”. But I can’t. Do you have any suggestions? 

Yours sincerely,

Maggie

Orange Line

Dear Maggie,

First, let me apologize for the poor advice you received from Virginia. You absolutely do not have to just "live with" incontinence, much less explain your bladder issues to friends and family to excuse having accidents on their furniture! Fortunately, several other ladies emailed in with much better advice. Still, I deal with this all the time, admittedly mainly from men, so I wanted to throw my own two cents in.

First, since your incontinence is the result of radiation, go back to that doctor. There are prescription options that can reduce the frequency and intensity of your incontinence. If they can't or won't provide better options, consider a physical therapist who can help you with Kegel exercises (to improve muscle control) or a urogynocologist who specialized in disorders of the pelvic floor and reproductive organs. You also shouldn't rule out surgical options which may be appropriate, depending on the exact causes and your doctor's recommendation.

Second, consider changing your diet to reduce or eliminate foods that irriate your bladder and increase incontinence. This includes spicy foods and caffeine. Do NOT drastically reduce your fluid intake. Your urine should be a pale yellow, anything darker and you're dehydrating your body which can do more harm than good.

Third, do regular Kegel exercises and scheduled toiletting to improve muscle control and to help train your bladder to go at controlled intervals. Maybe you need to go to the bathroom every few hours, on a schedule so your bladder gets used to the idea of holding it and builds up muscle strength.

Fourth, depending on the amount you leak, don't be afraid of pads. They're not glamorous but unfortunately they are a ubiquitous option that will give you a sense of security. You can also bring spare ones in your purse and change them every two/three hours. Great strides have been made in capturing or eliminating odor, so you can reduce the embarassment. The truth is, you're probably the only one that knows you have them on. Sadly, there aren't a lot of great alternatives out there for women (though I know we're working on it). Due to their anatomical variations, men have more options like condom catheters and our product, Men's Liberty. When we get the market with one for women, we'll definately let you know.

Last but certainly not least, take every opportunity to talk to people who are also in your situation. There may be support groups (online or in person) with people dealing with your same treatment, diagnosis or even dealing with incontinence. They're an amazing resource of truly sympathetic people who are looking for options just like you. They can turn you on to all sorts of other options that most people (including doctors) may not know about.

I hope this helps a bit. Incontinence isn't inevitable and its not something you just have the learn to live with. There are ways of minimizing its impact on your life so that you and your kids can go out and about without constantly looking our for a bathroom.

Anyone else have questions about managing their incontinence? Let us know!

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Topics: bladder control, tips from Men's Liberty users, diaper alternatives, physical therapy

The Diaper Dilemma

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Mar 24, 2013 11:24:00 AM

Diapers are simply not that attractive. And while I’ll give the manufacturers some credit for improvements in the last 15-20 years, let’s not pretend they’re exactly couture.

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 was 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.”

Orange Line

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.

So what’s the point of sharing all this? Well, it’s pretty simple – diapers are an awful, humiliating choice for managing incontinence. No one should have to deal with this kind of indignity. So that’s why we’re here. Call me schmaltzy (it’s okay, I know it’s true), but I love having a job where I know that we make a positive difference in people’s quality of life. And sometimes, I need to look at life before Men’s Liberty with humor and I like to share it. We’re Men’s Liberty and we’re redefining TMI.

What’s your story?

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Topics: urinary management, diaper alternatives

New Diaper Quality Standards Try to Put Lipstick on a Pig

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Jan 3, 2013 1:57:00 PM

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:

  1. Rewet rate – a measure of a product’s ability to withstand incontinent episodes between changes
  2. Rate of acquisition – a measure of the speed at which urine is drawn away from the skin
  3. Retention capacity – a measure of a product’s capacity to hold fluid without leaking
  4. Sizing options – ranging from youth and small adult to extra large and XX-large adult
  5. Safety – no components including additives that are listed in any Federal Regulatory Agency as being considered “unsafe”
  6. Presence of a closure system – allowing re-open ability
  7. 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
  8. 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.

Men's LibertyThe 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.
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[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

Topics: urinary management, bladder control, doctors visit, Caregiving, proactive patients, diaper alternatives