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Incontinence Support Blog

What is this OAB I keep hearing about?

Posted by Andy Orrell

Aug 5, 2016 9:16:08 AM

Over Active Bladder or OAB, as it is commonly referred to, is a term that you will usually hear or read about when the topic of discussion is urinary incontinence. Whenever you see a commercial on TV for a drug that is used to treat urinary incontinence, you will usually hear about an “over active bladder”.

But, what exactly is an "Over Active Bladder," and what does it mean to you?

OAB usually describe a group of urinary symptoms, the most common of which is a sudden urge to urinate. The urge usually comes on unexpectedly with little warning and is more or less uncontrollable. The reaction to such an urge is finding a restroom quickly. Another common symptom of an OAB is having to go to the bathroom several times during the day and at night. 

Most of the time, an OAB is the result of bladder muscles contracting more frequently than normal. Bladder muscle contraction can be caused by many factors amongst which are urinary tract infections (UTI), side effects from drugs, pregnancy, illnesses such as Parkinson’s, MS, MD, MS and other neurological diseases.

With men, an OAB is a common sign of benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), which in non medical terms is an enlarged prostate gland. When the prostate gland becomes enlarged, it exerts pressure on the tube (urethra) that carries urine from the bladder to exit…this pressure results in an urge to urinate  In addition to having an urge to go, an OAB can be accompanied by unavoidable urine leakage. When unavoidable leaking of urine occurs, an individual is considered to have “incontinence”. If your personal condition reaches the point of incontinence, it becomes necessary to take action. 

I strongly suggest that you quiz yourself to determine if there’s a possibility you have OAB. The five most relative questions to answer are given below. Be honest with yourself, when answering these five questions.

(To better clarify each question, I have offered further details below each question.)

Do you have to visit the bathroom more than 7-9 times during the day?
If you’re visiting the bathroom more frequently, and you’re noticing that some of those visits result in only several drops of urine, you may have OAB.

Are you having to rush to get to the bathroom for fear of an accident?
If rushing to the bathroom to urinate and finding that the result is a small amount of leakage, there’s a good possibility that you have an OAB accompanied by urge incontinence.

Do you have to go to the bathroom more than 3 to 4 times during the night?
This is a symptom of nocturia and is another sign of an OAB especially for men. When men have to get up several times during the night, it usually relates to an enlarged prostate gland or BPH as discussed above. Men can expect to see signs of BPH at age 50 and beyond.

When you’re away from home or at a social affair…for example, at a wedding or at the theater…do you find yourself scouting out the nearest restroom?
If you find yourself doing just that, you can be pretty certain that it’s another sign of an OAB or urge incontinence.

Are you avoiding to do things that you really enjoy doing for fear of having an accident?
If so…what’s happening is that you are actually changing your normal life style around the fear of a potential accident. Although this is likely another sign of an OAB, you should never succumb to a regression in lifestyle…that would be defeatism. which is absolutely unnecessary.

For those who find that they are, indeed, confronted with an OAB syndrome and/or urge incontinence, don’t fret, because there are several first-steps you can take that might work well for you. First and most important is that you learn how to recognize the symptoms of your personal incontinence condition. Once you understand your personal symptoms, you will be in a position to know whether or not what you are trying is working…remember…helping yourself is a trial-and-error process.

Most everyone who encounters OAB symptoms initially opt to trying absorption products such as liners or pads.  These products can cost hundreds of dollars a month and often cause sores. There is a better option. Men's Liberty is discreet, safer than adult diapers and condom catheters and can be purchased at little to no cost through Medicare and a secondary insurance.

Topics: external catheter for men, prostate cancer, insurance, incontinence, compassion, adult diapers

10 Foods to Avoid if You Have Urinary Incontinence

Posted by Andy Orrell

Jul 27, 2016 9:27:00 AM

If you have urinary incontinence, you may feel strong, sudden urges to pee, especially during the night. Eating or drinking certain things can make symptoms worse, mainly because your bladder is sensitive to irritants that can trigger the urge to go.

Paying attention to these triggers—and avoiding them if possible—can go a long way toward cutting down on sudden bathroom trips. Here are 10 types of food and drink that can worsen your need to go.

  1. You may want to reconsider reaching for hot pepper sauce at every meal or always eating sushi with wasabi. For pretty much the same reason that hot, spicy foods can make your mouth burn, it is thought they can irritate the bladder lining and worsen symptoms.
  2. Cranberry juice helps fight off bladder infections, but it can be a culprit in worsening overactive bladder symptoms. The berries' acidity can irritate the bladder, and although its diuretic action helps flush out the bladder and urethra, it will also make you go more frequently.
  3. It makes sense that if too much caffeine can make you jittery, it also can make your overactive bladder jumpy. So if you're a coffee or tea lover, stick to one cup—and be prepared for the consequences. And be aware that cocoa and chocolate also pack a caffeine punch.
  4. Like caffeine, alcohol is a diuretic and a bladder irritant. So drinking a beer is a triple whammy, because you're consuming liquid, accelerating the rate at which your kidneys are gathering water, and forcing the bladder to empty more often. If you do drink stick to a single glass of wine or liquor per day.
  5. Bubbly drinks can tickle your bladder as well as your nose. What's more, soda often contains caffeine, sugar, or artificial sweeteners—all of which are overactive-bladder triggers in their own right.
  6. Acidic foods and drinks, such as grapefruits and orange juice, can also irritate your bladder, Dr. Winkler says. But don't let citrus scare you away from other fruits, such as apples, blueberries, and pears, which provide key nutrients as well as a healthy dose of fiber. Eating fruit also helps stave off constipation, which can sometimes plague people with overactive bladder.
  7. Tomatoes, like citrus, are quite acidic. If you can't bear the thought of life without tomato sauce, some chefs swear adding a little sugar can make your ragu or Bolognese less acidic, although others argue that the sugar just masks the acid taste.
  8. Real sugar—and artificial versions such as Splenda—can worsen the symptoms of overactive bladder for some people. Even honey can cause problems. If you find that sweeteners give you bladder trouble, try to cut them out of your diet, or use as little as possible.
  9. Monosodium glutamate, or MSG, most famous as a flavor enhancer used liberally in some Chinese restaurants, lurks in other foods as well. And for some people, MSG is a trigger of overactive bladder symptoms. Luckily, plenty of Chinese restaurants are now MSG-free. If you are MSG-sensitive, carefully read the labels of soups, stocks, salad dressings, canned vegetables, frozen entrées, and foods containing whey or soy protein to make sure they are free of the additive.
  10. The adage that drinking eight to 10 glasses of water per day is good for you turns out not always to be true. So there's no reason for you to overload on liquids, which for obvious reasons can aggravate an overactive bladder. Drinking too little liquid can be a problem, too, because it can lead to overly concentrated urine, which is also a bladder irritant.

Topics: external catheter for men, diaper alternatives, incontinence

On Compassion and Being Helpful

Posted by Sam Turner

Feb 12, 2016 1:39:00 PM

When we were raising our four children, my wife became regional director for La Leche League International.  Her goal was helping mothers succeed with breastfeeding.    A doctor friend of ours and I spoke on the advantages of Husband Coached Childbirth. We also stressed the importance of the father supporting the nursing mothers.

 In 1997, with the death of our youngest son, Rob, we became members and (eventually) leaders of our local Chapter of The Compassionate Friends, helping parents who have experienced the death of a child.

Now that we are hearing impaired, we belong to ALOHA (Adult Loss of Hearing Association) a support group dedicated to helping people better understand what they can do to help themselves as they move into a world of silence.

The operative word throughout our lives has been helping.

I am impressed with Men’s Liberty’s video presentations of helpful issues.  The company is sincere in their compassion. And why should they not be?  Wendy speaks from the heart… Not once have I felt like she was "pushing" their product just to improve sales.  That is what I meant when I said (some months ago) that if I helped one person, it would be worth it. The staff is dedicated to helping men have an easier life with their incontinence. How many women do you know who speak openly and frankly about helping men understand the problems with incontinence?

When I received my first set of Men’s Liberty External Catheters, I was not inclined to discuss them with anyone, not even my wife. However, I wrote to members of the company with questions. The staff of Men’s Liberty, from Customer Care Representative Tony, to Wendy, to Sarah have all been prompt in responding to my concerns. They are truly dedicated to helping their clients.  

That’s what this corporate family is all about: helping us stay healthy by continually providing up-to-date information on current issues.  For me, it started out by switching from absorbents to external catheters.  Most recently, it is Wendy’s one hundredth video blog: Sneaky Causes of Urinary Tract Infections. Some of the information might surprise you. 

As Wendy says: “Stay healthy.”


Topics: external catheter for men, Guest Blogs, compassion

Reducing the Stigma of Incontinence

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Mar 10, 2013 9:27:00 AM

Cheryl GartleyWe’ve talked quite a bit about how to talk about incontinence and the importance of addressing the stigma of incontinence in society. Incontinence is a symptom of a medical issue, not a standard part of life, no matter your age. So we’re thrilled to share the article below from the Mundelein Review!

They interviewed our pal, Cheryl Gartley, CEO of the Simon Foundation for Continence! See full article here: http://mundelein.suntimes.com/opinions/17855744-598/taking-stigma-off-incontinence.html

Orange Line

Watching daytime TV, and all of the commercials for incontinence products, one might think that incontinence is a normal part of life and aging.

While television commercials do help in decreasing the stigma attached to incontinence, it is still a very sensitive subject and experts say that is not something that individuals should just live with.

“Incontinence is a symptom of something else happening in the body,” says Cheryle Gartley, CEO of The Simon Foundation for Continence, based in Wilmette. “As we age there are changes in the body. That very fact can make [seniors] more susceptible to incontinence.”

Gartley says that talking about incontinence can be challenging for many people, but she believes that it is so important for seniors, and others, who experience symptoms of incontinence, to talk with their physicians so that the underlying reasons can be explored.

“Incontinence is a generic term for the way that the bladder is misbehaving,” Gartley said. “Specifically say what is going on to your doctor. Do you leak urine when you lift your grandchild or when you sneeze or laugh? That is one set of circumstances that indicates stress urinary incontinence.

“Do you have a sudden urge to urinate and it may or may not be associated with leakage? That’s overactive bladder and that’s caused by something different in the body.”

She also says that there is a lot of misunderstanding about issues relating to incontinence and the bladder. “Most people do not understand that the bladder is a muscle. They think of it as a vessel. That misperception leads to some things that aren’t good for the bladder.” Gartley said that when someone stops to use the bathroom when they do not have the urge, but are going “just in case,” it can actually create problems, rather than helping. “If the bladder never gets the chance to fill to its full capacity, like any other muscle that isn’t used, it doesn’t get the chance to do the job it was designed to do and you increase the chance of a misbehaving bladder.”

Gartley also understands that people may be embarrassed to talk about incontinence problems. She says although it may be difficult, it’s important to remember that physicians and nurses are used to these issues and they are trained to help.

Simon Foundation Logo“We’ve done work on stigma a lot in health care.” said Gartley, who started the Simon Foundation 30 years ago because of a personal experience with incontinence. She started to look for help herself, and couldn’t locate any support. Shortly after starting the organization they were featured in an Ann Landers column. A few days later they received a call from the post office: 30,000 pieces of mail from people impacted by incontinence had arrived. “The need was unbelievable,” she recalls.

The Simon Foundation just published a new book, “Managing Life with Incontinence,” to support families and individuals. Gartley says the book is unique because in addition to providing information about how to talk to doctors, family and friends and what resources are available, there are stories of individuals who actually are affected by incontinence. The Simon Foundation can be contacted online at www.simonfoundation.org or (800) 23-SIMON.


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Topics: external catheter for men

Top Tips for Pressure Ulcer Prevention from ABC Medical!

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Feb 22, 2013 11:00:00 AM

We're thrilled to be partnering with ABC Home Medical and wanted to share a blog from one of their RNs focusing on pressure ulcers - a common malady some individuals with spinal cord injuries. Check out the full blog below:

ABC Medical logo

The latest advice and helpful tip from our resident Registered Nurse.

A pressure sore is any redness or break in the skin caused by too much pressure in one area for too long a period of time. The pressure prevents blood from getting to your skin, causing the skin to die. Normally, your nerves send messages of pain or feelings of discomfort to your brain to let you know that you need to change position, but damage to your spinal cord keeps these messages from reaching your brain.

In order to prevent pressure sores, do pressure reliefs (also called weight shifting, pressure redistribution and pressure reduction) on a regular basis.

  • Pressure relief is moving or lifting yourself to take the pressure off areas that have been under pressure, usually from sitting or lying in one position, so blood can circulate.
  • When sitting in your wheelchair you should do pressure reliefs every 15 to 30 minutes for a duration of at least 30 to 90 seconds. Continue to perform pressure reliefs when sitting in a car or on other surfaces.
  • If you are unable to perform a pressure relief independently, instruct the person who helps you with your daily care (family, attendant) to consistently move you to reduce pressure over areas at risk for pressure sores.

Pressure ReliefCheck your skin, or have your attendant or caregiver check your skin, a minimum of twice a day (morning and bedtime).  Look for changes in skin color (redness or darkening), blisters, bruises, cracked, scraped or dry skin. Feel for hardness, swelling or warmth, as these may signal skin breakdown. In some areas of the body, the bones are closer to the surface of the skin, causing increased pressure and risk for sores.  

Below are some areas that the skin that is directly over bone and is at highest risk; check these areas very carefully:

   Lower back


   Heel of the foot

   The base of the buttocks ("seat bones")

   Hip (from lying on side, something rubbing, or tight clothes)

   Elbow (from leaning on it)

   Knee (from spasms or side-lying with one knee on top of other)

   Ankle (from lying on side)

   Toes and bony areas of foot (from tight-fitting shoes)

   Back of the head

Inspect areas of skin that are in contact with casts or braces twice daily.  Use a mirror to inspect skin in hard-to-see areas. Pay attention to fingernails and toenails: an ingrown toenail or cut along your nail bed may lead to a sore which can easily be infected.  As soon as you notice a discolored area, stay off the area until it returns to normal skin color.

Make sure you clean any areas in which you notice any discoloration, and keep all pressure off this area!  Wash with mild soap and water, rinse well, and gently pat dry.  Do not rub vigorously directly over the wound, as this will further irritate the skin.  If you do notice a pressure sore and if any of the following occur, you need to seek help:

  • An increase in the size or drainage of the sore
  • Increased redness around the sore or black areas starting to form
  • The sore starts smelling and/or the drainage becomes a greenish color
  • You develop a fever

If pressure sores continuously occur, you may need to make some adjustments in your day-to-day routine.  Reevaluate your diet and increase your daily exercise.  You may also need to see a doctor or physical therapist to get your seating adjusted, as sliding in a wheelchair that does not fit properly can lead to pressure sores. 


Learn More About ABC Medical!


Topics: external catheter for men, adaptive athletes, spinal cord injury

Men’s Liberty Announces New Partnership with Townsend Rep Group!

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Feb 19, 2013 9:12:00 AM

We’re thrilled to announce that Men’s Liberty is launching a new distribution partnership with Townsend Rep Group to sell our products in SCI clinics, VA facilities and rehab centers across the United States.

Here at Men’s Liberty we’re thrilled to be involved with a great company that shares our mission to provide innovative new products that can revolutionize the quality of life for people with spinal cord injuries.

Chief Strategy Offices, Wendy LaTorre said: “We’re thrilled to be partnering with this amazing group. TRG has impressed me with their professionalism, dedication and unswerving commitment to improving the quality of life for individuals with spinal cord injuries. We are confident we can work with Townsend Rep Group to grow both our businesses and expand the reach of the Men’s Liberty product!”

TRG LogoTRG Founder, Peggy Townsend said: “Men’s Liberty is a fantastic addition to our product lines targeting individuals with a spinal cord injury. We’re excited to be entering the urology market and look forward to building on this relationship in the coming months and years.”

Townsend Rep Group was founded in 2009 in San Antonio, TX. After seeing the need for medical equipment representation in other states, they quickly spread and now have many national contracts and cover all 50 states. We are constantly growing and evolving, much like the industry we're in.  For more information on TRG, visit them online at: www.townsendrepgroup.com

Men’s Liberty was developed in 2006 with the goal of solving one of the most pervasive health issues today, urinary incontinence. We are inspired by the impact quality healthcare has on the lives of the people we serve and empathize with the challenges that patients face when managing activities of daily living.  Men’s Liberty can help them overcome their challenges with comfort and dignity. By challenging industry standards, we challenge ourselves to maintain the leading-edge. More than 1.5 million Men’s Liberty units have been sold without a single reportable adverse event caused by Men’s Liberty, including UTI or skin injury. We are very proud of that!

We’re looking forward to getting started and we’ll be updating you all regularly on our new initiatives to spread the word!

Topics: external catheter for men, spinal cord injury, announcements

Meet Men’s Liberty Users Tina & Eric

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Feb 4, 2013 1:30:00 PM

We love hearing from our customers and Tina & Eric are no exception. They’ve been using the product since 2012 and it’s made a huge difference. Tina was kind enough to write us a brief letter about their experiences and we wanted to share it with you all -

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Dear Mens' Liberty,

I wanted to write your company a note regarding your external catheter product.  Your product was recommended to my family from the ALS Clinic in Portland Oregon.  Always the skeptic, the word catheter scared me a bit.

The reason this product was recommended to us is that my husband has ALS, and is unable to get up and use the restroom as needed.

It took a couple of attempts to get the product on correctly, but once it was in place, it worked out very well.  I was initially scared to tape anything in that region, but that was not a problem as the materials they used are great, easy to remove and painless for my husband.

This product has made a large impact on our lives.  The most degrading thing that my husband can think of is being in a diaper.  Your product helped him to avoid that bit of humiliation.  We were able to utilize this product so that he could attend our daughter’s graduation in comfort and without the fear of an "accident" that would further embarrass him. You could not tell he had it on through his clothes, which was a big concern for my husband.

It also allows me, the caregiver some leeway when needing to run errands, etc. 

I wanted to pass along my praise of your product as I can see many applications in the lives of men everywhere.  More doctors should offer your products, as I had never even heard of anything like this before.

The fact that this product helped my husband retain his dignity in the face of a terrible disease, speaks volumes about the usefulness of its applications.

One more note, Cory was an excellent resource for me.  In this time of tragedy in our lives, he followed up with me with all due respect to my situation.  He offered guidance on the product and a personal touch of support that you don't see often in this day and age.

Your product has been an excellent resource and you should be commended for putting it out there for people.


Tina P.

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A big thank you to Tina for sharing her experiences as a caregiver using Men’s Liberty. Do you have a Men’s Liberty story we can share? Leave us a note in the comments or send an email to CustomerCare@mensliberty.com!

Does your doctor know about Men’s Liberty? Send them some information!

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Topics: bladder control, external catheter for men, Caregiving, Patient Stories

Which Prostate Cancer Treatment is Best for Me?

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Jan 18, 2013 11:33:00 AM

Surgery Ranks as the Most Cost-Effective Type of Treatment, According to UCSF-Led Study

According to a new research published by the University of California, surgery is the best treatment for both high and low risk prostate cancers. Researchers completed the most comprehensive retrospective study ever conducted comparing how the major types of prostate cancer treatments stack up to each other in terms of saving lives and cost effectiveness.

Appearing in the British Journal of Urology International, the work analyzed 232 papers published in the last decade that report results from clinical studies following patients with low-, intermediate- and high-risk forms of prostate cancer who were treated with one or more of the standard treatments – radiation therapy, surgery, hormone therapies and brachytherapy.

The analysis shows that for people with low-risk prostate cancer, the various forms of treatment vary only slightly in terms of survival – the odds of which are quite good for men with this type of cancer, with a 5-year cancer-specific survival rate of nearly 100 percent. But the cost of radiation therapy is significantly more expensive than surgery for low-risk prostate cancer, they found.

For intermediate- and high-risk cancers, both survival and cost generally favored surgery over other forms of treatment – although combination external-beam radiation and brachytherapy together were comparable in terms of quality of life-adjusted survival for high-risk prostate cancer.

“Our findings support a greater role for surgery for high-risk disease than we have generally seen it used in most practice settings,” said urologist Matthew Cooperberg, MD, MPH who led the research. Cooperberg is an assistant professor of urology and epidemiology and biostatistics in the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Many Treatment Options, but Few Cost Analyses

Localized prostate cancer accounts for about 81 percent of the quarter-million cases of prostate cancers that occur in the United States every year, according to the National Cancer Institute. It is defined by tumors that have not metastasized and spread outside the prostate gland to other parts of the body.

There are multiple types of treatment for this form of the disease, including various types of surgery (open, laparoscopic or robot-assisted); radiation therapy (dose-escalated three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy, intensity-modulated radiation therapy and brachytherapy); hormone therapies; and combinations of each of these. Many men with low-risk prostate cancer do not need any of these treatments, and can be safely observed, at least initially.

Treatment plans for localized prostate cancer often vary dramatically from one treatment center to another. As Cooperberg put it, one person may have surgery, while someone across town with a very similar tumor may have radiation therapy, and a third may undergo active surveillance. All treatment regimens may do equally well.

“There is very little solid evidence that one [approach] is better than another,” said Cooperberg. The motivation for the new study, however, was that there are also few data examining the differences in terms of cost-effectiveness – the price to the health care system for every year of life gained, with adjustment for complications and side effects of treatments.

The new study was the most comprehensive cost analysis ever, and it compared the costs and outcomes associated with the various types of treatment for all forms of the disease, which ranged from $19,901 for robot-assisted prostatectomy to treat low-risk disease, to $50,276 for combined radiation therapy for high-risk disease.

The study did not consider two other approaches for dealing with prostate cancer: active surveillance, where patients with low-risk cancer are followed closely with blood tests and biopsies and avoid any initial treatment; and proton therapy, which is much more expensive and has already been shown in multiple studies not to be cost-effective, said Cooperberg.

The article, “Primary treatments for clinically localised prostate cancer: a comprehensive lifetime cost-utility analysis” is authored by Matthew R. Cooperberg, Naren R. Ramakrishna, Steven B. Duff, Kathleen E. Hughes, Sara Sadownik, Joseph A. Smith and Ashutosh K. Tewari. It was published online on Dec. 28, 2012 by the British Journal of Urology International. The article can be accessed at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1464-410X.2012.11597.x

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This study adds to our knowledge and will hopefully assist doctors and patients in choosing the right treatment option for them. Unfortunately, from our perspective, one key area is missing from their assessment… complication costs. Surgery is proving cheaper for many men; however, surgery comes with risks and costs that are sometimes hard to quantify.

According to the New York Times Health Guide, the main complications from radical prostatectomy are urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction. Other complications include the usual risks of any surgery, such as blood clots, heart problems, infection, and bleeding.

Urinary Incontinence. Urinary incontinence is a common complication. When the urinary catheter is first removed following surgery, nearly all patients lack control of urinary function and will leak urine for at least a few days and sometimes for months. Normal urinary function usually returns within about 18 months. A percentage of men will continue to have small amounts of leakage with heavier exertion or possibly sexual activity. If incontinence persists beyond a year, patients may require drug therapy or surgery.

Erectile Dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction after radical prostatectomy is caused by nerves that were damaged or removed during the surgery. Virtually all men will have problems with erectile dysfunction after surgery. It can take up to one to two years to recover erectile function after surgery. Because seminal glands are removed along with the prostate gland during surgery, men who regain sexual function will not produce semen during orgasm (“dry ejaculation”).

With the use of effective nerve-sparing techniques, men who were sexually active before surgery and are involved in an ongoing relationship seem to have a better chance of returned sexual function. Drugs such as sildenafil (Viagra) may help some men regain erectile function. Use of these drugs three times a week accompanied by sexual stimulation is now commonly recommended. Other treatments for erectile dysfunction (alprostadil injections, vacuum devices, penile implants) may also be options.

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What’s best for you is a complicated balancing act, weighing risk against potential reward and a good amount of wishful thinking and guess work. The men we talk to are broadly post-surgery and dealing with long term incontinence. And we’re privileged to offer them a better alternative than pads, diapers and condoms that allows them to get back to living life to the fullest.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men, with more than 250,000 new cases diagnosed each year. The only thing I know for certain is that this debate is far from over.

What are your thoughts? What was your experience? Share your story below!

Topics: external catheter for men, proactive patients, prostate cancer

5 Tips for Handling Severe Weather from Men's Liberty

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Dec 28, 2012 10:29:00 AM

With winter weather now in full swing, we wanted to share a few tips from the Mayo Clinic (and others) for people with disabilities for being safe during extreme weather.

People with disabilities may want to take extra care during the cold weather season. Some disabling conditions may limit sensory abilities and the ability to maintain body heat, so be particularly vigilant about staying warm when you are out in low temperatures.

  • Wear multiple layers of clothing, including a scarf around your neck, a winter hat, lined boots and two pairs of socks.
  • If possible, wear thermal gloves underneath mittens to keep your hands warm.
  • It’s also a good idea to carry a cell phone.

If you travel in a wheelchair, wrap a small blanket around your legs, tucking it underneath yourself or around your sides. This will help to maintain body heat. Wheelchair users may consider purchasing pneumatic tires for better traction. Another alternative is to use standard dirt bicycle tires. Use table salt or clay cat litter to clear ramps – rock salt can poison working assistance animals and also may be slippery. Remove the tires from your wheelchair and shake debris and ice off them before placing them in your vehicle. Wipe down any metal surfaces (wheelchair tire rims, walkers, etc.) as soon as possible after returning home. This will prevent rusting.

If you are a wheelchair user and unaccustomed to heavy, strenuous wheeling, be very careful when traveling through snow. The added exertion could lead to a heart attack or stroke. Freezing rain also will stick to surfaces such as canes, walkers, forearm cuffs and wheelchairs. Use gripper driving gloves to keep your hands warm and to prevent slipping.

If you use a working assistance dog, remember that dogs also can suffer from hypothermia and frostbite. Get a dog coat to place under the harness, and consider getting boots for the paws. Also, have a blanket in your vehicle for the dog.

Additional tips for people with spinal cord injuries:

    • Register with the medical or social needs registries.
    • If you receive home-based care (e.g., homecare attendant, home health aide, visiting nurse service), include caregivers in developing your plan and familiarize yourself with your homecare agency’s emergency plan.
    • If you have a pet or service animal, also plan for his or her needs (e.g., temporary relocation, transportation, etc.).
    • If you rely on home-delivered meals, always stock nonperishable food at home in case meal deliveries are suspended during an emergency.
    • Have a plan with your doctor that addresses emergency prescription refills, if possible.
    • If you receive dialysis or other medical treatments, find out your provider’s emergency plan, including where your back-up site is located.
    • If you get home delivery of medical supplies for incontinence or diabetes, make sure you have enough supplies to last 2-3 weeks; if not, contact your distributor who can make sure you have enough!
    • Develop and stay in touch with a nearby network of assistance – neighbors, relatives, care attendants, friends, and co-workers — preferably before winter storms or record cold moves in. Never depend on one person alone.
    • If you rely on medical equipment that requires electric power, contact your medical supply company for information regarding a back-up power source such as a battery. Ask your utility company if the medical equipment qualifies you to be listed as a life-sustaining equipment customer. 
    • Consider investing in a capacitor ($50-$80) – which is a rechargeable battery that is used to recharge cell phones, mp3 players and other small electronic devices. If you can afford it – there are also some comparably priced portable solar generators ($500-$800) sufficient to power medical equipment (oxygen concentrators, CPAP machines or re-charge power chairs).

But what if the emergency requires evacuation?

People with disabilities must ensure they can quickly escape their homes in an emergency. Patients in Mayo Clinic's Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation are educated about large-scale disasters, such as floods, tornadoes and hurricanes, as well as small-scale events, such as home fires.

"We see an additional need for patients with disabilities to be prepared to respond to disaster situations," says Lisa Beck, a clinical nurse specialist at Mayo Clinic. "As we learned during Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters, persons with disabilities need to consider a number of different factors, such as identifying who is in their support system, special transportation needs and what supplies to include in their emergency preparedness kits."

Beck worked with disabled patients to design patient education materials. She recommends that people with disabilities take the following steps to ensure they are prepared:

  • Practice getting out of the house quickly at least twice a year.
  • Discuss any special needs with a local emergency medical services provider.
  • Plan where to shelter, how to get there and who may need to provide assistance.
  • Prepare an emergency preparedness kit to last 24 to 48 hours, including medication lists, contact numbers, medications, catheter supplies, first aid kit and extra glasses.
  • Consider shelter and supplies for service animals.

These are some great suggestions – so whether it’s a snow storm or a hurricane ripping up your area, follow the Boy Scout motto and – ALWAYS BE PREPARED!! And I just can’t stress enough – make sure you have enough medical supplies for 2-3 weeks, you never know what might happen!


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Topics: external catheter for men, proactive patients, spinal cord injury, tips from Men's Liberty users, travelling with incontinence

An Electrifying Solution for Pressure Ulcers

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Dec 14, 2012 10:08:00 AM

New article out recently that I just wanted to share. I’m not sure whether or not to be appalled or inspired by the evil genius of this idea.

Researchers from the University of Calgary (UoC) in Canada have come up with an unconventional new method of treating bed sores. Doctors from the school have created double-padded underpants that LITERALLY shock the buttocks of immobile patients with electricity in order to simulate actual movement and prevent the development of pressure ulcers.

Patients with spinal cord injuries and other debilitating conditions and illnesses are often confined to wheelchairs or hospital beds for extended periods of time, which makes them prone to developing localized injuries on the skin in areas where constant pressure is being applied, but no movement is taking place. These injuries can take several weeks to heal, often require constant attention and intervention by medical staff and costs the US healthcare system about $11B a year to treat.

While I appreciate the need for reducing the rate and severity of pressure ulcers, I’m not sure electroshock therapy, so to speak, is the best way forward. We here at Men’s Liberty see pressure ulcers occurring regularly among the incontinent population. Incontinence has been known to contribute to the development of pressure ulcers because constant exposure to urine, for example in diapers, can cause skin irritation and compromise skin barrier function.

Common suggestions for preventing pressure ulcers include rotating patients every few hours and encouraging patients with some mobility to lift themselves or reposition their bodies at regular intervals. It’s also a good idea to move away from absorbent products for incontinence and keep your skin clean and dry.

According to Natural News, a study on the proposed electric underwear was presented at the Neuroscience 2012 conference. The study involved 37 patients who were told to wear the electroshock pants for 30 days. During this time, the pants were programmed to deliver 10 seconds of electric stimulation every 10 minutes for 12 hours a day. The intent was to simulate movement by agitating the skin. By the end of the study, not a single patient given the electric pants developed any bed sores, which was termed a success. Experts warn however, should the pants be adopted on a larger scale, patients will still need appropriate care from well-trained hospital staff.

I’ll reserve judgment for now and see how it plays out. Pressure ulcers are a huge issue among the healthcare community and maybe we need unconventional ideas to shake things up. What do you think?

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Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/037762_hospital_patients_electro-shock_bed_sores.html#ixzz2EJ8I7pXo

Topics: urinary management, external catheter for men, spinal cord injury