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Incontinence Support Blog

Strategies to Prevent Incontinence

Posted by Mens Liberty

May 3, 2016 11:11:07 AM

Our active readers and viewers are quite familiar with our regular science updates, keeping you well-informed.  That’s something that we’re proud and honored to do.

The subject of Physical Therapy assisting some men to overcome incontinence AFTER they’ve had prostate surgery is quite familiar.  But what’s not so familiar is this:

The subject of Physical Therapy PRIOR TO prostate surgery.  And what we keep hearing is some really great news - that researchers are reporting “positive influence” with preoperative physical therapy procedures!

Let’s back up for just a moment…  Prostate surgery is much like many surgical procedures – there are possible side effects and complications.  Due to the prostate’s location and anatomical components, the 2 worst side effects are incontinence and erectile dysfunction.  While it’s common for men to experience some leaking for a few weeks post-surgery while tissues heal, some men can experience incontinence-related symptoms for many months – or for a lifetime post-surgery.

Our pelvic floor muscles are a group of muscles located at the base of the pelvis, and those muscles help control sexual, urinary and bowel function.  If the pelvic floor muscles are weak, they can’t squeeze tightly, or contract fast enough around the urethra (such as a sudden sneeze), resulting in leaking.

Some men may experience leaking only with coughing, laughing or lifting weight.  Others may experience constant dribbling throughout the day and/or night, with increased leakage during physical activity.

Most prostate surgery patients are undergoing a different protocol at The Elliott Hospital in Manchester, New Hampshire.  That’s where patients are undergoing preoperative evaluations and instructions by physical therapists.  Clinical Specialist / Physical Therapist Lynne Assad states “The urologists at our facility are aware that we provide this service…  It’s part of the protocol that is followed in the urology center.”

It begins with a preoperative assessment where they analyze and measure each patient’s pelvic floor muscle strength.  Then they begin a program of Kegel strengthening exercises to improve muscle function prior to surgery.

Assad goes on – “I think that Physical Therapists and nurses dealing with incontinence after surgery also have an opportunity to positively influence the patients preoperatively.  In terms of the psychological aspect, particularly, I have found that the value of the surgical evaluation and treatment is significantly helpful.  It reduces the unknown and ultimately minimizes the depression and fear that comes from a patient suddenly having total loss of urinary control without understanding why.”

This makes complete sense!  And on 2 levels – physically and emotionally.  We know from study after study that many men have great success overcoming incontinence by regaining strength in their pelvic floor muscles.  I said many – not all.

Here’s the critical point on the physical level:  Why not get started on those pelvic floor muscles BEFORE surgery?!  Something to seriously consider…

And this makes sense on the emotional level as well.  Think about it…  Did anyone talk to you about incontinence prior to your prostate surgery?  Most men tell us that no one said a thing.  They had NO IDEA that their surgery could cause incontinence!

By having preoperative meetings with a team of Physical Therapists and nurses, the communication begins BEFORE surgery, opening the door for patients to do further research and discovery, and doing a much better job of preparing.

As we’ve said, over and over again – it’s not just the PHYSICAL aspects of incontinence.  It’s the societal and emotional issues as well…  The urological team at The Elliott Hospital is doing it right, and we applaud their attitudes, efforts and protocol!

Topics: prostate cancer, physical therapy, Health Literacy

Transitioning to a Wheelchair with MS: When and How?

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Aug 19, 2013 10:49:00 AM

Those with multiple sclerosis (MS) can experience mobility difficulty as the disease progresses. Among several symptoms include decreased balance, increased spasticity, sensation changes, vision impairment, muscle weakness or a combination of these symptoms, which can affect mobility.  When your lower extremities aren’t functioning optimally, you may need to seek out assistance in the form of walkers, wheeled walkers, crutches, braces, canes or even a  wheelchair. If you opt for a wheelchair, sometimes it’s a difficult decision because you’re wrestling with the perception that only severe cases of mobility warrant a wheelchair.  Not true.

The goal of using a wheelchair is to maintain safety and maximize home and community access. Several factors need to be considered when transitioning to a wheelchair.  Obviously
the first consideration is your functional status and whether you have recently experienced an increase in accidents due to muscle fatigue or loss of balance.  A second reason might be if you are self-sufficient enough to function with daily living.  A decrease in fine-motor skills and general fatigue may begin to take its toll on you, and those everyday functional tasks may not be so easy anymore.  

Wheelchair Choices

Choosing the right wheelchair for your needs can be an interesting proposition. The process begins when your physician prescribes you one. But doctors don’t always know the best and latest in wheelchairs, so it’s important to go through the selection process with someone who has experience with MS wheelchairs.  A physical or occupational therapist is the best one to ask.  They are, by far, the most experienced on the subject.  They’ll measure and fit you for your wheelchair, measure your house to be sure the wheelchair fits and compare wheelchair options from various wheelchair manufacturers.  Another option is to go to a wheelchair clinic with your therapist. These clinics have seating experts with special equipment to evaluate what kind of extra wheelchair features you may need, such as recline and tilt mechanisms, pressure-relieving cushions, brake extensions, seating systems and other accessories to help with your specific MS symptoms and mobility.

Power or Manual

MS wheelchairs have certainly changed over the years.  They are much lighter, and there mechanics are state-of-the-art. Whether you choose a motorized or manual wheelchair, the
decision should rest on your current symptoms, finances and lifestyle.  Obviously a motorized wheelchair is significantly more expensive.

  • Motorized wheelchair- If you don’t have enough strength to operate a manual wheelchair, you’ll need a motorized version to maintain your independence. Today there are a ton of choices, which are both fast and powerful. If you have significant impairment, such as paralysis, breath-activated devices are available.

Motorized wheelchairs are usually heavy, so you’ll need to consider a van with a wheelchair lift or ramp for getting around away from home. Also, because motorized wheelchairs are a lot more pricey, it’s important to see what your insurance covers for reimbursement purposes.

  • Manual wheelchair- This is a good choice if you have enough upper body strength to operate the wheelchair yourself.  A manual wheelchair is lighter and easier to transport. The lightest manual wheelchairs are made of titanium (vs. aluminum) and are often used by disabled athletes. 

Wheelchair Purchases

Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers will usually cover the cost of a wheelchair if your MS symptoms necessitate the use of one. Your physician will need to detail your specific needs for insurance approval.  Additionally, wheelchair vendors will sometimes offer financing or cover the cost, should your insurance policy not provide coverage. If all else fails, and you aren’t able to get covered for a wheelchair, you can buy second-hand models, which are half the cost, and most likely tax-deductible.

David Novak
David Novak is a international syndicated newspaper columnist, appearing in newspapers, magazines, radio and TV around the world. His byline has appeared in GQ, National Geographic, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, Reader's Digest, USA Today, among others, and he has appeared on The Today Show, the CBS Morning Show and Paul Harvey Radio. David is a specialist at consumer technology, health and fitness, and he also owns a PR firm and a consulting company where he and his staff focus on these industries. He is a regular contributing editor for Healthline. For more information, visit http://www.healthline.com/.

Topics: physical therapy, multiple sclerosis

Understanding Spinal Cord Injury with Caleb: Part 2

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Jul 29, 2013 3:28:00 PM

CalebAs I promised last month I will be sharing a bit about life with a spinal cord injury. Most of the symptoms or side-effects of a damaged spinal cord are similar across the board. Degree and intensity of these effects are determined by the factors I outlined in my last post, level and severity of trauma being key. Much of what I will share today is subjective based on my personal experience, but in my communication with friends in the spinal cord community and study of the condition many experiences are the same, if not variations on a particular set of issues.


Before I go any further please understand that many of you know me personally. Much of what I am about to discuss has remained intensely personal and only a few people know the extent of my physical situation. I will be explicit so be forewarned. This is not an attempt in any way to gain sympathy, it is simply a presentation of a very real life as I have lived it, be it right or wrong over the last 19 years.

In April of 1994 during my junior year of high school I was swimming with 2 friends in an above-ground pool in Crescent Beach, Florida. I have lived around water and water sports my entire life. My father is a surfer, an excellent swimmer, avid fisherman and sailor. He saw to it both of his sons were comfortable around water. By 16 I was a surfer as well with several large hurricane swells under my belt, more than a few Northeasters, river rafting Florida's springs and diving for conch in the Bahamas. I've had reef scrapes, fin cuts, banged my head, bounced off of packed sand bars, gotten pounded in the shore break, even dove into the shallow end, but for some strange reason on that day I caught it wrong.

I foolishly was attempting an upside-down cannonball, which is called a "watermelon". The point is to of course make a big splash. Which I did, but not quite in the way I intended. I did not clear a full rotation before connecting quite solidly with the bottom of the pool. I landed across the back of my shoulders where my neck meets my back. The sudden impact forced my neck forward so violently it crushed the C5-C6 Vertebrae. X-rays later revealed what is called a "burst fracture". This means that the spinal column became so compressed it caused the vertebra caught in the pressure point to "explode". Imagine you are holding 3 checker chips between your thumb and forefinger. If you apply enough pressure the one in the middle will pop out. This is essentially what happened in my neck.

I immediately knew what I had done. The first sensation was that my body vaporized into thin air, accompanied by what seemed like thousands of air-raid sirens between my ears. Next was the pain. I didn't know pain like that was possible. Like a hot dagger at the base of my neck shooting lightning bolts of electricity into my skull. In my field of vision I could tell I was face down, floating just below the surface of the pool, my arms floating like limp seaweed unresponsive to the survival impulses of my brain telling them to get me to the surface for air. I knew I was drowning and in seconds it could be over.

The next thing I felt was rising up out of the water. I realized my friend Jennifer was holding me in her arms. All I wanted was air. I could barely get enough because the muscles that expand the rib cage had been paralyzed along with my diaphragm which would not return without intense respiratory therapy three weeks later. I could barely speak the words "I've broken my neck..." To this day I owe so much to two very special women, April Johnston and Jennifer Tooley who acted quickly and maturely to save my life. Within the hour I was life-flighted by helicopter to what is now Shands Medical Center in Jacksonville, FL. The flight was loud and cold and only added to the intense ringing and pain growing in my head and neck. As my body went into shock I vomited up and into the oxygen mask, the contents of my stomach pouring into my ears and hair and down my neck. This happened twice. Upon landing I was rushed into the ER. At this point things became a blur of wires, tubes, scissors, clipboards and questions. Finally with the pain, now worse than ever, like fire burning my brain, I fumbled with the words, but got them out, "Please... put me out." That was it, everything went black.

I awoke 8-10 hours later in a morphine-induced stupor, wires and tubes everywhere. In my nose. In my mouth. An oxygen mask over my face. I still could not feel my body. What followed over the next three to five days all runs together. I remember many details, bits and pieces, but don't ask me to put them in order. The diagnosis was acute spinal trauma, incomplete, caused by a crushed C5 vertebra. To repair the damage bone was grafted from my left hip into my spine and my C4, C5 and C6 vertebrae were fused together using a titanium plate. My neck was stabilized by what is known as a Halo. A rather ghastly-looking device that uses a ring around the crown of the head fastened to the thickest part of the skull by four screws. That ring is in turn secured to four steel rods which bolt to a rigid vest lined with lambs' wool and worn tightly around my chest.

Because of inhaling massive amounts of pool water within 48 hours I developed a massive infection and critical pneumonia. Unable to clear my lungs they collapsed and after 18 hours on a C-PAP machine it blew a hole in my right lung. Regular suctioning left me choking and vomiting. I had to be put on a ventilator via a tracheotomy and given massive doses of antibiotics. A G-tube and J-tube for feeding rounded out the ensemble and I spent the next three and a half weeks in the trauma ward of University Medical Center. Slowly sensation began to return is various ways. It often felt like sparks, bursts of electricity. I thought for sometime,  until they told me otherwise, that I was lying in some sort of traction contraption because my spine waking up felt like I was balanced on a metal beam. Tingling and burning, shooting pains, buzzing and popping in my brain. My lungs getting vacuumed out frequently. The prognosis was that I would spend my life attached to a breathing machine, but in my unit there was a very special person who truly was one of those along the way to whom I owe my life. They called him "Trauma Bob". He was my respiratory therapist, a tough old Navy veteran who was covered in tattoos and smoked like a chimney. Bob understood that the lungs and diaphragm are muscles and in the same manner by which physical therapists could strengthen and develop arms and legs a respiratory therapist could help regain use of the respiratory system. Little by little each day he worked with me. I blew up balloons, inhaled and held my breath, yawned, coughed and all sorts of other breathing exercises. Then Bob would step outside for a cigarette. Go figure.

Years later however, I would thank God for every breath, whenever I'd get a cold or infection that would land many a spinal cord injury survivor in the hospital with pneumonia, I would think about Trauma Bob, wonder where he is, say a prayer and hope he quit smoking. I spent exactly four months in the rehab hospital of Memorial Medical Center in Jacksonville. As I slowly regained strength and rest the emotional impact of what had happened to me began to set in. I will get to that in-depth in next month’s posting, but it bears great importance here because as I began to understand the limitations of the injury the reality of what was potentially ahead of me was not something any 16 year-old should ever have to face.

One of the first sensations to return was hunger. Then I slowly acquired what is known as deep sensation. I could tell where my legs were, but if you squeezed my left foot I would confuse it with the right. Pain and burning around the injury site left rather quickly to be replaced by shooting electric impulses up and down the spine. My hips and legs felt as if they had fallen asleep and the tingly returning of blood was waking them up, only they weren't waking up and the tingling remains to this day. The moment they sat me up on the therapy mat I went white as a ghost, dizzy and vomited. You would too if you'd been flat on your back for a month.

The indwelling catheter draining my bladder was removed and replaced by a scheduled catheterization four times a day. This was done to encourage the bladder to drain on its own, something I could not regulate and control on my own and so it remains to this day. To prevent accident an external catheter is worn which is essentially a condom lined with an adhesive and open at one end that is attached to a tube, the tube allows the urine to drain into a bag concealed under my clothes. Yes, it comes off, yes you get wet, yes you must be washed, dried, changed and so must the wheelchair and its cushions. The entire process can take up to an hour and half and is still something that occasionally happens. During my time in rehab it happened as often as three times a day. Over the last nineteen years it has occurred in restaurants, the car, on a friend's rug, in church and with house full of guests over for a holiday. The next step was to regulate my bowels. One of the primary causes of disease and detrimental conditions in spinal cord injury is the body's inability to remove toxins on its own. For instance, I don't sweat. Most of my body cant tell hot or cold therefore it doesn't know when to perspire. I've suffered burns, cuts and insect bites and not known of them for hours afterward. So in the case with regulating my digestive tract an enema was administered every other night followed by a sponge bath, and later a shower when the halo was removed. That schedule continues to this day and for those of you who are thinking this through, yes accidents do happen, the various causes can be detected and prevented in the future, but yes, they happen. In the car, on an airplane, in Madison Square Garden, even during dress rehearsal for a play you're directing in college. This personally is perhaps the most difficult aspect of spinal cord injury from a mental and emotional standpoint and I'm sure the reader can understand why.

As my strength returned my ability to balance my torso became key. I have no nerve control over my core and therefore those muscles have greatly atrophied. This is why I currently have a condition called "quad belly". As the muscles that hold the inner organs in place atrophy gravity pulls the organs forward giving a somewhat beer-belly appearance. It becomes more accentuated with weight gain obviously. Back to balancing the torso... the best description I've heard for living with paralysis from the chest down goes like this... Go to your local gym, find the biggest pilates ball in the place, sit on it, place your hands in your lap, lift your feet up off of the floor and try not to fall over. Now do this everyday, all day for years on end. You must learn to eat, shower, get dressed, maneuver a wheelchair, open doors, even make love all while feeling like the lower half of you is about to roll right out from underneath you, which sometimes, it does.

In the early 90s the strides forward in physical therapy were yet to come. The general attitude was get them healthy, get them the skills to cope and send them home. Anything else they achieve is up to them. So in late September of 1994 they sent me home after five months in the care of the hospital. Since that day very little about my day to day schedule has changed. While there have been moves across the country, college, career changes, an ever-changing spiritual journey, new friends, old friends and even dating and relationships it's still pretty much the same. In the morning the external catheter is removed, I'm washed and dried and a new one is applied. The bed-side bag that has caught the urine from the night before is emptied, washed and put away and replaced with a small one strapped to my leg. My skin is checked for red spots, sores, any blemishes or injuries of any kind. Then I get dressed with the assistance of a family member and lifted into the chair. Either an aide or a family member assists me with my hair and brushing my teeth. I can burn myself on the stove so my meals are prepared. If I need to use the restroom I can feel my bladder and lower abdomen constrict, my blood pressure goes up slightly and the bag on my leg fills up. It is then drained in the bathroom. This too requires assistance. In the cold weather my bones in my legs and hips develop a deep soreness related to the arthritis and bone loss from sitting for nineteen years. This usually causes me to become tired around 2pm so I sleep for an hour by propping up a pillow next to my desk and leaning on the wall. Because my digestive system moves much slower than normal I've developed a gluten allergy. In recent years I've become very conscious of diet. Spirulina, alkaline shakes, herbal tea, fruit juice, smoothies, organic eggs, chicken, fresh fish, green veggies and salad are staples. I've lost weight in the last year and I have a bit more to go. In the late evening I transfer back onto my bed, remove my clothes and transfer to a special chair that allows me to use the restroom and shower. My bathroom is modified so that I can roll in, turn around and roll into and out of the shower with little effort. The shower is large with two heads, one is removable to ensure I am thoroughly rinsed. Any soap residue can quickly turn into a nasty, raw rash. Once the whole process is complete which takes over an hour, I am transferred back to my bed where another new external catheter is applied along with the bed-side bag. I wear white anti-embolism stockings to ensure good circulation. This is when I get a fresh pair. Finally my aide positions me on my side, propped up by pillows, where I will sleep several hours until I wake up and need repositioning. In the morning the process is repeated all over again.

Caleb 2This has been my primary mode of life since my injury. Spinal cord injury affects every single area of your life. Through all of this the people I owe everything to, and that includes my very life, are my family. My father, my brother Chris, my brother Ethan and my mother. Ethan and my mother above all. I owe them everything. It is because of them I am as healthy as I am. Doctors and other medical professionals are often amazed at my level of health and resistance to disease. It is because of their daily commitment and self-sacrifice, 24 hours a day for nineteen years that I have never had another over-night stay in the hospital. They have taught me what true love and friendship is and what it means to be loyal. I love them with every fiber of my being.

Topics: urinary management, wheelchair, Caregiving, medical research, spinal cord injury, physical therapy

The real cost of incontinence - News From Australia

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Jul 3, 2013 9:46:00 AM

Urinary incontinence isn't limited only to the United States. Individuals all over the world deal with incontinence issues every day. In support of World Continence Week, the Australian Physiotherapy Association, shared some surprising statistics about incontinence Down Under!

  • Incontinence affects almost five million Australians That's one person in every four. That’s someone you know, or maybe it’s you.

  • Everyday 19 people in Australia undergo surgery to correct their incontinence.

  • The total financial cost to the country is $117 million (AUD) every day and $42.9 billion (AUD) every year.

But despite these statistics, there isa general reluctance by many to discuss the nature and gravity of these problems. While the life-altering issues experienced with continence concerns can be sensitive and awkward to talk about, it is by first normalising these worries, terms, and experiences that we can raise awareness, educate, and start talking about incontinence.


 So check out this awesome video on incontinence in Australia. It's powerful stuff!

Topics: urinary management, proactive patients, physical therapy, Medicare

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,


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

Meet Adaptive Athlete & Men’s Liberty User John Powell

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Jan 25, 2013 12:12:00 PM

We’re thrilled to be able to share a story from one of our many Men’s Liberty users. John’s incontinence has been a long term challenge and he has been such a wonderful advocate for the impact that Men’s Liberty has had on his life.

Check out his story below…

Orange Line

Who I Am
My name is John Powell and I was born in 1948. At the age of 4 years, I contracted polio, and spent the next two years in an iron lung. After I recovered and grew older I tried sports, but due to the after-effects of polio, my physical condition was weakened. I was unable to compete at a satisfactory level. Over the years I have learned not to quit at anything I attempt. When I first began to participate in wheelchair sports, it was the third major factor that positively impacted my life. The first being my loving wife who refuses to allow me to even consider self-pity in any form, and the second being my two sons who encourage me, and for whom I do my best to be an example. My family is the first of many reasons I compete.

My Disability: Spinocerebellar Atrophy with Ataxia, Post-Polio Syndrome, and Bipolar Disorder. All of which are being treated at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Dallas.

How These Disabilities Affect My Life

The Spinocerebellar Atrophy with Ataxia affects my balance severely. I can only walk a very short distance without aid. If I try to walk for example, across the street to my neighbor's house, my wife or sons have to aide me or I will fall unless I use my wheelchair, which my physician prescribed for me. There is no cure for this disease, and with time it will only worsen. Only medical support is the qualified treatment for this condition.

The Post-Polio Syndrome has caused my muscles to weaken along with degeneration and pain in my joints. Post-Polio Syndrome is a condition that affects Polio survivors several years after initial recovery. It is not contagious, and only those who have contracted the polio virus are at risk. There are no effective medicinal treatments available. Mobility aids, management strategies, and lifestyle changes are the recommended treatments

Bipolar Disorder, before I sought treatment, disrupted my life with low-self esteem, decreased sleep cycles, unfounded guilt, and irritability. With medication, my quality of life and relationships with others has improved exponentially.

My Current Activities

  • Texas Regional Games
  • West Virginia State Wheelchair Games
  • Southwest Wheelchair Games in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
  • Endeavor Games in Edmond, OK.
  • Sooner State Games
  • PVA Wheelchair Games
  • East Texas Wheelchair Games
  • Valor Games in Chicago

At the Paralyzed Veterans Wheelchair Games in Richmond, Virginia in 2012 I met some men from Men’s Liberty. I spoke to them about my activities and the incontinence problem I have on a continual basis every day of my life. They told me about their product and how it can replace catheters. The Men’s Liberty system has helped me even in my different sports because I don't have to worry about using the bathroom when I compete. It has helped me in my Air Rifle events because when I get into position I can stay there for the 2 hours of the event. In my hand cycling, I can ride the route and not worry about using the bathroom like the able body runners do. My times have gotten better and I am not embarrassed because I have gone to the bathroom on myself.

Thank you Men’s Liberty for making me happier and more self sufficient.

Orange Line

A big thank you to John for sharing his story! We’re passionate about helping people live their lives to the fullest, knowing that incontinence doesn’t have to keep you down. Get out, get active, get Men’s Liberty!



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Topics: bladder control, adaptive athletes, proactive patients, tips from Men's Liberty users, physical therapy

Wee Answer Wednesday – Physical Therapy & Incontinence

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Jan 23, 2013 11:51:00 AM

This week Men’s Liberty is exhibiting at the Combined Sections Meeting of the American Physical Therapy Association. We’re talking to physical, occupational and rehab therapists about how Men’s Liberty can improve their patient’s quality of life and aid them in gaining independence after a devastating injury.

In that spirit, I wanted to share some of the top questions we’ve gotten from physical therapists so far this week.

1. Can Men’s Liberty be used in hospitals immediately after an injury and/or during therapy?

Men's LibertyThis depends on the extent and severity of the injury and any ongoing medical procedures being completed. Generally, Men’s Liberty is appropriate for any man without urinary retention regardless of whether they are in a hospital bed or in their home. However, urinary retention can occur after spinal cord injury and require indwelling or intermittent catheterization. Men’s Liberty does allow intermittent catheterization with the device in place so once a regular intermittent catheter regime has been established, Men’s Liberty can be used to manage overflow incontinence.

2. Will the Men’s Liberty stay in place when my patient is being active and sweating, for example during therapy, sports competitions or other strenuous activity?

Absolutely! Men’s Liberty has a proprietary hydrocolloid adhesive which will attach securely to the skin for 24-48 hours. The hydrocolloid will turn milky white as it absorbs moisture and is ready to remove. The only caveat is that it MUST be attached to dry skin when first applying. We generally recommend that men change their Liberty daily or along with their shower routine. If continual leaking is a problem, then there are supplemental products available, such as Cunningham Clamps which can temporarily stop dribbling or leaking in order to allow patients to apply the Men’s Liberty and get a secure seal.

3. I do a lot of work with veterans. Is it available in the VA?

Yes! Men’s Liberty is available on the GSA Formulary so patients should be able to have their local pharmacy order it.

4. Why haven’t I heard of this before?

Men’s Liberty is the best kept secret in the urological sector. It 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. More than 1 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!

And if you’re in San Diego, come check us out at the San Diego Convention Center! We’re raffling off a 32” Flatscreen HD TV!

Topics: Wee Answer Wednesdays, physical therapy

The Importance Of Physical Therapy For Spinal Injuries

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Jan 21, 2013 12:00:00 PM

Since we’re at the American Physical Therapy Association conference this week, I thought it was the perfect time to share some great information on the importance of physical therapy after spinal cord injuries. We’re thrilled to welcome Matt Anton as a guest blogger!

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When you are treating a person who has suffered a spinal cord injury, the biggest focus is on regaining function and independence so that patients can be active, healthy and happy, despite the challenges they face. Among clinicians, it's widely accepted that the best results come from  using a variety of treatment methods and that the more you put into your rehab, the more you get out!  

What Happens After A Spinal Injury

When you suffer a spinal injury, you need to allow enough time for the injured muscles and the bones to heal. This is why there is usually a phase of immobilization that allows the bones and the muscles to repair themselves. While this is going on, your doctors usually prescribe medication which will encourage faster healing as well as provide nutritional supplements like vitamins and minerals to speed up the healing process.

Rehabilitation After Injury

When the rehabilitation process starts, physical therapists along with occupational therapists, health care professionals and psychologists work as a team under the coordination of a specialist who will set goals for the patient’s recovery and develop a plan for the patient’s discharge. In the acute care phase the physical therapists usually focus on the respiratory status of the patient. They do this in order to prevent indirect complications as well as maintain a range of motion activities and keep the muscles active.

Complexity Of Neurological Impairment

When spinal injuries occur, there are often neurological impairments and/or damages involved. The level of impairment differs in different cases. The higher up the spine the injury occurs, the greater the challenges. Often the level of neurological impairment is such that some of the ventilator muscles are impaired and that puts more stress on muscles that are unaffected. Most spinal injury patients suffer from reduced lung capacity as well as reduced tidal volume. Thus, the therapists at such a stage teach the patients accessory breathing methods and techniques.

Method Of Physical Therapies

Physical therapists may also assist such patients in learning how to cough as well as clearing the secretions that come up the throat. The stretching of the thoracic wall is done in a way that is taught to such impaired patients. Many of these patients are provided abdominal support belt as it becomes necessary. The amount of the time that a patient remains in an immobilized condition depends on the spinal cord injuries that they sustain. Physical therapists need to work with such patients in order to prevent any complications that may arise due to such immobilized state. Other complications that arise from immobilization are osteoporosis and muscle atrophy. That, in turn, increases the risk of fractures of the femur and the tibia.

Importance Of Physical Rehabilitation

To prevent such conditions during the immobilization period, there are many kinds of electrical stimulation techniques that are used in order to achieve effective results. The intensity and the frequency as well as the duration of the stress that is given to the bones is decided by the therapist. Thus, physical therapy for spinal injury patients is essential. Even though they are painful at certain stages especially during the phase of immobilization, one needs to keep up such therapies in order to reduce the risk of related damages to other areas of the body.

Getting Out of the Hospital

Rehabilitation therapy involves relearning old skills and developing new ones. Patients will learn to use new equipment including wheelchairs, transfer benches and shower chairs. This may also include special equipment for bladder or bowel management. During this learning phase it is critical to set goals for yourself and your recovery that allow you to work toward resuming your previous lifestyle and getting back to the routines and activities you enjoyed prior to your injury.


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Author Bio:
Matt Anton is an author who contributes articles on different healthcare forums. He also writes articles on a variety financial matters. For more articles from Matt, check out: http://paymentsavvy.com.

Are you a blogger looking for opportunities to share your work? Men's Liberty is looking for guest bloggers to provide great new content featuring spinal cord injuries, incontinence and your personal stories. We'd love to feature you! If interested, email: Swoodward@mensliberty.com


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Topics: urinary management, bladder control, Caregiving, spinal cord injury, physical therapy, nursing