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Incontinence Support Blog

Tales from the aisle seat...

Posted by Caleb Bartlett

Feb 24, 2016 10:36:00 AM

Traveling by plane is getting more and more stressful. From security checkpoints pat-downs and shoe removals to TSA officials who view mother’s breast milk as potentially toxic substance, there are a gazillion mundane things that can really get things off to a bad start. Long lines, lost luggage, inattentive attendants, flight delays, long layovers, and more can have you spending more time just getting to and from your destination than the actual vacation. If you’re traveling on business it can wear you down, inhibit your performance, cost money, and even affect your health. This applies to all of us, but what about the added difficulty for those of us in chairs?

I could write six months’ worth of blogs on the ins and outs of dealing with airlines from a chair, but for now I will offer a series of suggestions for dealing with the airlines that will help make the fast-approaching vacation season a bit easier to navigate if you plan on getting out of town. So here we go…

    1. Never Book Your Tickets Online- Do your research and book by phone. Find out which airlines have the best customer service reputation for assisting people in chairs, and supply the most direct flights. Speak directly to an agent and ask lots of question. Airlines process thousands of calls a day, be specific and give them all the info you can. Remember to ask that they waive the phone booking fee because you called with specific needs.
    2. Try to Book Direct- Nobody in chairs likes awkward transfers and if you have any layovers or plane changes you increase you travel complications and even chance for injury. If you cannot transfer unassisted do not travel alone. Airline employees are not wheelchair-savvy, and are often rushed and trying to get the plane filled, packed, and on its way on time.
    3. Do Their Thinking for Them- Never assume airline or security staff know anything. From the moment you book your tickets, to claim your baggage, make it clear what your needs are. If you need an aisle seat with an adjacent seat, tell them and tell them why. Always clarify that you need pre-boarding time before the other passengers. If you use a manual chair tell the attendant at the door of the aircraft to store it in the forward compartment and do not stack anything on it.
    4. Take Your Time- Arrive at the airport as early as you need to in order to check your bags and get through security so that you can be at the gate 90 minutes before boarding. If you use a catheter try to void before boarding. Rushing creates a recipe for disaster.
    5. Know Your Gear- Travel as streamlined as possible. Keep an emergency kit of all your medical essentials in your carry-on. Keep wheelchair add-ons like cushions and backpacks with you in the cabin. Pack smart.
    6. Don’t Be a Jerk- You catch more flies with honey. Don’t hold people responsible for what they don’t know. Be kind, grateful, and take time to teach and it is amazing what people will do. Service industry staff are used to being yelled at and walked on. They’re more afraid of you than you are of them. Help them help you and you’ll pave the way for another person in a chair to have a better, safer trip next time.

Happy traveling!

Topics: spinal cord injury, Spinal Cord Injury with Caleb, travelling with incontinence

1929 Ford Tri-Motor Airplanes Don’t Have Restrooms!

Posted by Sam Turner

Mar 9, 2015 12:00:00 PM

image001

Riding with our eleven-year old grandson and his father in this 1929 - Ford Tri-Motor Airplane was a memorable experience. A year ago, before Men’s Liberty External Catheters, the thought of twenty minutes of vibration and no restroom would have left me standing on the tarmac watching the plane take off.

However, on this particular Saturday, (February 14, 2015), I felt secure in saying YES to flying with image003Zachery, his father and seven other passengers. Zach sat as co-pilot for the flight. I watched Zach smile when the pilot placed the earphones on his head.

We were mutually excited! And I enjoyed the whole adventure without fear of an embarrassing interruption by leaking on the seat. An event like this with our grandson made the change from absorbents to Men’s Liberty worth all of my mistakes. My thanks to Tony, Sarah, and our TV blog star, Wendy La Torre, for their patience and thoroughness in training.

What is my reward?

“That was really fun, Grandpa!”

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Topics: travelling with incontinence

Seven Steps for Stopping Incontinence Interrupting Your Vacation!

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Apr 4, 2013 10:51:00 AM

Whether you're sunbathing on the sunny shores of the Mediterranean, visiting the grandkids or exploring the natural wonders of the Rockies, summer vacation is a time to relax, explore and spend time with friends and family. But all of that can be interrupted by a bout of incontinence that leaves you wet, embarrassed and definitely not stress-free.

Men's Liberty talks to hundreds of incontinent men every day and over the years they have shared some of their best tips for travelling, touring and exploring; free from embarrassing accidents and unnecessary stress. Our customers include men of every age and dozens of diagnoses. They are students, athletes, doctors, lawyers, military veterans and retirees. But they all have two  things in common: they have urinary incontinence and more importantly, they discovered Men's Liberty and took back control of their lives and their bladders. They are the true experts who have been using Men's Liberty every day for years. They have taken that journey - from embarrassment to confidence, from frequent accidents to being in control, from incontinence to Men's Liberty.

So we wanted to take just a few minutes to share some of their best travel tips with you all as you plan for your summer adventures.

  1. Always be  prepared. Make sure to have a half dozen extra Men's Liberty on hand during your trip. You never know when a flight might be delayed, your car will break down or you get stuck somewhere and need to change your Men's Liberty. By keeping a few extra on hand you will have the security of knowing that no matter what happens with your flight, your rental car or on your drive home you have the right fluid management solution in hand!

  2. Keep to your Men's Liberty change schedule. Changing locations, time zones and sleeping patterns is normal during a trip. It's easy to get distracted and forget. But whenever possible, make sure to maintain your Men's Liberty change schedule. Keeping this consistent will help eliminate potential accidents or leaks.

  3. Be sure to bring a bar of Ivory or other non-moisturizing soap.  Most hotels will only provide shower gel which is full of moisturizers and oils that will remain on your skin long after you get out of the shower. This can reduce your wear time so it's always best to keep an Ivory bar in stock.

  4. Avoid putting unnecessary pressure on your bladder. When flying, be sure to void your bladder as completely as possible prior to boarding the aircraft. Intermittent cath if needed, even if you normally only do it once a day. The tight lap belt, changes in air pressure and potential turbulence can put a lot of pressure on your bladder and the sphincter muscles. These pressures can result in a strong, unexpected need to void or a sudden, high pressure release of urine which will fill the small Men's Liberty collection chamber. Always connect your Men's Liberty to a leg bag for the duration of your journey so that if you have to go, you can!

  5. Don't try and hold it until the next exit on the highway when you can get off now. A recent study by Peter Snyder, Ph.D. and his research team at Lifespan showed that driving while trying to 'hold it' can be as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol! His research suggested that when people are dealing with a strong urge to urinate, their cognitive functions are impaired, similar to what you might experience after a sleepless night or a few too many pints at the pub. Getting to your destination safely is more important than arriving quickly. Take the time to stop when you need to.

  6. Don't avoid drinking fluids just to avoid your incontinence. Your body needs food and water to survive and to get the most out of your vacation!  Particularly when you are travelling, you can get dehydrated easily. Not drinking may seem like a simple solution to potential incontinence but it can cause your body real, long term damage.

  7. And last but certainly not least, remember, you're the one in charge, not your incontinence! Over time, too many incontinent men get in the habit of scoping out restaurants, bars or museums for the restroom whenever they walk in. They anticipate their incontinence and try to accommodate it. But why do that when you can be the one in charge?  Our experts love being the one in charge of setting the schedule, deciding how much to drink and getting to explore new places without planning for bathroom breaks, all because of Men's Liberty.

Many of our customers were able to  take their first trip in years, thanks to Men's Liberty. The security of 24 hour protection with a discreet design, helped convince them to grab hold of the opportunity to explore the world, visit family and socialize with their peers. Give our tips a try and see if Men's Liberty could be right for you. 

Start by contacting our helpful experts!

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Topics: travelling with incontinence

Wheeling Through Airports: Flying with a Spinal Cord Injury

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Jan 15, 2013 10:44:00 AM

Travelling with a wheelchair can be a challenge. But with a purchasing power of more than $220B per year and a combined income of more than $1 trillion - travel agencies, airports and tourist destinations are keen to get a piece of the pie.

In 2002, disabled individuals took 32 million trips and spent more than $13.6 billion on travel – $4.2 billion on hotels, $3.3 billion on airfare, $2.7 billion on food and beverage, and $3.4 billion on retail, transportation, and other activities,” according to a Harris Poll conducted in conjunction with Open Doors Organization and the Travel Industry of America.

The study said disabled travelers would double their spending if some minor amenities were made available. At the top of the list were meet and greet programs at airports, preferred seating on airplanes, hotel rooms closer to amenities, and employees who go out of their way to accommodate guests with disabilities.

The latest in a string of educational marketing projects comes from Vancouver International Airport (YVR) in British Columbia. They have partnered with SCI BC to launch a series of videos focusing on different aspects of travelling for people with disabilities.

A panel of expert travelers with physical disabilities who have collectively explored more than 80 countries spanning every continent provided the travel tips. The first of the videos can be seen below and cover every step of the airport experience.

Checking In - Spinal Cord Injuries BC from YVRAirport on Vimeo.

We’ll share other videos as they are published. In the meantime, check out our travel tips for getting the most out of your accessible vacation!

Travel Tips Men's Liberty


Topics: Caregiving, proactive patients, tips from Men's Liberty users, travelling with incontinence

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

Christmas Gift Ideas for Men in Wheelchairs from Men's Liberty

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Dec 16, 2012 10:37:00 AM

The best Christmas gifts are the ones that combine utility and excitement. So an X-box for your Grandmother might not be the best idea (although there are exceptions to every rule). But if you or one of your friends or loved ones happens to be in a wheelchair, there are a few items that might be both useful and fun! There is also a great list on the Christopher Reeve Foundation website which I would encourage you to check out!

 The Cambelbak

"The Camelbak is great because it allows easy accessibility to liquids," says wheelchair user, Corey Mineo. Whether buying just a bottle or a whole hydration pack, whatever your price range, the Camelbak comes in various colors, styles, shapes and sizes. "It can eliminate the need to hold items in your hands and it will never spill. It is a great alternative to water bottles or water fountains. It fits on a back of a wheelchair or any device. It is great for keeping hydrated," says Mineo. Visit www.camelbak.com to check out all the styles and where to buy one.

 

E-Z Reacher

The E-Z Reacher is that extra-long arm you need for picking up dropped or hard to reach items.  It can hold items as light as a dime or as heavy as a brick. The top handle requires a light squeeze while the bottom suction cups safely retrieve an item. Take a look at the Reacher at www.arcoa.com.

 

The Snowchair

Tom Hernon was paralyzed from the waist down in 1997 after a dirt biking accident. In 1998, he developed his website, www.back2sports.net, dedicated to helping people with spinal cord injuries get back to life through sports. One piece of adaptive sports equipment he invented is the snow chair. "Our snow chair is an outdoor wheelchair that you can take the wheels off of and put skis on it when you are faced with non-shoveled sidewalks and parking lots, says Hernon. "Everyone in a wheelchair that lives where it snows should have one. I now love winter, I use it to walk my dog, go for winter walks with my girl friend, get to the luge track, use the cross country trails and play sled hockey." Purchase the snow chair for $1,995 on Hernon's website.

 

Wheelchair Jeans

USA Jeans, "The Leader of Sitting Pants," specializes in making heavyweight jeans, lightweight jeans, and slacks for wheelchair users. "Because our pants are designed especially for sitting, there is an added level of comfort that helps to prevent pressure sores, eliminates the pants from bunching up in the front and does not pull up tight in the crotch or fall down in the back," says David Sanchez of USA Jeans.  Jeans and slacks can be purchased at www.wheelchairjeans.com for $69.95.

 

How I Roll

This is the inspiring story of a Virginia country boy—J. Bryant Neville, Jr.—who became a quadriplegic thirty years ago after a car wreck, and how he refused to accept the medical sentence of a life unrealized. Hard work, devoted family, a caring community, and a determination to live as fiercely as his body would allow helped Bryant Neville earn two college degrees, become a respected banking executive, a loving husband and provider, an adoptive parent, and a biological father.

Bryant Neville’s story is a beacon of hope for anyone facing a physical setback who needs proof that life can go on and dreams can be realized, and a guide for those who love and care for them.

 

Murderball

More than merely a sports documentary or an inspirational profile of triumph over adversity, Murderball offers a refreshing and progressive attitude toward disability while telling unforgettable stories about uniquely admirable people. It's ostensibly a film about quadriplegic rugby (or "Murderball," as it was formerly known), in which players with at least some loss of physical function in all four limbs navigate modified wheelchairs in a hardcore, full-contact sport that takes them all the way to the Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece, in 2004.

Simply put, Murderball is the best film to date about living with a severe disability, but codirectors Henry Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro avoid the sappy, inspirational sentiment that hampers nearly all mainstream films involving disability. By the time this blazing 85-minute film reaches its emotional conclusion, the issue of disability is almost irrelevant; these guys are as normal as anyone, and their life stories led to Murderball becoming the most critically acclaimed documentary of 2005.

From all of us here at Men’s Liberty – Happy Holidays!!!

 

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Topics: urinary management, spinal cord injury, tips from Men's Liberty users, travelling with incontinence

Wee Answer Wednesday: Holidays with Men's Liberty

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Nov 28, 2012 4:38:00 PM

Thanksgiving has passed and it’s officially the Christmas season. There are wreaths on the doors and inflatable Santas on display in Walmart. I'm sure quite a few people have busy travel schedules in the next couple of weeks! So bring on the Christmas questions!

1. I’m a new user and I have questions – who should I contact?

We have Customer Care Representatives available to take your questions 6 days a week. They are available from 9am until 7pm (EST) Monday to Friday and from 10am to 4pm on Saturday. They can be reached at 800-814-3174.

2. Can I use Men’s Liberty if I have a UTI or wound on the tip of my anatomy?

We suggest that if you have an open wound that you wait until it heals to use Men’s Liberty in order to get the best wear time from the device. Once it’s healed – watch out world, here you come!

3. Will it set off the alarms at the airport?

No, Men’s Liberty won’t set off any alarms. There is no metal anywhere in the device or the packaging. Nothing in the device will set off alarms or raise concerns if you wanted to take your devices in your carry-on luggage. In fact, we always recommend carrying a few extra with you when you travel. You never know when your plans will be delayed or hit a snag. The last thing you want to be worrying about then is your incontinence.

4. Will I get a UTI? What is a UTI?

A UTI is a urinary tract infection. It is frequently caused by Foley (indwelling) catheters and condom catheters. Some symptoms of urinary tract infections include: a frequent urge to urinate, accompanied by pain or burning on urination, cloudy or strong smelling urine and/or fever. UTIs are usually treated with antibiotics. If left untreated a UTI can turn into a secondary infection requiring hospitalization.

With over 1 million units sold, there has not been a single reported adverse event caused by Men’s Liberty including urinary tract infections and serious skin injuries.

5. Can I sleep with it on? Can I shower with it on?

Yes to both! The Men’s Liberty is designed to be worn 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The more it is exposed to moisture (for example in the bath, shower or swimming pool), the weaker the seal. We recommend changing your Men’s Liberty each day after your shower or bath.

6. I’m a Santa at the local mall and I have urge incontinence. It’s impossible to sit for hours and with the lines of children waiting I can’t keep running to the bathroom. Would Men’s Liberty be appropriate?

Absolutely! You don’t have to be incontinent to use Men’s Liberty. It’s appropriate for anyone who has to be away from a bathroom for hours at time like hunters, HazMat guys, long distance truckers and even Santa!

7. Why are the last three months of the year the best time to try a new incontinence product?

To make a (very) long story short, by the end of the year most people have met the deductible for their health insurance. This means that it’s possible to get medical treatment or product without paying out of pocket. While this varies widely between insurance plans, the end of the year can be a great time to try something before your next deductible kicks in.

 

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Topics: Wee Answer Wednesdays, travelling with incontinence

Wee Answer Wednesday: Thanksgiving with Men's Liberty

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Nov 21, 2012 11:11:00 AM

In honor of the Thanksgiving holiday (and the extra short work week), here are a few burning questions for the run up to the Holiday Season!

1. What’s the secret to managing my incontinence discreetly during the holidays?

Sadly, there isn’t one magical secret to making it all go away. If there was, I would be a RICH woman I assure you (hint: I’m not). The best advice I can give you is two things:

  1. Be prepared. With holidays, usually comes travel. So plan ahead. Before your trip make sure you have enough supplies to last through the New Year. If travelling make sure you have enough supplies and some spares. Make sure to carry an extra set of clothes or two, plastic bags for wet clothes, wet wipes and baby powder in a small bag that you can keep with you. No one ever wants to have an accident but travelling presents particular challenges. Whether it’s a long car ride or a bumpy flight – it’s always best to be prepared.
  2. Find the right product for you and stick with it. High maintenance holidays aren’t the time to be trying something new at the last minute. There is usually a learning curve involved with new products and its best to try those out when you have some quiet time to monitor and respond if something doesn’t work quite as planned. This is certainly something we advocate with our product. Men’s Liberty has a bit of a learning curve for your skin because it absorbs all the excess moisture in your skin that has built up from using diapers and pads. That means the first one won’t last 24 hours. It takes about 3 back-to-back applications to get the full wear time of the product. Knowing that in advance allows you to plan and stay in control.

2. How can I make holiday travel easier?

Follow the tips above. Also consider downloading our travel tips including special holiday suggestions for getting through holiday TSA screenings!

Travel with Men's Liberty

3. Am I at greater risk for having an accident or getting a UTI during the holidays?

By itself the holidays are not a risk; however, many people may do things during the holiday season that increase their risk of having an accident. That includes: drinking too much alcohol or not enough water, and over indulgence in caffeine or other diuretics. There are lots of foods that will stimulate your bladder and increase the frequency and intensity of your need to void including citrus, spicy food, rich dairy products and artificial sweeteners.

To avoid UTIs, keep an eye on your water intake and make sure you are drinking enough to make your urine pale and clear. You may also want to  drink cranberry juice semi-regularly, just be sure its the pure juice, not the sugary sweetened stuff.

4. Black Friday & Incontinence – can Men’s Liberty help me shop ‘til I drop?

Yes!! You can wear Men’s Liberty anytime you know you’re going to be away from a bathroom, even if you’re not actually incontinent. Whether you’re waiting in line for the new iPhone 5 or stampeding into Walmart for the latest Furby or Leapfrog tablet for your little one – Men’s Liberty can help!

 

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Topics: Wee Answer Wednesdays, travelling with incontinence

Bladder Health Week: Facts about Foleys & Bladder Cancer

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Nov 12, 2012 1:00:00 PM

Today is the start of National Bladder Health week! To support bladder health and awareness we will be here all week publishing more information than you could EVER want on your bladder health. This will include tips for avoiding UTIs, daily factoids and today’s facts about Bladder Cancer.

We are also having a Raffle where subscribers to our blog can win an AMAZON KINDLE FIRE! Subscribe today for your chance to win!

But back to bladder cancer – Bladder cancer is the 4th most common cancer in men and the most expensive cancer in the US, with costs over $1B in 2000. In 2009, nearly 71,000 Americans were diagnosed with bladder cancer, and 74.4 percent of them were men. The American Cancer Society reports that among American men that same year, the number of bladder cancer deaths outpaced testicular cancer deaths by nearly 27-fold.

There are a number of known risk factors for developing bladder cancer including smoking, exposure to certain chemicals, bladder birth defects and long term catheterization. Family history also has a role to play.

Long term indwelling catheter use has been consistently established to have a detrimental impact on the health of community dwelling men and women. There are an estimated 30 million indwelling catheters placed each year, most during short term hospital stays. However, thousands of men and women in the US today are living with a permanent indwelling urinary catheter.  Estimates indicate that 21-31% of indwelling catheters in hospitals are placed in men with no urinary outlet obstruction – it’s done for convenience!

Although over 90% of bladder cancers in the general population are transitional cell carcinomas, those using long term indwelling catheters are significantly more likely to develop a comparatively rare form of bladder cancer know as squamous cell carcinomas which has a higher mortality rate. SCCs make up less than 5% of all bladder cancers and are predominantly discovered at later stages. Moreover, SCCs do NOT respond to chemotherapy. As many as 10% of individuals who use an indwelling catheter for 10 years or more will develop squamous cell carcinoma bladder cancer.

So what symptoms might suggest you need to talk to your Doctor about bladder cancer?

Well, if you have a family history of bladder cancer, tell your doctor! Family history is a predictor of A LOT of medical conditions and that information can help your doctor ask the right questions.

According to WebMD, here are some of the most common symptoms of Bladder Cancer in Men:

In its early stages, bladder cancer may not have obvious symptoms. In the later stages, symptoms of bladder cancer may include: Bloody urine, most often painless. The urine color ranges from faintly rusty to deep red, sometimes containing blood clots. Blood traces, invisible to the naked eye, may show up in tests of urine samples. Frequent urinary tract infections, painful urination, a need to urinate often, and difficulty holding in urine, weight loss or appetite loss and fever.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Blood or blood clots in the urine (hematuria). Hematuria occurs in 8 or 9 out of 10 people who have bladder cancer and is the most common symptom. Usually it is not painful.
  • Pain during urination (dysuria).
  • Urinating small amounts frequently.
  • Frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Symptoms that may indicate more advanced bladder cancer include:

  • Pain in the lower back around the kidneys
  • Swelling in the lower legs.
  • A growth in the pelvis near the bladder (pelvic mass).

Other symptoms that may develop when bladder cancer has spread include:

  • Weight loss.
  • Bone pain or pain in the rectal, anal, or pelvic area.
  • Anemia.

Unfortunately, the symptoms of bladder cancer may be similar to symptoms of other bladder conditions so it’s always best to consult a healthcare professional if you have concerns about your bladder health.

But when in doubt, don’t smoke and avoid long term catheterization! If you do have to manage incontinence, use the healthiest option available – Men’s Liberty! Because it’s a completely external device there is no pain or irritation to the bladder.

 

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Topics: urinary management, bladder control, Caregiving, Interesting Articles, spinal cord injury, travelling with incontinence

Wee Answer Wednesday: Election Edition

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Nov 7, 2012 11:00:00 AM

1.Is incontinence a normal part of aging?

NO. I repeat… INCONTINENCE IS NOT A NORMAL PART OF AGING!!!

Got it? See the answer below from Dr. Leslie Kernisan who is a senior medical editor at Caring.com and a clinical instructor in the University of California, San Francisco, Division of Geriatrics. “Anyone can develop incontinence -- the loss of bladder or bowel control causing leakage -- although certain groups are at higher risk. But it's a myth that incontinence is an expected part of growing older. Incontinence isn't normal; it reflects an underlying problem. Incontinence is a symptom, not a disease.

“What is true is that the odds of developing incontinence increase with age. There are several reasons for this:

      • With aging, there is more wear-and-tear on the muscles and other tissues involved with urination and elimination, causing them to weaken and lessening their control.
      • Older men are more likely to have prostate problems, such as an enlarged prostate, which can block urine flow.
      • Increasing age makes one more likely to have had surgeries, such as a hysterectomy or colorectal surgery that affects the relevant structures.”

2. As a caregiver, how can I lessen embarrassment for an incontinent person?

The best response will likely vary based on your relationship with the person. The best default is just to show no embarrassment yourself. If you treat it as a matter of fact thing that has to be dealt with then they will likely follow your lead. Avoid joking unless you’re really secure in your relationship with that person as it’s easy to cause offense about such a sensitive subject.

3. What are the most common causes of bladder incontinence in older men?

Anyone can develop incontinence. There are two broad categories – long term and short term. Common reasons for temporary incontinence can include a medication side effect, drinking too much caffeine or alcohol or a urinary tract infection. When the situation changes or is treated, the incontinence tends to end quickly.

The five most common causes of longer term urinary incontinence in men are:

Urge incontinence: This is a sudden, strong need to urinate before the leakage. People with urge incontinence may always feel a need to "go," but then they may not feel the need once they’re in a bathroom. Or they may feel a need to urinate frequently, especially at night. Even after voiding, the urine may continue to dribble out. Some common causes include Parkinson’s Disease, an enlarged prostate, diabetes or stroke.

Overflow incontinence: This is when you never feel the urge to urinate and the bladder simply keeps filling, until small amounts literally overflow the bladder and leak out. This is commonly associated with nerve damage that interrupts the signals to the brain or an enlarged prostate.

Functional incontinence: This means there is nothing wrong with your bladder but physical limitations impair the ability to use a toilet promptly. This can be the result of arthritis or Parkinson's Disease, which makes it difficult to move quickly and efficiently. Those suffering from dementia may have incontinence if they forget or don’t notice their need to go to the bathroom.

Stress incontinence: This kind of incontinence occurs when pressure (the "stress" in its name) is put on the abdomen, such as when sneezing, coughing, getting out of bed or a chair, laughing, or doing some kinds of exercise. The musculature involved may weaken with age or from damage following surgery, such as colorectal surgery or prostate cancer surgery.

Mixed incontinence: Many older people have a combination of types of incontinence, such as stress incontinence with urge incontinence, or urge incontinence with functional incontinence.

Orange Line

Well, it’s the day after the election and we hope you voted! Either way, now the election is over and we look forward to returning to our regularly scheduled television programming! And in honor of the election, here are few political questions…

4. Will health care reform change my ability to get Men’s Liberty at little to no out-of-pocket cost?

Nope. Men’s Liberty is covered by Medicare, most state Medicaids, VA/TriCare and most private insurance plans right now.

 

5. If I have to stand in line for hours, can I wear my Men’s Liberty when I go to vote?

Absolutely! Men’s Liberty can be worn anytime you’re going to be away from a bathroom, even if you’re not incontinent.

 

 

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Topics: bladder control, external catheter for men, Caregiving, spinal cord injury, travelling with incontinence