Experience working with people and running an incontinence supply company has taught me that there is so much information about daily incontinence management out there now. However, as I listen to folks explain their needs and ask for tips, I am learning that there seems to be a lack of practical and realistic advice. Many times I also hear about a "one size fits all" solution, but that type of approach leaves out many important factors. Factors like: everyone is unique, everyone has differing needs and has a unique personality and lifestyle.
Many times dealing or living with incontinence can be embarrassing enough, so the goal should be to manage it effectively, discreetly and in a way that meets your own unique needs. Incontinence should not interrupt your daily routine or lifestyle. With all of this in mind, here are some practical and realistic tips for living with incontinence:
1. Choose the Right Product - Traditionally the common thought has always been "well if I have incontinence, I guess that means I need to wear a diaper". Not true. In the day and age of an innovation and consumer-voice driven market, there tons of new options and products that can help you match the level of protection to your personality and unique lifestyle. From liners, pads, discreet disposable underwear to clothlike and even colorful and printed disposable briefs. There is no longer a "one size fits all" solution to choosing the right protection.
However, you do need to choose the product you are going to wear based on your level of incontinence, the comfort and discretion level you are seeking and your budget. Be creative and make sure to utilize samples and try different brands before just settling on a product "because it looks good and is a reasonable price". You might be surprised at how much you dislike some products once you actually try them.
Some folks even prefer to choose a product that is higher absorbency than they normally would need at times (depending in the schedule, situation and activities for the day) to ensure leak-free clothes, should there be a reason delay have to delay changing the garment. For example, some folks may prefer to wear a more absorbent tabbed brief if they know that they are going to have a longer commute or work day than normal.
2. Make Sure You Always Have Enough Supplies - There is nothing more frustrating than to reach for a garment when you need to change, only to discover that you are completely out. This always puts you in a bad position because then you either have to scramble to the nearest store last minute and buy more supplies or you have to see how long shipping is going to take. What if the store is closed by the time you run out? Or would you really want to settle for a store brand in place of what you normally wear and find comfortable, just because you ran out without realizing it?
To alleviate this problem and give yourself peace of mind, develop a plan for restocking. Whether its working out an auto-reorder plan with us or placing an order when you are down to your last dozen or so products, there are ways to time your supplies before you run out. Don't put yourself in a position of wearing your last garment because you don't have anything to change into.
One of the most frustrating issues for us is when we get calls at 9:00 at night from an unhappy customer because they ran out of products, are wearing their last one, need to change and are asking to come by right then and there to buy more. As much as we want to assist you, we can't guarantee that we will have every product on the market available at every given moment. Sometimes we have to restock our supplies too.
3. Carry a Back-Up - One of the most common things we see overlooked is not having a back-up while you are out and about, at school, at work or running errands. Whatever your unique needs are, be sure to always carry a back-up to change into to save yourself from having to deal with leaks or wet clothing.
I personally recommend carrying your back-up as a mini-kit in a small bag or pouch with at least a small package of wipes, 1 or 2 extra products, a small hand sanitizer, disposable gloves (depending on your type of incontinence) and dark plastic bags for discreet disposal of the used garment.
It is also wise to think about a place to stash your back-up. Some creative places you could stash a back-up can include:
A purse, back-pack or carry bag
Your locker at school or at the gym
Your glove-box, center counsel or your cars storage cubby
A desk drawer
Or any place that is concealed yet easy to reach in a time of need
4. Establish Good Hygiene Practices - Healthy practices for clean-up and hygiene goes a bit beyond just good hand washing (though that is a great place to start). Good hygiene practices should also include proper clean-up and disposal. Remember, you are dealing with urine/human waste and it should be handled in a sanitary manner not only for your own health, but also the health of others around you.
Practical tips include:
Use pre-moistened wipes to remove wetness and soil from your skin
Utilize disposable gloves for bowel accidents in order to prevent your hands from getting soiled (single use gloves are inexpensive and a box generally lasts a long time)
Always wrap or fold up the wet/soiled garment or product to dispose of it properly and use plastic bags when you can
Always wash your hands well (I can't stress this point enough)
5. Be Mindful of Your Daily Routine - Simply put, make it a mental habit as part of your daily routine to check or change your incontinence garment at certain times each day. Especially if you know that accidents are unavoidable so you can prevent leaks or embarrassing clothes incidents.
6. Stay Hydrated - Making sure your hydrated is key because it helps prevent bladder infections and cuts back on urine odor if you have to prolong a change. Concentrated and dark urine usually has a foul odor and is a sign that your body may be lacking nutrients and hydration.
7. Don't Stress - Don't stress about your incontinence issues or what people mind think about you. With these practical tips, it won't take long for you to master the art of daily incontinence management. And when you do, you'll be a master of discretion and you might just be surprised at how well you can disguise incontinence, almost as if there was no issue there to begin with...
We are here to assist you in any way that we can. We are always gathering information so we can offer you the best tips, advice and products to manage incontinence in a way that helps you be your normal self.