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5 Incontinence Products You Need to Know About

Editor's Note

Please see a doctor before starting or stopping a medication.

I have been diagnosed with autonomic neuropathy and have very heavy incontinence. I have been struggling with symptoms for about 10 years. I have found in talking with others and doing my own research that a pretty common symptom is bladder and/or bowel dysfunction, which can lead to continence issues.

Many people’s struggles with continence issues differ widely. Some only have minor issues while others have very heavy issues. This subject may be considered taboo and people may be afraid to ask for help. But this should not be the case. It is often very embarrassing to discuss with others or even a physician, so a good deal of experience is trial and error. Control of one’s bodily functions is a very personal matter. Even so, I have found that there are several products that help me in my battle with my bladder.

1. First, I never go out without my backpack. This is where I put my supplies. It generally stays safely in my car for when I need it. If I’m going to be away for long periods of time, I may carry it on my person. It is called a “day pack.” It is very durable. I have washed it several times, because I frequently have to change in public bathrooms and if there is no hook on the bathroom door, my bag sometimes ends up on the floor. So it may get a little dirty. It is made by REI and was around $80. I have used cheaper packs but they don’t hold up as well to the constant use. It will hold all of my supplies and my 9.7” iPad Pro, which I take to my medical appointments to pass the time while I wait on my physicians or medical procedures.

2. I use tab style adult briefs, or diapers, made by a company called Abena. They are very sturdy, hold up well and are highly absorbent. They generally do not leak unless pushed to the outer limits, which is quite a bit of fluid. They are called Abri-Form briefs and are very comfortable. I prefer the M4 version as it is the most absorbent. I usually keep my pack stocked with four or five briefs at a time for day trips away from home. Even though they are thicker than other brands and hold more, they still disappear under modest clothing so the general public is not the wiser as to what is underneath my clothing. I have never been embarrassed or called out. They are available online and have very high review ratings from consumers.

3. I also use adult washcloths to keep clean. The ones I prefer are sold at Target for around $2.99 per pack. They are the up & up brand, which are sold in the adult incontinence isle and are of good size. Around 9×11” and can clean a fair amount of skin at a time. These are good to keep feeling fresh.

4. A necessary item for those with bowel troubles is a good skin protectant, such as A&D ointment to protect the skin from chafing. Desitin also works. These can be found at most grocery stores, pharmacies, etc. There are versions for adults but I find these work just as well and they are cheaper. I generally buy the generic version if the labels are comparative to name brands.

5. Also, for those with bowel issues, there is internal deodorant in tablet form that neutralizes fecal odor. I find this product to be extremely useful. It is relatively inexpensive. It is relatively inexpensive. It is available online. I have discussed these with my gastroenterologist and they concur that they are a good idea and have no issues with them.

6. Lastly, I buy a box of medical gloves. I usually put about 20-30 in a small Ziploc bag to put in the outer part of my back pack. These keep my hands clean to protect them from bodily soils when changing.

I have learned about all of these products over the years. It took me awhile, but if I’m able to share my experience with others and maybe help a few people out, then it has been a good day. Incontinence can be a rough gig, but there are ways to work around it and you can lead a fulfilling life – despite your bladder and tummy troubles. Take care and stay adventurous! You can do this.

Getty Image by KristinaJovanovic

Originally published: April 5, 2018
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