Category Archives: BladderMatters

Does Estrogen Replacement Therapy Help with Incontinence?

Posted by on March 17, 2016 under BladderMatters | Be the First to Comment

Estrogen Replacement

Original post written by Dr. Anna Garrett for LiveConfidently.com

As women age, they experience a gradual loss of estrogen. The rate of loss increases as menopause approaches. Low estrogen levels are associated with a number of symptoms, one of which is urinary incontinence. This happens because estrogen helps maintain connective tissue and muscle tone in areas that have many estrogen receptors, such as the vagina, urethra, and bladder.

Given that estrogen plays such a significant role in the function of these tissues, it makes sense that replacing the estrogen might be a good idea. For years, millions of women took synthetic estrogen to manage the symptoms of menopause, but in 2002 the Women’s Health Initiative study data showed that estrogen replacement might be causing more harm than good. In that study, oral estrogen replacement, in combination with medroxyprogesterone (a derivative of progestin), was associated with increased risk of cancer, stroke, and blood clots.

The majority of studies of oral estrogen for treatment of incontinence have shown that it actually makes symptoms worse in women who already have incontinence and can trigger incontinence in women who don’t already have it. Therefore, oral estrogen is not recommended as an option for treatment of incontinence.

However, there is some data that suggests that using topical estrogen may be of benefit. Direct application of the cream to the walls of the vagina and urethral tissue has been shown to increase tissue integrity and strength, often reducing the symptoms of incontinence and vaginal dryness that are common in menopause. Since the estrogen is not absorbed into the body in significant amounts, the risk of side effects is low.

Topical estrogen may be most effective when used in combination with other therapies, such as pelvic floor muscle training, also known as Kegel exercises. You’ll need a prescription for estrogen cream, so discuss the options with your doctor and be aware that side effects may occur, including breast tenderness, vaginal bleeding, headache, nausea, and bloating. Typically, you need four to 12 weeks of treatment before you notice improvements, and symptoms usually return about four to six weeks after therapy ends. Treatment plans will vary according to patient needs; follow your physician’s orders and continue with 3-6 month checkups with your prescribing doctor.

Do you have any experience with estrogen replacement therapy, or have you experienced incontinence issues during menopause? To connect with other women just like you, visit our incontinence forum. We’d love to hear your experiences, questions, and suggestions.

Additionally, you can find varying levels of products for incontinence at TotalHomeCareSupplies.com.

Product Reviews on TotalHomeCareSupplies.com

Posted by on March 10, 2016 under BladderMatters, Ostomy Care, Very Urological | Be the First to Comment

Product Reviews

Hey – let’s check in with a few product reviews, shall we?

Review of Ca-Rezz Cream
“Mother-in-law has very very dry skin on her legs and we’ve tried all kinds of different creams. The aids at the assisted living said to her after she started using this ‘Whatever your’re doing don’t stop because it’s doing an amazing job’. That’s a #1 rating if you ask me.”

Review of Prevail Belted Shield
“Exactly what I was looking for.”

Review of Hollister New Image 2-pc Convex Flextend Barrier Cut-to-Fit
“I have tried several brands of ostomy bags, and Hollister New Image Flextend is the only one that lasts more days. I have to change mine every 4 days. My output is liquid consistency due to my recent surgery and liquid diet. I have to use strip paste in addition to prevent leakages.
Easy to use.”

Review of First Quality Adult Briefs
“Just GREAT!”

Review of Hollister M9 Deodorizer Drops
“I used this product in the 1980 when I first had to have an Ostomy and it was great then and everything that I have tried never really did the job. then I found this site and was able to locate the Product and have been over joyed ever since, it really does work and only a few drops and no odor. Fantastic!!!!”

Review of Dale Foley Tube Catheter Leg Band
“My mother has difficulty using her hands and hand strength and this was just what she needed so she could do it herself!”

Review of Secure Personal Care Waterproof Sheeting
“This was exactly what I was looking for. My father is 93 years old and completely incontinent. We, of course, have a pad on his bed at night, but it was not big enough to protect the sheet and mattress cover. Therefore, we were having to wash all of it most every day. Thanks for providing a great product.”

Thanks so much for the great reviews, everyone! If you’d like to write some of your own to help out your fellow customers, feel free. Just follow the links on each individual product page.

Links for the Incontinence Community

Posted by on March 3, 2016 under BladderMatters | Be the First to Comment

Incontinence Resources

According to the Centers for Disease Control, over half of seniors in the United States are afflicted with incontinence. Of course, it’s not just seniors who experience incontinence. People of all ages can be affected, due to a large number of factors. Whatever the reason you or the person you care for may find for being incontinent, we’d like to help with these great resources for both urinary and fecal incontinence:

Simon Foundation for Continence

The mission of the Simon Foundation is to: “Bring the topic of incontinence out into the open, remove the stigma surrounding incontinence, and provide help and hope to people with incontinence, their families and the health professionals who provide their care.”

National Association for Incontinence

From their About Us: “National Association for Continence is a national, private, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of people with incontinence, voiding dysfunction, and related pelvic floor disorders. NAFC’s purpose is to be the leading source for public education and advocacy about the causes, prevention, diagnosis, treatments, and management alternatives for incontinence.”

Urology Care Foundation

“The Urology Care Foundation advances urologic research and education. We work with health care providers, researchers, patients and caregivers to improve patients’ lives. The Urology Care Foundation is the official foundation of the American Urological Association.”

Medline Plus – Urinary Incontinence

This government site has a basic explanation of the condition, resources to learn more, videos, research, and patient handouts.

Health in Aging

This site was created by the American Geriatrics Society’s Health in Aging Foundation, to “provide consumers and caregivers with up-to-date information on health and aging.”

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases – Fecal Incontinence Article

“The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) conducts, supports, and coordinates research on many of the most serious diseases affecting public health. The Institute supports clinical research on the diseases of internal medicine and related subspecialty fields, as well as many basic science disciplines.”

Five Simple Tips to Manage Bladder Leakage in Menopause

Posted by on February 16, 2016 under BladderMatters | Be the First to Comment

Incontinence Menopause

Original post written by Dr. Anna Garrett for LiveConfidently.com

When you go through menopause, estrogen levels drop. For some women, this can result in weakening of the pelvic floor muscles that support bladder control, causing LBL (light bladder leakage). You’ve probably heard about LBL. It’s that little leak that comes with a big sneeze or a hearty laugh. A range of things, from exercise to caffeinated drinks, can trigger it. It’s also part of that urgent “gotta go right now” feeling you might get on the way to the restroom.

But there’s good news! It’s a myth that LBL is something all women will experience because of menopause, and there are things you can do to manage any unwelcome leaks. Here are five simple tips to help keep you dry and comfortable.

1. Wear the Right Protective Products

Wear an absorbent pad or pantiliner designed just for bladder leaks if you’re going to be out and about. These pads and liners look and feel very similar to menstrual pads and liners, but are designed for very different needs. Because they are specifically designed to absorb bladder leaks, they can often hold two to three times as much urine as a menstrual pad or liner. They also do a better job of controlling odors caused by urine. Our blog post on Incontinence Products vs. Feminine Products further explores the differences between these products.

2. Stay Hydrated

Dehydration can cause constipation, and constipation can contribute to bladder leakage for some women. Drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day (although not too much), eat plenty of fiber, and exercise regularly to keep things moving.

3. Manage Your Schedule

When scheduling your workday, consider scheduling visits to the bathroom on regular, timed intervals throughout the day. This will give you time to change your protective products and help with training your bladder. It may be helpful to keep an incontinence journal for 5-7 days to pinpoint when you’re most likely to visit the bathroom, and then build your schedule from there.

4. Avoid Certain Foods and Drinks

Avoid caffeine and other drinks or foods that can irritate the lining of the bladder. If you don’t like drinking plain water, find one or two alternative drinks that are caffeine and acid free to substitute. And please note, sodas (even if caffeine-free) are very acidic and should be avoided. Our blog post on Foods and Drinks that can Trigger Incontinence has more information on items that can irritate the bladder.

5. Keep Your Pelvic Floor Muscles Strong

Try pelvic floor muscle exercises, also known as Kegel exercises. These exercises are most effective for LBL, not heavier incontinence. To do this exercise, lie on the ground with your legs apart and feet flat on the floor. Gently contract your pelvic floor muscles as if you were trying to stop the flow of urine. Hold this contraction for a few seconds and then release. Continue these exercises, completing three sets of 15 each day. With regular exercise, you should see an improvement within a few months.

If heavier incontinence is a problem, consider having a thorough evaluation of your pelvic floor.  It’s possible, especially in menopause, that there is pelvic floor prolapse. In this situation, the nerves that control the bladder may not be connecting well with the pelvic muscles. This requires physical therapy and core strengthening. Kegel exercises could make incontinence worse if you have an undiagnosed pelvic floor muscle spasm, so be sure to check with your physician before getting started.

Remember, one in three women who are experiencing menopause are also experiencing LBL. You’re NOT alone! To connect with other women experiencing light bladder leakage in menopause, visit our incontinence forum. We’d love to hear your experiences, questions, and suggestions.

Closer Look: Pad and Pant Systems

Posted by on February 9, 2016 under BladderMatters | Be the First to Comment

Pad and Pant Systems for Incontinence

While advancements are being made every day in the incontinence product industry, many people still want to rely on good, old underwear. This is possible through pad and pant systems. These systems take regular underwear, create a pocket for a pad, and together they keep the wearer dry.

Many people enjoy the air flow that is allowed by wearing cotton. It should be noted that many incontinence products, like pull-ups or adult diapers, are no longer plastic backed, meaning that air flow is less of an issue for those using these products. But still, the super-soft 100% cotton that these underwear pairs are made from is hard to beat.

At TotalHomeCareSupplies.com, we sell three different types of pant liners that can be used in the underwear, two from the same brand. One is Prevail’s Pant Liners, which are created with elastic to help the pad move with you. The other offering from Prevail is their overnight pads. Both of these Prevail products are latex free.

The third product is Dignity’s double pads, which have no moisture-proof backing or adhesive strip to interfere with either the pad and pant system or a diaper or a pull-up to add absorbance.

Do you have any questions about the pad and pant systems? Leave it below and we’ll try to get to is as soon as possible!

Foods and Drinks that can Trigger Incontinence

Posted by on January 7, 2016 under BladderMatters | Be the First to Comment

Foods and Drinks that can Trigger Incontinence Blog Post

Original post written by Dr. Anna Garrett for LiveConfidently.com

Some foods and drinks can aggravate urge incontinence (overactive bladder). There’s no formal “urinary incontinence diet,” so finding out what worsens your symptoms is a process of trial and error. Since we’re all unique individuals, what sends one person running for the bathroom may be just fine for another.

Let’s take a look at six common diet culprits that can irritate the bladder and worsen the symptoms of incontinence.

1. Too Much Water

When you’re bothered by urinary incontinence, there’s a fine line between preventing dehydration and worsening your incontinence. Most sources recommend drinking eight 8 oz. cups of water daily. However, four to six 8 oz. cups may be an amount that prevents dehydration and unexpected trips to the bathroom. Managing fluids helps the symptoms of both stress and urge incontinence.

2. Alcoholic Beverages

If you have urge incontinence or mixed urinary incontinence (a combination of urge and stress), alcoholic beverages can be bad news. Alcohol has a direct effect on the bladder, reduces nerve control, and acts as a diuretic that can cause dehydration. It interferes with the messages your brain sends to your bladder (telling it when to go, when to hold urine, etc.) so you’re more likely to have an incontinence episode.

3. Caffeine

Caffeine stimulates the bladder and also acts as a diuretic. It’s best to eliminate coffee and other caffeine sources (tea, chocolate, soda) completely from your diet when you have urinary incontinence. Giving up your daily “cup of joe” can be difficult because caffeine withdrawal can cause headaches and fatigue. A slow taper may make this process more manageable. If you can’t give it up completely, cut back to one cup of coffee a day and don’t drink it after 7 pm.

4. Spicy Foods

If you have urge incontinence (overactive bladder), you may want to avoid foods that contain hot peppers, chili powder, horseradish, or other pungent spices. Spicy foods can irritate the lining of the bladder and worsen the symptoms of incontinence. Again, pinpointing the spicy culprits is all about trial and error. Eliminate the prime suspects, then add them back one at a time until you identify the source.

5. Acidic Foods

If you have urinary incontinence, it’s wise to avoid acidic foods and drinks, including tomatoes, orange juice, cranberry juice, and other items. Citrus-based foods and drinks are highly acidic and tend to irritate the bladder. Cranberry juice is often used to help bladder infections, but it does not help with overactive bladder and urge incontinence.

6. Carbonated Drinks

The carbon dioxide in carbonated drinks (with or without caffeine) can irritate a sensitive bladder, which can set off urge incontinence. Try to stick to natural beverages, like water or non-acidic fruit and vegetable juices.

Where to Begin

An elimination diet may feel like you’re giving up everything you love, but the likelihood is that you aren’t sensitive to everything on the list of top offenders. Begin by eliminating everything in your diet that you suspect may be causing problems. Once you’ve determined if this approach helps your symptoms, you can begin to add things back one at a time to see if you can tolerate small amounts. If your incontinence symptoms worsen, you will know that the item you added back to your diet is something you need to eliminate permanently. You may want to download and print our Diet Journal Page (PDF) to help keep track of what you’ve eaten and the side effects. Using trial and error, you’ll create a personal diet plan that works for you and your incontinence symptoms.

What are some foods and drinks that irritate your incontinence symptoms? What steps have you taken to modify your diet to avoid these items? Head over to our incontinence forum to share your experiences!

Closer Look: Underpads

Posted by on December 31, 2015 under BladderMatters | Be the First to Comment

Closer Look Series Underpads Blog Post

As part of our continuing Closer Look series, we thought we’d wrap up 2015 by checking out underpads. These items come in a variety of sizes and come in both disposable and reusable types. We sell both types on TotalHomeCareSupplies.com.

Underpads are sold in different sizes, and it may take some experimenting to decide which you like best. One also needs to consider where the underpad will be used. Common places are in a bed, on a chair or a wheelchair. Our largest underpad is Prevail’s 30×36 (inches). Our most narrow underpad (which is great for dining room chairs or narrow wheelchairs) is Prevail’s 23×36. Our most popular underpad is Prevail’s 30×30. Not sure which size will suit your needs best? We offer a two-pack sample of Prevail’s 30×30 underpad. From there you can decided if you need something smaller or larger or if the 30×30 is perfect.

We also sell a reusable underpad, LewJan’s 34×36. If incontinence is a long-term problem or you’re concerned about creating waste, this product may be what you’re looking for. The product is made from 80% polyester and 20% cotton, and does contain latex. Because of the waterproof binding this item is created with, moisture is unable to leak over the edges. With daily use, this underpad can last several months, if the washing instructions are followed carefully.

Underpads are a great backup item for anyone with incontinence issues, but can also be used to give skin a break. In a private moment, underpads can be placed on a chair and the wearer of the incontinence products can sit on them, diaper or pull-up free, to watch a show or nap. This can allow skin some much needed fresh air time that can help keep the user healthy.

Adult Briefs with a Better Fit

Posted by on October 29, 2015 under BladderMatters | Be the First to Comment

Adult Briefs with a Better Fit Blog Post

One of the reasons that adult briefs leak is that they don’t fit well. But what can a person do if they’re between sizes, or if they’re just more active than their brief will allow?

We recommend trying Prevail’s Stretch Fit. The main difference in these briefs from others in the Prevail product line are the tabs. The tabs stretch, creating the perfect brief for individuals who find themselves between sizes. Stretchy side panels are easy to grab, pull and attach for an adjustable fit that is secure and comfortable. Additionally, these tabs are the Easy-Lock Fastener® (ELF®) type – they grip and hold without being sticky. The entire outer cover is a refasten zone, allowing for multiple tab refastening for improved fit, accurate sizing and cost savings through reduced waste.

These briefs also have many of the features that make Prevail briefs both convenient to use and trustworthy. They have a simple design on the front of the brief that discreetly lets the user or the caregiver know what size is of the brief. The Skin Smart® Fabric on the inside of the brief is hypoallergenic and contains aloe, chamomile and vitamin E for skin wellness. Lastly, the cloth-like outer fabric on the outside of the brief means better air flow for the wearer, and makes the brief less likely to rustle when the wearer is moving.

Please keep in mind that Prevail is in the middle of a packaging change, and so your briefs may or may not arrive looking just like the package shown here. But please be assured that the product on the inside is the same quality as always!

Five Tips for Controlling Incontinence During Pregnancy

Posted by on September 10, 2015 under BladderMatters, Everything Baby | Be the First to Comment

women incontinence

Original post written for LiveConfidently.com

Light bladder leakage is common during and just after pregnancy, but can easily be controlled with the right products and lifestyle choices. This happens for many reasons, including heredity, hormonal changes, or weight gain, which are all causes of stress incontinence. During pregnancy, stress incontinence occurs when your uterus grows larger and adds weight to your bladder, giving you less space to store urine. If the women in your family experienced light bladder leakage during or after their pregnancies, there’s a greater chance that you will also experience some form of stress incontinence during or after pregnancy. Read on for five helpful tips on controlling bladder leakage and urinary incontinence during pregnancy.

Note: Before reading our tips, it’s important to make sure that you’re actually leaking urine and not amniotic fluid, which is clear and does not have a smell. If you think it could be amniotic fluid, call your doctor as soon as possible.

1. Select the right products.

Thinking that bladder leakage is solely linked to old age, many pregnant women use feminine pads for protection instead of incontinence-specific products. Feminine products are not made to soak up that much liquid and can also increase the chances of urine odors after some leakage. It’s best to find a pad or brief that is specifically designed for light bladder leakage. Not only will you feel much more comfortable, but you also won’t have to worry about any unwanted smells. You may want to read our blog post on incontinence products versus feminine products for more information.

2. Do your Kegel exercises!

When done in repetition over time, Kegel exercises can strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and greatly improve your bladder control. To begin, lie on the floor and squeeze or pull in the pelvic floor muscles. Keep them tight for several seconds, release, and repeat. It’s a simple exercise that doesn’t take much time, and could make all the difference in controlling your bladder. You may want to read our blog post on pelvic floor muscle exercises for more information.

3. Try to keep the weight gain to a minimum.

Added weight only means added pressure on your bladder. It’s impossible to avoid gaining some weight during pregnancy, but with the right diet and low-impact exercises you can greatly decrease your risk for light bladder leakage. Talk to your doctor to design a meal plan that will give you and your baby the proper nutrition without weighing down your stomach with empty calories.

4. Drink eight glasses of water a day.

Many people who suffer from stress incontinence don’t drink enough water, thinking this will make their situation better. Unfortunately, this can make your bladder leakage much worse. Not only will this leave you more susceptible to dehydration and urinary tract infections, but it can also make your urine more concentrated and cause unwanted odors.

5. Cross those legs.

As a last line of defense, it can help to cross your legs when you’re about to sneeze, cough, or laugh. Of course it’s impossible to predict these things, so it’s always best to make sure you’re wearing the right product for your level of bladder leakage.

Have some tips to add? Head over to our incontinence during pregnancy forum to discuss this topic with people just like you!

You can find the original article here.

Incontinence Products vs. Feminine Products

Posted by on July 28, 2015 under BladderMatters | Read the First Comment

Pads and liners

Original post written for LiveConfidently.com

For women, bladder control issues can occur at various stages of life. Light bladder leakage is most commonly experienced during pregnancy, after childbirth, and throughout menopause. When these symptoms of incontinence arise, many women use feminine hygiene products for protection due to convenience or their level of comfort selecting and purchasing these products in the store. However, not all absorbent products are equal, and using feminine hygiene products for incontinence needs can lead to issues with odor and leakage.

Consider this example. While pantiliners for feminine hygiene and incontinence needs appear similar at a glance, there are important product differences. Pantiliners for feminine hygiene are designed to absorb small amounts of occasional discharge, while pantiliners for incontinence protection are designed to rapidly absorb and lock away urine flow. Incontinence protection products for women are also available for a multitude of absorbency needs, ranging from very light liners to more absorbent pads. In general, these products are designed to lock fluid away so an active person doesn’t have to worry about leakage during normal daily activities.

Many modern incontinence protection products also include odor control systems that neutralize the creation of odors caused by urine. This means that the products actually prevent odors from forming instead of attempting to conceal odors by masking them with a fragrance. To find out which incontinence protection products are available for your needs, take a look at our incontinence product selector tool.

On occasion, women are embarrassed to purchase incontinence products and instead buy feminine hygiene products for their light bladder leakage needs. This occurs because feminine care products are considered a normal part of women’s protection needs, while incontinence may be viewed as a medical issue or problem. Increasingly, incontinence products are being designed to look and feel like feminine hygiene pads and pantiliners to reinforce a sense of normalcy when purchasing or using these products. In addition to retail store locations, products are available through online retailers for worry-free shipping and convenience. You may want to refer to our product retailer locator for a list of stores and websites that sell incontinence protection products.

What factors do you take into consideration when purchasing products for light bladder leakage? Let us know on our female incontinence forum!

You can find the original article here.