Battling Incontinence in Your Elder Years

June 24, 2013 by  
Filed under AGING

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TENA Men Level 2 incontinence protection - SCA Hygiene Matters
As we age we all become prone to the many natural afflictions that come with a body withered by time. One of the most common health afflictions we experience as we get older is incontinence, or the involuntary secretion of urine and bowel contents. For some families this can be the sure sign that an elder loved one may require assisted homecare or to be moved into an assisted living home. Our senior loved ones are proud and do not want to be a bother, especially with a problem so personal and often try to keep their incontinence hidden form their loved ones. It is important to constantly check in on your elder loved ones to make sure they are healthy but it is definitely recommended that they see a doctor at least once a year so that they may address personal health concerns like this as soon as possible. Incontinence is almost always an effect of an underlying condition that can be treated. The problem is that is one of the most under-reported conditions to practitioners. If an elder loved one suffers and has suffered from one of the following conditions it is a good idea to check in on them and perhaps ask if they can still control the bladder and bowel secretions:


  • Stroke
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Spina Bifida
  • Any sort of Spinal Cord injury

All of the above conditions are known to interfere with nerve function of the bladder. In the case of men, the most common causes of incontinence is an enlarged prostate as it can put extra pressure against the bladder when it swells up. For women, stress urinary incontinence is a highly common condition that results from loss of support of the urethra, which is a common consequence of damage to the pelvic support structures in childbirth. Here are some healthy habits and practices that can help our elders battle incontinence as well as help those younger reduce their chances of experiencing it later in life:

  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and cola beverages; they stimulate the bladder more and overtime can put extra tax on it to the point where it is too strained to hold as long as you desire.
  • Exercise the pelvic muscles more often. Squats are good for these muscles but no form of exercise hits them like kegels. Kegels work the sphincter and pelvic floor muscles and have been found to tremendously improve bladder control. Women could benefit from the use of vaginal cones which involves using mild reflex contractions of the vagina and requires little effort on the part of the user.
  • Absorbent pads, briefs, and adult diapers can be used to help those with more severe cases such as those prone to incontinence during seizures.
  • Eat a diet rich in anti-oxidants and Omega-3 fatty acids. Both of these nutrients promote healthy blood flow and overall better circulation of fluids in the body.

In addition to these healthy practices there are also various surgical procedures to address incontinence help those who suffer from maintain control of their secretion habits. Incontinence is a very private and personal matter but it is one nobody should feel ashamed to report to their doctor or actively attempt to address in any natural way.

About the Author:

Martha June Whitman is a writer that specializes in the benefits of incontinence underwear and tranquility briefs. After working as a geriatric caregiver for 28 years she enjoys helping others with her knowledge and experience in her writing.

New Mothers – 10 Health Tips for Women After Delivery

December 29, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it!

This video features 10 health tips for new mothers. These recommendations are based on expert clinical guidelines published in UpToDate online version 19.3, and the American Academy of Family Physicians. This video was produced by Nicholas Cohen, MD in 2011.

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

Hab It: Pelvic Floor Optimal Posture Review

August 21, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it!

Optimal Posture Tips for Women Women’s Physical Therapist Tasha Mulligan discusses female posture and the role it plays in addressing symptoms of pelvic floor weakness such as incontinence and prolapsed.. Special information for pregnant and post-partum women! Poor posture can put stress on your lower back and abdominal basket, exacerbating problems with your pelvic floor muscles. Unless you work to achieve optimal posture, the road to rehabilitation may be longer than necessary. This video will help you understand proper posture and alignment, and how to achieve and maintain it throughout your exercises. Relevant Links: ;

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

Bladder & Pelvic Floor Health Tips for Incontinence, Overactive Bladder, UTI

July 16, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it!

Bladder & Pelvic Floor Health Tips for Incontinence, Overactive Bladder, UTI Ali Bennatt, PT specializes in the treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction in men and women at the Relate Center in Austin, Texas. In this video she discusses bladder health and how to determine if you have a healthy bladder pattern. She addresses what is normal and how to assess the health of your urinary tract and normalize your cycle. Ali uses her specialized training in pelvic floor and gynecological physical therapy to assist clients in overcoming the musculoskeletal issues that contribute to sexual difficulties. She is a licensed physical therapist and has been in private practice, treating pelvic floor related disorders in both men and women, since 2000. Visit Ali’s website: Read Ali’s article “Simple Strategies for a Healthy Pelvic Floor” http This video was produced by Psychetruth © Copyright 2011 Target Public Media LLC. All Rights Reserved. overactive bladder “overactive bladder” healthy urinary tract infection UTI stress incontinence weak lose control pelvic floor urge need to pee pants often urinate overflow bathroom problems health fitness beauty bedwetting leak leakage amazing tips frequency how body works kidney psychetruth

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

More Incontinence Products

March 20, 2008 by  
Filed under ALZHEIMER'S

Today, as I continue the discussion about incontinence in those affected with Alzheimer’s disease  I’ll talk about proper skin care, odor control and keeping yourself as a caregiver protected.

Yesterday’s post was dedicated to incontinence related products.  They work wonders in preventing leaks and stains when accidents occur.  However, the sealing characteristic that makes the products effective is the same one that causes potential skin issues.

The products tend to seal moisture IN.  That’s great for clothing and furniture, but not so great for skin; as the urine and or feces then remains in contact with the skin.  That is why the number one measure for protecting skin is CLEANLINESS. 

Pads and undergarments must be changed frequently.  AND the area must be cleaned gently with mild soap and water or wipes.

There are several products on the market, that are kin to diaper cream for babies.  They are creams, potions and lotions that form a moisture proof barrier on the skin.  I must stress though that the use of these creams does NOT replace the need for undergarments to be changed frequently and for a thorough washing of the soiled area.  It is also important for the affected person to change positions and/or shift weight often so as not to put too much pressure on one area for too long.

There are several mild soaps on the market, usually labeled as personal care wash or perineal or peri-wash.  These are formulated specifically to be used in the genital areas.  Most are safe for men and women. 

Antisceptic/anti-bacterial sprays are convenient because many of them are “no rinse” formulas and designed to kill germs and neutralize odors. Most do have fragrance of some kind, so be on the lookout for allergic reactions.

Now, as to the potential odor in the room.  Better to prevent odor than to attempt to remove it. But, if you have dealt with this issue you are well aware that as we have stated in earlier posts, everyone poops and the truth is that sometime it doesn’t smell very good.  First line of defense, crack a window (and keep it cracked).  It’s important to have fresh air circulating. 

Grocery stores and the mega marts have a plethora of air fresheners.  Most just perufme the air.  Personally, I like one called pure citrus.  Its a little pricy, over $4.00 for a 7 ounce can at the store, but it’s available on line for a much better price.  It worked for us.  Seemed to clean the air and leave a LIGHT citrus smell.  Find one you like and keep plenty close by. 

During my caregiving  years, I found that there were so many products that I needed someone to guide me through them and explain which ones were best given my mom’s situation at the time.  You might find it helpful to call a company that specializes in medical supplies, explain your specifics and allow them to give you some advice.  Try Kanawha Medical.  I believe you’ll find the customer service department to be knowlegable and genuinely interested in helping you to find the best products possible.

It feels terribly impersonal, but consider wearing gloves.  Lets’ face it, you are not dealing with toxic or nuclear waste.  You are however dealing with bodily waste.  It’s easy to spread bacteria and gloves do provide a barrier.  Of course, the best barrier is thorough handwashing.  Running your hands under the faucet for 10 seconds or rubbing that antibacterial gel for 5 seconds, is NOT  handwashing.  You should sing “Happy Birthday” twice while you are washing your hands with soap and water, it should take about 30 seconds.

Below you’ll find the links for the week’s posts thus far.   Yes, incontinence is a difficult part of Battling the Monster, Alzheimer’s Disease, but it is doable and my goal is to help you to say, “I can do this” and provide you with the information and tools to make your job easier.

You Gotta Do What You Gotta Do….Dealing With Incontinence

Alzheimer’s Disease and Incontinence

Incontinence Products

Up for tomorrow.  Caregiver’s Corner

Incontinence Products

March 19, 2008 by  
Filed under ALZHEIMER'S

For the last couple of days, we have been talking about incontinence.  It’s not a pleasant subject, but it is definitely one that deserves attention as nearly all people affected with Alzheimer’s disease eventually become incontinent.

Today, we’ll talk about incontinence products for men and women.  You might find it helpful to read the previous posts on this subject: 

You Gotta Do What You Gotta do….Dealing With Incontinence 

 Alzheimer’s Disease and Incontinence 

These posts will give you background and courage to deal with this sometimes embarrassing and difficult issue.

Although incontinence is caused by several different factors, there are really only two types of incontinence.  Either you are dealing with urinary incontinence, the inability of a person to voluntarily control his or her bladder; or fecal incontinence, the inability of a person to voluntarily control his or her bowels; or it could be both.

Incontinence is one of the primary reasons that caregivers finally give up and place their loved ones in nursing facilities.  We’ll discuss the question of when is it time to place a loved one in a nursing facility at a later date. For now though, I want you to know that as the primary caregiver your family and loved one have entrusted you with a tremendous responsibility, and trust that you will consider all the options and make the best decision for everyone involved.

So, let’s talk about some incontinence products that will make it a little easier to keep your loved one protected.

Pads–These come in various levels of absorbency and are made for men and women.  Effective for low to moderate urinary incontinence, they are usually worn with cloth underwear and changed as necessary. 

Protective Underwear–Made for men and women, and called by various names.  They come in a wide variety of absorbencies and are basically adult disposable diapers.  They can be used in conjunction with the pads mentioned above or stand alone.

The most popular brands are Depends and Poise (both by Kimberley Clark). They can be purchased at grocery stores, pharmacies, and warehouse stores.  They can also be purchased online and from medical supply companies.  There are other brands.  It may be best to experiment to see what is most comfortable and effective.

Disposable bed pads–These pads are lightweight and can be placed on the bed to keep the sheets from getting soiled.  They come in two sizes and two levels of absorbency.  They can also be used in chairs or wherever your loved one may have an accident.

Reusable bed pads–This pad is larger and heavier than the disposable version.  It is waterproof and sturdy enough to be washed and reused several times.

Plastic Mattress Covers–These will keep the mattress from getting wet and or soiled if the above measures fail for some reason.  An inexpensive plastic shower curtain works as well.

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about:

Keeping your loved one’s skin healthy, keeping your loved one clean and odor free and doing it all in a way that is safe and sanitary for you as a caregiver.

Alzheimer’s Disease and Incontinence

March 18, 2008 by  
Filed under ALZHEIMER'S

Yesterday, we talked about the fact that incontinence and Alzheimer’s disease are companions.

Today, I want us to investigate incontinence a little deeper. We’ll look at types of incontinence and some differences between men and women. Hopefully, we’ll help you to be able to ask the right questions and/or figure out if your loved one’s incontinence is temporary and due to some underlying medical issue, or if it’s the incontinence brought on as Alzheimer’s disease progresses.

Women are more likely than men to be incontinent. Chalk that up to pregnancy, the resulting childbirth, menopause, and the structure of the female urinary tract.

There are also several different types of incontinence. I’ll go through them quickly, just to give you an idea.

Stress–Leakage generally caused by coughing, exercising, laughing, sneezing. or some physical pressure on the internal abdominal area.

Urge–Urination begins at the same time the urge to go is felt. The bladder contracts for seemingly no reason. Can be brought on by the sound of water or even by the washing of impacted person’s hands.

Overflow–Usually caused by a physiological issue that causes the bladder to be full most of the time.

Functional–Caused by brain function issues, such as inability to carry out the steps necessary to go to to the bathroom when the urge is felt. Inability to translate the feeling into urge to use the bathroom, and/or deterioration of brain function.

A urologist or gynecologist can help to make the proper diagnosis. In the early stages, simply adjusting liquid intake or prompting affected person to use the bathroom may be helpful. You do want to rule out physiological issues if your loved one is in the earlier stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Even something as simple as a urinary tract infection can cause urinary incontinence.

Now, here’s the tricky part, getting your loved one to ACT NOW before it gets unsanitary and embarrassing for all involved. There is no easy way to approach the subject, but the smarter way is earlier rather than later. If you start talking about it while your loved one can still communicate fairly logically, it will be easier. If the affected one understands that she has Alzheimer’s disease, then that may take away a little of the resistance.

Explain that incontinence doesn’t make her any less of a person (mom, grandmother, sister, wife), it’s just an inconvenient part of Battling Alzheimer’s disease. Often, by the time the affected person is incontinent, he or she is in the later stages of the disease and it may just be a matter of selecting the best products and using them without the need for explanation or coaxing on your part.

Even still, you’ll need some information and guidance as to the products, how to use them properly and how to manage the process  so that it is clean and healthy for you and your loved one. That’s what we’ll talk about in the upcoming posts.

Until then, remember … Like I said in the post, “You gotta do what you gotta do….dealing with Incontinence.”  Everyone poops!

You Gotta Do What You Gotta Do….Dealing With Incontinence

March 17, 2008 by  
Filed under ALZHEIMER'S

Happy Monday!

Did you get some REST over the weekend?  I hope you did, cuz Monday isn’t comin’ it is here.  Which means, if you are in the sandwich generation, it’s time to deal with school, extra curricular activities and caregiving.  If you are not in the sandwich, you are back to the workweek and still have lots to do.

I thought we’d spend the first part of this week talking about an uncomfortable, but almost inevetible part of Alzheimer’s caregiving.  Incontinence. 

Incontinence is the inability of a person to voluntarily control his or her bladder and or bowel functions.  Usually, it doesn’t  happen all at once, it takes place over a period of time.  Often bladder function fades first, followed by a decrease or disappearance of bowel control.  Maybe, granny’s urges are strong and when she says she has to go, she means she has to go NOW.  It could be that grandpa “leaks” a little and starts to have a slight (or not so slight) odor; or it could be that mom, who has become completely incontinent, has little to no control of her urinary and or bowel functions.

Fact:  People with Alzhiemer’s disease will eventually become incontinent.  The disease impacts brain function.  It is important to note that incontinence is NOT forgetting where the bathroom is or forgetting the steps required to locate and properly use the bathroom.  Incontinence in the person affected with Alzheimer’s disease is about the brain not working.  I mentioned in a earlier post that my mom and my son passed each other on the developmental spectrum.  He was growing and she was regressing.  As the brain loses function, they become like babies in almost every sense. Incontinence is part of what I call the “going back” syndrome.

Okay, let me just say it straight.  Urine is urine and poop is poop.  It’s not nuclear waste.  It’s not toxic waste and it won’t kill you!  As a matter of fact, everyone poops! 

We’ll get to the details of handling this issue later in the week, but for now, I need you to just understand that like your toddler teething, teenager driving and the IRS looking to hear from you on April 15, incontinence is coming.  So stay tuned and we’ll talk about what to do about it, how to handle the embarrassment associated with it, and some products and medications to make it more manageable. 

Believe me, if your loved one is NOT excreting then you have a much bigger issue to worry about.  So let’s navigate these murky (no pun intended) waters together as we explore the best ways to handle that which is inevitable for those of us who find ourselves in the honored position of Alzheimer’s caregivers.

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.