The WORST Incontinence Advice Ever, Part 2
Here at Men’s Liberty we’re strong supporters of incontinence education. So I was thrilled to see that Dr. Anthony Komaroff of Harvard Medical School wasn’t averse to addressing this issue on his blog!But unfortunately, Dr K.’s advice is only 90% correct. So I wanted to take just a minute to supplement his answer with the missing 10%. His post is in answer to a question from a gentleman in his 70s, dealing with increasing urinary incontinence.
DEAR DOCTOR K:
I’m a man in my late 70s, and I’m having trouble holding my urine. Medicines have helped somewhat, but not completely. My doctor says he’s tried every medicine and that I may have to live with my problem to some degree. Is there anything else you can suggest?
Though you may not guess it from TV ads, losing control of urine — incontinence — is not just a woman’s problem. Men, particularly older men, can have trouble too. Studies find that one in four men your age experience incontinence at least once a year — and as many as one in 10 experience it nearly every day.
If medicines are not fixing the problem completely, there are other ways to manage urinary incontinence that are specifically designed for men.
But first, I should say that many commonly used medicines may actually be a cause of incontinence. I’ve included a table of such medicines at the end of this post. If you’re on any of these, talk to your doctor about whether they might be responsible in your case.
As for treatments other than medicines that might help, several pads and other absorbent products are designed for the male anatomy. Drip shields (with light protection) or guards (that absorb more) with waterproof backings slip over the head of the penis. They can be kept in place with any tight-fitting briefs. For heavier incontinence, you can wear absorbent inserts, shaped to fit men, inside your own underwear or special mesh briefs.
If you have constant leakage, devices that collect rather than absorb urine can help. A condom catheter (or “Texas catheter”) is a soft sheath made of silicone or latex. It fits over the penis like a regular condom. It attaches to a drain tube leading to a urine collection bag. The bag is strapped to your leg, underneath your pants and out of sight.
Another option is a clamp placed around the base of the penis. The device is designed as an inflatable ring or a foam-lined frame. The clamp is tightened just enough to prevent urine from leaking. Every few hours, you loosen the clamp to urinate.
Ongoing incontinence can irritate your skin. After each leak, clean the area with lukewarm water or a gentle soap or cleanser. Then apply diaper rash treatment, or a lotion or cream made for incontinence.
For Dr K.’s full response, click here: What are treatment options for urinary incontinence in men?
The above is all well and good, but what’s he glosses over is the complications. Just look at that last sentence: “ongoing incontinence can irritate your skin”. He also recommends using diaper rash cream to prevent skin irritation.
However, I’d argue that it might be better to just use a product that avoid that skin irritation entirely. Also, maybe a product that is covered by insurance or Medicare. Those pads, ointments and creams can really add up.
So if you’re looking for a healthier option for managing incontinence, consider letting your patients or loved ones know about Men’s Liberty.