Incontinence is sometimes just a fact of life—one that millions of people have to deal with.
There’s no reason that it should be any more embarrassing than, say, heart disease or diabetes. And, just like those conditions, it’s best to tackle it head-on so that you can lessen the impact it has on your life–and the activities you enjoy.
By being prepared with the right products and practicing good hygiene you can avoid odors and awkward moments. Even more importantly, you will be protecting your skin and keeping infections at bay.
Here are some helpful incontinence care tips women can use for ease and comfort.
Tip 1: Be Prepared
For some people, incontinence is triggered by sneezing or exertion. For others, it’s an everyday issue.
Either way, bulky adult diapers aren’t the only option anymore. Poise, for example, makes pads specifically designed for urine. They also offer a product called Impressa, which is inserted like a tampon. But it’s not designed for absorbency. Rather, it supports the urethra, which can help prevent leakage.
Depend, meanwhile, offers protective underwear ranging from moderate to overnight absorbency—in lots of options. The Active Fit Briefs, for example, come in three different colors and can be worn under pants as form-fitting as yoga leggings without being noticed.
Even Always, the maker of feminine hygiene products, has joined the incontinence care market with Always Discreet, a line of incontinence pads and underwear. Its “boutique” underwear, which hugs the body and has stylish black flowers, shows how much the market has evolved in the last decade.
Tip 2: Stay Dry
Incontinence products are designed to wick moisture away from the skin, but it’s important to change your pad or undergarment once it’s soiled or wet. Taking this step will help keep your skin from becoming irritated or infected.
Tip 3: Stay Clean
Ideally, we’d all be as lucky as the French and have bidets at home. Short of that option, the next best thing is to wash with mild soap and water and pat dry. If you’re on the go, use wipes. You can use baby wipes, flushable wipes or these wipes that are larger than the kind Pampers makes and specially designed for adults.
Tip 4: Consider Using a Barrier Cream
Creams or ointments that contain zinc oxide, lanolin or petrolatum form a protective barrier on the skin. Applying one of these creams is another step you can take to help protect your skin.
Tip 5: Seek Help for Skin Concerns
If your rash gets worse or does not clear up, make an appointment to have it checked out. You could have a bacterial or fungal infection—and a doctor will be able to guide you toward the right product for your specific needs.
One in four women over the age of 35 is affected by incontinence, according to the National Association for Continence. That statistic tells us two things: One, you’re not alone and two, the medical field has put a lot of research and money into new treatments and therapies. To learn more about incontinence and how you can get back to living your life, check out our guide, When to Get Help for Female Incontinence. You might just be surprised at the options that are available to you.