My grandfather became incontinent at the age of 72. I was his sole caretaker and I saw how this took a toll on his self esteem. He dreaded social gatherings or leaving the house. Incontinence is the involuntary release of urine.
After his death, I took up a job at a home for the elderly. Most of the men here are incontinent and I read the embarrassment on their faces every time I change their sheets or wipe their messes from the floor. At first, they did not want to talk about it but after bonding they have opened up.
They feel they have lost control of their bodies. They prefer solitude and have opted to be put in the home in fear of rejection. Most keep it secret from their families. ‘I always have a feeling I stink’, one confessed.
There are various products that men with incontinence can use;
- Penile Clamp
This is a clip placed around the penis to prevent urine leakage. It applies pressure gently to stop urine flow through the urethra. They help stop continuous and intermittent urine leakage especially during temporary activities such as exercising. They also ensure that your skin is dry and free from urine irritation. They are re-usable. However, they do not work best for everybody and you need to consult a doctor before making a decision.
- Urine guard
These are disposable urine collectors that are used to contain small leaks or trickles of urine. It is excellent for containing moderate leaks.
- Male Incontinence Pads
These are absorbent pads tailored to accommodate the male body. They are the most popular choice for men who suffer from both urinary and fecal incontinence. They protect clothing by absorbing dribbles and leaks. They vary in size, shape and absorbency to take care of every individual’s need. They should be changed once they become soiled to avoid sore and irritated skin.
- Male Adult Briefs
These are underwear like pads that keep leaks from occurring around the legs. This design keeps them discreet. Some briefs are washable while others are disposable. They come in two designs, one similar to diapers and the other one resembling a normal men’s boxer. They have a moisture liner that acts as a barrier that keeps urine from escaping through its absorbent material.
- External catheters.
The catheters used for male incontinence are silicone or latex devices that go over the penis. They are usually fitted on like condoms. They send the urine to a drainage bag through a tube. It is important to get the right fit to prevent leaks. It is mostly for night use.
- Plastic Urinals and other toilet substitutes.
These are recommended when travelling or when you are a distance away from a toilet. An example of a plastic urinal is a plastic container that a man can urinate into. They are particularly helpful for men with urge incontinence which makes it difficult to get to the restroom fast enough. Keeping one in the car and by your bedside can be of great help.