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Incontinence & Overactive Bladder Health Center

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Bladder Control Protection for Urinary Incontinence

Barrier Device Protection for Urinary Incontinence

In addition to products that absorb urine, there are devices that control the flow.

For men, the primary device is a penile compression clamp. Because there are few studies focused on their efficacy, safety, or comfort, and because of the potential for causing circulation problems, many doctors advise that they be used with extreme caution.

Women have the option of intravaginal support devices -- items such as tampons or vaginal sponges. They can provide temporary continence control by applying pressure on the support tissues of the bladder. This helps keep urine from escaping and is particularly good for stress incontinence, where physical exertion brings on urine loss.

For 24-hour protection, many women find a support pessary helpful. This is a plastic ring-type device that's inserted into the vagina. It also increases pressure on the urethra muscles and adds support to the pelvic region. Because these devices must be fitted to your pelvis size, they require a doctor's visit. They, can, however, be removed by you for cleaning, but should be replaced with a new one each year -- and that necessitates another trip to the doctor. Be aware that -- in some cases -- a pessary can worsen urinary incontinence.

More recently, vaginal guards have become available. Vaginal guards -- disposable polyurethane devices -- come in three sizes. The guard is inserted into the vagina using an applicator and adds support to the pelvic structures and urethra muscles.

Lifestyle Products for Urinary Incontinence

There is also a wide variety of absorbent items that can help make living with incontinence easier.

Among the most popular are waterproof pads that can be placed on almost any type of seating to offer extra protection from "accidents." Although most useful at home, many people feel more secure bringing them along on car, train, plane, or bus trips or when visiting close relatives or friends.

For at-home convenience, you can use absorbent fitted sheets or mattress pads to keep mattresses dry.

Skin Care Treatments

No matter how well your incontinence products work, when urine continually comes in contact with skin, irritation results. Incontinence exposes your skin to moisture, acids, enzymes, and various microorganisms, all of which can change the pH or acid mantle of your skin. That makes it more susceptible to irritation and even infection.

Most experts agree that changing pads or panties whenever you feel significantly wet can help. So can rinsing the genital area with warm water and drying it thoroughly each time you change pads.

Some people find skin care products featuring a moisture barrier helpful in reducing skin irritations. Any products used to treat diaper rash can work very well for protecting skin from incontinence.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood, MD on April 16, 2014
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