Hygiene, Health, and Incontinence
Living with incontinence can be inconvenient and even embarrassing at times, but it’s important to talk openly about how it affects our health. Even the tiniest of accidents can result in urine becoming trapped against the skin, which can lead to a host of other problems, including irritation and infection. Here are Carewell’s top six tips for staying healthy and comfortable.
1. Wash your hands before going to the bathroom.
We all know how important it is to wash our hands following a trip to the bathroom, but for incontinence sufferers, it’s also important to wash beforehand. With everything you touch throughout the day, you can easily transfer bacteria to an already sensitive and infection-prone area of your body while you’re wiping, washing, or changing, so be sure to take the appropriate precautions.
2. Change incontinence protection products frequently.
Most people with incontinence use some type of protection product, ranging from bladder control pads to overnight diapers for adults. Whatever product you prefer, changing frequently will help prevent moisture buildup and subsequent irritation. And, of course, stick with products that are specifically designed to wick moisture away to reduce the chance of problems occurring in between changes.
3. Use specially formulated cleansers.
Using plain soap and water can actually do more harm than good by drying out and irritating sensitive skin. Instead, consider using special cleansers that have been specifically designed for incontinence. These cleansers usually contain moisturizer and have been pH-balanced to reduce skin irritation. Best of all, they come in convenient packages of wipes for ease of use and optimum discretion.
4. Wash and dry the affected area following an accident.
If you have a bladder accident, not only is it imperative that you change your pad and underwear as soon as possible, but you should also wash and dry the area. This removes bacteria and prevents the skin from becoming further irritated and possibly becoming infected.
5. Keep creams and ointments on hand.
Diaper rash cream isn’t just for babies. It’s specifically formulated to produce a protective barrier and soothe sensitive skin. If you are prone to rashes, incontinence dermatitis, or infections, you may want to consider using a protective ointment as an added layer of defense against irritation.
6. Talk to your doctor.
Incontinence is a completely manageable condition, so if you’re struggling more than you think you should be, discussing it with your doctor can help. He or she can provide professional advice and guidance on how to minimize symptoms and prevent accidents from occurring in the first place.
Keeping up with your personal hygiene is an important component of managing your incontinence. By implementing the above tips, you’ll be able to stay clean, dry, confident and most important – healthy – all the time!
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Medically Reviewed by Kiera Powell, R.N.