May is National Stroke Awareness Month, and we have some important information for caregivers and those who have suffered a stroke.
Strokes are a leading cause of incontinence; in fact, more than 50 percent of stroke survivors experience incontinence. A stroke can significantly weaken the muscles that control bladder and bowel functions, which can lead to symptoms ranging from slight leakage (stress incontinence) to total loss of control (urge or overflow). Many stroke survivors are able to rebuild strength in those muscles; but for others, incontinence is permanent.
Whether you’re managing incontinence for a few months or several years, regaining your freedom and confidence depends on finding the right products to meet your needs. With so many brands, styles, and features, it’s easy to end up in the wrong product. To eliminate leaks, discomfort, odor, and embarrassment, consider these important factors:
- Absorbency Level
- Skin Protection
- Bowel Incontinence
The level of absorbency you need depends on the severity of your incontinence. If you have slight leakage when you sneeze or cough, you can use a less absorbent product, such as a pad or liner worn in regular underwear. Moderate to heavy incontinence may require a high-absorbency product, such as disposable absorbent underwear (pull-on) or a tape tab style brief (diaper). These products are designed to comfortably absorb two or more full bladder voids (loss of urine). Some can hold as much as 44 oz. of fluid at one time.
An often overlooked, but very important factor in incontinence care is skin protection. The wrong product—either because of low absorbency or the wrong fit—can chafe or leave wetness against the skin. This can cause skin irritation, diaper rash, skin sores, and pressure wounds; if left unmanaged, even more severe health effects can develop.
Choosing a correctly sized, high-absorbency product should keep your skin dry and give you more time between changes. Be sure to monitor your skin and make sure you address any developing sores or irritation quickly. If your diaper or brief feels damp against your skin, or there is any bowel loss present, change into a new product right away.
The Tranquility® Product Family is carefully designed to maximize skin health. The unique blend of absorbent materials locks moisture away from the skin, reduces odor, and inhibits bacterial growth, which allows for extended wear and drier skin.
Bowel incontinence is another common result of a stroke—affecting 10 to 20 percent of those with incontinence. Bowel incontinence presents different challenges than urinary incontinence alone: the persistent exposure to fecal matter can irritate the skin and cause severe dermatitis or skin breakdown. Many adult diapers and briefs are not designed to contain bowel loss.
When choosing a product, select something with an absorbent layer that extends all the way up the back. Even more crucial, make sure the product features a special barrier that keeps bowel loss from leaking out.
Tranquility Products are designed with Kufguards®—inner leg cuffs that channel the bowel loss in the diaper, preventing embarrassing and uncomfortable leaks.
Don’t Go It Alone
Managing incontinence is rarely easy, but you don’t have to face it alone. Consult your medical professional and call Comfort Plus for assistance in finding the right incontinence solution to meet your needs. Our incontinence specialists can help you choose the right style, the best fit, and provide the right level of absorbency.