Bladder Control Products for Women and Men
The Lowdown on Bladder Control
Incontinence can negatively affect the quality of life for both men and women, but fortunately there are a variety of products available to provide relief. For men, options include catheters, specialty underwear, and urine guards. Women have an even wider variety of treatments and products available, including bladder control pads, specialty underwear, and pessaries.
Options for Men
While it may seem that most advertising focuses on bladder control products for women, many men suffer from this condition. There are a multitude of treatment options, and men should not suffer silently or have a lesser quality of life because of poor bladder control.
Catheters are typically a short-term option, but can be used for longer periods of time. There are different types of catheters to suit individual needs, including standard catheters and indwelling Foley catheters. Catheters do have some risks, however. They can cause urinary tract infections and damage to the urethra or penis. Many men find them too uncomfortable to wear and look for other solutions.
Specialty underwear are available for the unique needs of men with poor bladder control. These are not the “diapers” that many men conjure up in their minds. These products are much thinner, more like normal underwear, and they offer more comfort for many men compared to a catheter. They are typically not reusable and cost can be a factor. Some men still find them too bulky and unnatural to wear in public, and may turn to an even more unobtrusive option.
Urine guards are small caps that fit over the penis that collect urine. They are discreet, easy to use, and easy to dispose of. Urine guards offer an excellent alternative to bulkier undergarments. Urine guards are adjustable for comfort, and they are somewhat less expensive than specialty underwear. Most only hold a small amount of liquid, around 2 or 3 ounces, however, so they would best be suited to men with mild to moderate incontinence.
Options for Women
Many women hate the feel of thick, uncomfortable pads. However, pads designed to handle bladder leakage are not the same as menstrual pads. Bladder control pads wick liquid away quickly, and they come in a different lengths and thicknesses. However, pads are not reusable and need to be changed fairly often.
Specialty underwear for women can provide peace of mind without the uncomfortable feel of pads. There are many options, and these undergarments often look exactly like normal underwear, with a hint of padding here and there. They are discreet and can be a great product for many women. There are many brands on the market, providing a variety of styles for every comfort level. They are not typically reusable, however, and they can be expensive.
Pessaries are another option for women. A pessary is a plastic device inserted into the vagina that supports the neck of the bladder, which can prevent urine from leaking. Pessaries can be fitted by a doctor or can be purchased over the counter without a prescription. Pessaries are very discreet and reusable, and they can help treat pelvic-floor prolapse. Pessaries can cause infections and they can be expensive, although insurance will typically cover this form of treatment.
The Future Looks Bright
Men and women no longer have to live with the embarrassment of poor bladder control. There are a myriad of products available to ensure that men and women can have normal, active lives without worrying about bladder leakage. With the advent of new materials and technologies these products will only continue to improve, offering hope for the millions of individuals affected.