Living with incontinence can often be seen as inconvenient and can even embarrassing at times, but it’s also important to think about how it affects us health-wise. Even tiny accidents can result in urine becoming trapped against the skin, which can lead to a host of other problems, including irritation and infection. This is why maintaining good hygiene is especially important for incontinence sufferers. Here are a few helpful tips to keep you clean, fresh and confident.
Wash your hands.
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 could 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.
Change incontinence protection products frequently.
Most people with incontinence use some type of protection product, whether it’s liners and pads or specially designed underwear. Whatever product you prefer, the key is to change them out frequently, which will help to 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.
Use specially formulated cleansers.
Using plain soap and water can actually cause you more harm than good because doing so frequently can dry out and irritate 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.
Wash and dry the affected area as soon as possible following an accident.
If you happen to have a bladder accident, not only is it imperative that you change your pad or underwear as soon as possible, but you should also wash and dry the area as well. This removes bacteria and prevents the skin from becoming further irritated and possibly becoming infected.
Apply creams or ointments.
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 this type of cream or ointment as an added layer of protection.
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, fresh, dry, confident and most important – healthy - all the time!