LIVING WITH INCONTINENCE
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What is functional incontinence?
As the name suggests, functional incontinence is caused by a physical, cognitive or environmental barrier to getting to the toilet in time. Unlike other types of incontinence, it’s not usually a bladder or bowel problem. That said, it is possible to have both functional incontinences, as well as stress Stress incontinence in Men or urge Male Urge Incontinence incontinence, and even all three.
Causes of functional incontinence
As mentioned, the causes fall into three categories; physical, cognitive and environmental.
Discuss it with your doctor
If you or the person you care for is suffering from functional incontinence, discuss it with your doctor. While they may not be able to fix the underlying cause, there are other aspects they can check, such as:
Managing functional incontinence
Although the causes of functional incontinence can’t usually be corrected, there are things you can try to improve management.
For physical barriers, consider:
For cognitive barriers, try:
Environmental barriers are often the most difficult to manage as they’re typically unexpected. You may be at a café or restaurant, travelling or at a friend’s house when you discover that getting to the toilet is going to be very difficult. To prepare for these situations, it may be best to ‘expect the worst’ and use a disposable product like TENA Pants – just in case.
If you’re a carer, you may find this article, Practical Tips for Carers Managing Incontinence at Home, useful.
The psychological toll of incontinence
The impact of incontinence on a person’s wellbeing should never be underestimated. Whether it’s you or someone your caring for, the condition can cause embarrassment and shame as well as being an indicator of deterioration. Further, it can interfere with everyday activities such as sleep, outings and social interactions, curbing the sufferer’s quality of life.
Research has shown the emotional stages of incurable incontinence can mirror that of grief, including denial, anxiety, frustration, anger and depression.
You can read more about these in this article; Incontinence can take a psychological toll on men.
If you or the person your caring for is experiencing low mood because of incontinence (or any other reason for that matter), take action. Speak with your doctor about a referral to a psychologist or contact your local mental health organisation; Beyond Blue in Australia and the Mental Health Foundation in New Zealand.
Additional articles that may be of interest to carers are:
Products for managing functional incontinence
While women find the use of pads familiar, men can struggle with the concept. The reality is that once men discover how comfortable, discreet and absorbent they are, they don’t look back.
For men who’ve not used protective products before, this article, Understanding Incontinence Pads for Men explains more about the products, how to wear them, and how to dispose of them. It also busts a lot of myths men have about wearing ‘pads’.
Choosing the right product for you (or the person you care for) is essential in optimising management. TENA has an extensive range of Men’s Products and Specialist Products which are ideal for those requiring additional support.
With such a selection, TENA has developed a Product Finder Tool to assist in identifying the right one for your needs. This online program steps you through a short series of questions, then suggests products that may be suitable. You can even order free samples. If the samples you request aren’t quite right, come back to the website and try something else. That’s because here at TENA, we’re committed to helping you find the best product for your situation.
Asaleo Care makes no warranties or representations regarding the completeness or accuracy of the information. This information should be used only as a guide and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional, medical or other health professional advice.