Traveling with Infants and Toddlers During Diaper Years

Traveling with infants and toddlers can come with its challenges. But preparing for the number of diaper changes that will happen while on the road or on a plane can feel almost impossible. By packing a sufficient amount of essentials, you can hopefully take a little stress out of the equation and enjoy your trip to its fullest. Keep reading for some tips and checklists that might help make your travels easier with babies, toddlers, or young children.

Traveling with Infants and Toddlers by Air

Flying with young children can have many challenges, especially in the summer months when more people travel for vacations and holidays. Not only do parents have to deal with airport traffic, long TSA lines, flight delays, and COVID protocols, they are doing so with small children. Flying with an infant or toddler can be more manageable by planning ahead.

Per FAA rules, airlines do not require an infant or toddler under the age of two to be seated in their separate seat. Babies or toddlers under the age of two are allowed to sit on the parent’s lap for the duration of their flight; however, the FAA strongly encourages securing your child in a child restraint system (CSR) in their own seat. If your toddler is two years or older, a separate seat must be purchased. It would be helpful to check with the airline to see if they offer a discounted child fare to save some money.

For a full list of airline fees, restrictions, and allowances for traveling with infants and toddlers, visit Skyscanner.

For a complete list of special procedures for traveling with infants and toddlers, visit TSA.gov.

Balmex Diaper Rash OintmentTips for traveling with infants or toddlers by air include:

  • Decide whether your infant needs their own seat and ask if there is a reduced fee.
  • Choose an aisle seat.
  • Double your carry-on bag as a diaper bag.
  • Pack extra supplies

Most airlines allow a stroller to be kept at the front of the plane. However, if your stroller is collapsible, it may fit into the overhead bins. Another important reminder is about the changing air pressure in the cabin as the flight ascends and descends. Feeding your child at these times may help to avoid or reduce any uncomfortable pressure in the ears.

Traveling with Infants and Toddlers by Car

Road trips remain a popular way to travel, especially for families with young children. They offer the benefit of cost savings, schedule flexibility, and convenience.

If you find yourself in a bind and need to change your baby or toddler’s diaper immediately, the following best practices for safety are recommended:

  • Pull your car off onto the shoulder of the road. Ideally, it would be best to pull off on an exit ramp or rest stop, but sometimes that is not an option.
  • Turn the car’s ignition off, and then turn on the hazard lights.
  • Prepare your diaper changing space in your vehicle.
  • Remove your baby or toddler from their car seat to change their diaper.

A baby car kit is a helpful tool to help you stay organized with the essential items needed for a baby’s car changing station. Turn your vehicle into a prepared and ready-to-change diapering area by starting with an efficient container.

Baby getting their diaper changed by their mother on a changing padInfant and Toddler Car Kit Checklist:

NOTE: It is against the law to remove a baby, toddler, or young child from a car seat while the car is in motion. Never attempt to change a diaper while traveling with infants and toddlers while in a moving vehicle. Each state in the U.S. sets car seat and booster seat laws and imposes fines accordingly. For more information, visit Safe Ride 4 Kids for car seat laws by state.

If you’re planning on traveling with infants and toddlers, save yourself time by scheduling time for diaper breaks and equipping your car or carry-on diaper bag with the essential items your child needs. A successful trip will help create an even better vacation with wonderful family memories!

For any questions about the baby diapers, toddler diapers & briefs, or any other products and supplies we carry at Personally Delivered that can help complete your preparation kits for travel, give us a call. One of our friendly, knowledgeable, and compassionate Product Advisors will gladly assist you in building the perfect car travel kit or diaper bag essentials kit for traveling with infants and toddlers. We want to help take some of the stressors away and make sure you have the most enjoyable and memorable trip.

Popular Products for Infants and Toddlers

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Tips for Adjusting to Life After Ostomy Surgery

Discovering that you need ostomy surgery can be frightening and stressful. Having some research under your belt and having the right ostomy supplies for your stoma type and lifestyle can make a significant difference in the quality of your life. We’ve made it easy for you by providing helpful information, product recommendations, and tips to help navigate your journey with an ostomy. Ostomies are lifesavers, so we hope we can be a part of helping you live your best life.

Why Ostomy Surgery May Be Needed

When the urinary or digestive system is malfunctioning, a temporary or permanent ostomy may be needed to allow urine or stool to exit the body through an alternate route. The surgeon will take a piece of either the ureter, small intestine (ilea), or large intestine (colon) and form a new opening on the abdomen (stoma), diverting urine or feces into an ostomy pouch.

There are various medical conditions such as bladder cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and urinary or stool incontinence, to name a few, that may result in ostomy surgery. There are three types of ostomy surgeries. Some of the different causes for the type of ostomy surgery needed are:

Causes for a colostomy

  • Rectal or colon cancer
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
  • Stool incontinence
  • After an operation to allow the large intestine to heal (temporary)

Causes for an ileostomy

  • Chrohn’s disease
  • Diverticulitis
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • When the large intestine is damaged or removed due to cancer or injury
  • After an operation to allow the large intestine to heal (temporary)

Causes for a urostomy

  • Bladder removal due to injury or bladder cancer
  • Severe kidney disease
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Surgical complications from abdominal or pelvic surgery

Ostomy Supplies Needed After Ostomy Surgery

Depending on the type of ostomy surgery you have, there are a wide variety of supplies that you will need to keep your perineal skin healthy and remain comfortable. Aside from the ostomy pouching system consisting of a pouch and skin barrier, other ostomy supplies can make life with an ostomy more manageable.

Know that you have choices when it comes to your ostomy supplies. You may have been sent home with a specific style of pouching system, but you are not bound to those ostomy products. Ostomy pouches and supplies have come a long way from the 1920s. Your stoma size and shape will change over time, and that means you will require different ostomy supplies.

collage of ostomy supplies

What to Eat and Drink After Ostomy Surgery

Discuss food preferences and dietary restrictions with your surgeon before discharge from the hospital after ostomy surgery. It may take some time to regain your appetite after ostomy surgery since your gut will need to recover from the trauma. Some foods and beverages may affect your digestive tract differently than before, causing you to produce excess gas, diarrhea, urine odor, or constipation. It may be helpful to introduce foods and beverages slowly to determine how they will affect you.

Tips for reintroducing foods and beverages after ostomy surgery:

  • Eat small meals throughout the day
  • Chewing all foods thoroughly and slowly will aid digestion
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Limit bowel stimulants for a bit, including coffee, fruit, cereals, and alcohol
  • Avoid fizzy drinks that may cause diarrhea and gas

Once your appetite has returned and your stoma output has become more regular, introducing more vegetables, fruits, proteins, dairy, and grains will help with a balanced diet.

When to Resume Activities After Ostomy Surgery

Once you’ve healed from ostomy surgery, your healthcare professional will let you know if you’re ready to start getting active again. Even when living with an ostomy, you can still participate in many sports, including swimming. Many water-resistant ostomy supplies such as ConvaTec ease strips can help keep the skin barrier in place for added security.

Again, check with your doctor before attempting to resume physical activity, especially sports or strenuous activities like lifting weights. However, once you’ve healed and gotten clearance from your healthcare professional, an ostomy accessory such as an abdominal ostomy support belt may be recommended to help keep your ostomy pouch secure.

Contact sports such as wrestling, boxing, and football should be avoided because of possible injury to the stoma. Make sure to check with your doctor or nurse before attempting these activities.

What about being intimate?

Ostomy surgery changes your body and may affect how sensitive you might feel about being intimate with your partner. Just because you have an ostomy, it doesn’t mean that your sex life has to come to an end. Maintaining meaningful and fulfilling intimate encounters can still be part of you and your life.

Ostomy supplies such as a stoma cap allow for a more discreet feel that is also less prone to getting in the way or caught on fabric. ConvaTec has provided some helpful intimacy tips for those with an ostomy here.

Traveling After Ostomy Surgery

You can most definitely travel after healing from your ostomy surgery. The key is to prepare yourself with enough ostomy supplies. If you are traveling by car, plan your route ahead of time, so you know where there are accessible restrooms along the way. If you travel by air, try seating yourself in an exit aisle and close to the bathroom. You will avoid having to maneuver around other passengers and gain access to the facilities quicker.

various products recommended to keep as an ostomy emergency kitMake sure to pack these suggested ostomy supplies when traveling:

It would be wise to double up on everything in the event you get caught in traffic, or your flight is delayed. When traveling by plane, remember to take all of your ostomy supplies with you in your carry-on bag. You will then have full access when you need them most.

Where to Purchase Ostomy Supplies

With the right ostomy supplies and products, you can get back to living the life you enjoy. At Personally Delivered, we offer high-quality, affordable ostomy supplies from respected and trustworthy manufacturers like ConvaTec, Coloplast, Hollister, and more. With guidance from our knowledgeable and compassionate team of Product Advisors, you will be adjusting to life with an ostomy in no time.

We are available Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm EST at 800-777-1111, or you can email us at CustomerService@PersonallyDelivered.com any time.

Top-Rated Ostomy Products & Accessories

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Using Therapy to Help Your Child Cope After a Trauma

The use of therapy is common after a traumatic event in an effort to help both adults and children improve coping strategies. Trauma is described as an unforeseen circumstance where a person’s physical or emotional wellbeing is disturbed by the stress of the situation. Sometimes the period of grief and sadness last longer than they should. Therapy has been shown to help adults and children understand their feelings and experiences, learn healthy coping skills, connect with support resources, and grow from their traumatic experiences.

Therapy is a very personal decision and is used by many people with medical conditions. After suffering a severe spinal cord injury over 20 years ago that left her significantly paralyzed, our blog contributor, Meena Dhanjal, has found ways to adapt and live an enjoyable life with her husband and children.

Here, Meena shares how therapy has been a lifesaver for both she and her daughter as they navigated through challenging times after her fall.

Therapy as a Coping Mechanism for Children

Fifteen years ago, after my spinal cord injury, I changed my type of parenting for my then three-week-old son and my three-year-old daughter.

My daughter, who witnessed my fall from the balcony, also felt a further blow when her dad and I divorced shortly after that.

When she was born, she was a very quiet yet jolly child.  However, after my accident, she became guarded.  When her dad left, she completely refused any form of affection from me, not even responding to me saying, “I love you.”

When a child goes through a trauma, it is often thought that they are resilient and will get through it; however, I’m afraid I have to disagree.  I also know that early on, she needed therapy.  Unfortunately, finding a good therapist, and being able to afford it, was nearly impossible. Eventually, a priest referred me to a therapist who could help me as well as my daughter.

For children, therapy dynamics change compared to adults. Children have a hard time comprehending and deciphering emotions.  Without treatment, they don’t understand sadness or loss and lack vital coping skills. Therapy can help them better understand and work through difficult emotions and traumatic memories.

Medication Use in Conjunction with Therapy

I also want to be clear that while therapy is enormously useful, so is the use of anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications at times.  While some patients only need it for a short time, there are just as many patients who require them on a long-term basis, and this is nothing to be ashamed of. If anything, I commend these people for having the courage to take a stand and help themselves as I did!  Now my moods are balanced and less scattered.

Guidance for Making Good Choices

We often guide our children to make good choices, but if they haven’t processed the trauma, their choices may become self-destructive.  The longer they struggle, the more profound the destructive behavior.

As adults, we’re expected to be able to cope much better than children. However, this is not always the case, especially after a debilitating injury or illness.

Taking care of my two young kids after my injury was the hardest thing I have ever done. I was less than six months into my paralysis before I had to think like a soldier, and I haven’t stopped. Some have told me that I am still in survival mode fifteen years later. I can’t entirely disagree.

Over the years, I’ve dealt with things one step at a time. Firstly, I became functional and self-sufficient, and then I bought a house and hired a nanny.

So, how do we help our children cope? And what are the resources for parents who also have to watch their pocketbooks?

Signs to Watch for in a Child

young girl wearing jeans and a jean jacket sitting and holding her face in her handsSo, here are a couple of questions that can help you decide if your child needs help:

  • Watch to see how they are processing the trauma. Is your child isolating themselves or avoiding affection from loved ones? They are most likely in fear of getting hurt.
  • Do they understand what happened and that it is not their fault? If they seem sad or unapproachable, then they are not coping.

Early intervention is essential following trauma. In my case, it was hard to find anyone that could even understand the magnitude of the changes within my children and me. Having a therapist you can relate to is as important as one you can trust.

We have all heard the saying life is what you make it, but we aren’t always equipped to handle the emotions when something terrible happens. I attribute my positive thinking to the therapy and activities in which I’ve been involved.

One thing of which I am sure is that we all have a talent.  Sometimes we just need a little help to clear the clutter so we can recognize them.

Finding a Good Therapist Near You

If you have never seen a therapist before, it is a task that requires dedicated effort and time. Many therapists offer their services but finding a “good” one that fits your concerns is not usually a quick process.

Here are a few things to consider when starting your search for a good therapist:

  • Is the therapist licensed? Only therapists with proper training receive a license, and each state is responsible for verifying this.
  • If you have health insurance, will it cover the therapy from this provider?
  • Are there limits to the number of sessions covered by your insurance?

Two websites for locating therapists or psychologists include:

  1. Psychologist Locator
  2. National Register

Another way to find a therapist is to ask friends or your physician to suggest someone they trust.

man shaking hands with a therapistHere are some helpful tips when considering what makes a therapist “good”:

  • Find out how much experience the therapist has had dealing with your specific concerns. Some therapists specialize in working with children or families and may have lots of experience with the problems that concern you.
  • Find out if the therapist uses evidence-based treatment for your concerns in their practice. Evidence-based treatments have been scientifically tested and shown to be effective. These types of treatments have had a history of success in controlled studies for treating depression, anxiety, panic attacks, bedwetting for children, and obsessive-compulsive behavior, for example.
  • Find out in advance all the details of each session, such as what the fees are, how long therapy might take, and if they accept emergency calls or visits.
  • Try to set up initial appointments with one or two potential therapists and see how comfortable you are with them. Take your time to find the right therapist for you.

Choosing a therapist is a very personal matter and takes time. It is essential that you feel a sense of trust in the person you select to provide therapy for your concerns.

About the Author

Meena Dhanjal Outlaw

On January 23, 2000, Meena suffered a spinal cord injury that left her a T12 paraplegic. She worked hard to grow and push past adversity and challenges and even went back to school for a four-year diploma in writing for teenagers and children.

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5 Tips to Prevent Dehydration on Hot Summer Days

During the summer months, it is critical to think about preventing dehydration and other heat-related illnesses. Dehydration occurs when the body loses more water than it takes in, usually on hot days when you are overexerting yourself. This water is lost through normal bodily processes such as urinating, sweating, and if you are sick, through vomiting and diarrhea.

Who's at Risk for Dehydration?

Working or participating in outdoor activities on hot summer days often causes people to be at more serious risk of dehydration. This water loss can lead to heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and in severe cases, death. The risk of dehydration increases for some people more than others.

construction worker on top of building hammering in materialsThe four groups that are most at risk for dehydration include:

  1. Athletes and those that exercise. People who spend hours training and competing in the hot summer sun lose excess fluids caused by their activities. These groups often do not have an adequate intake of fluids to make up for that loss.
  2. Outdoor workers. Those that work outdoors, such as landscapers, construction crews, police officers, and postal employees, spend most of their days in the heat. These outdoor workers often have little time for bathroom breaks or drinking fluids. As a result, these workers may not consume enough fluids during their workdays.
  3. Children. Many children spend a great deal of time outdoors being active once school is out for summer. Water and other fluids may not be the first thing on their minds when consumed with fun outdoor activities with their friends in the heat.
  4. Older adults. With age, some changes can impair the ability to sense thirst. The body also does not adjust to hotter temperatures the way that it used to. Seniors that struggle with incontinence may also be trying to limit their water intake to lower their risk of having an accident.

Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration

The intensity of your exercise or activity during the hot summer months increases your chances of losing water quickly and becoming dehydrated. Staying educated about your body’s water requirements and the signs and symptoms of dehydration can help prevent heat-related illnesses.

woman feeling fatigued on an exercise machineSome of the mild to moderate signs and symptoms of dehydration are:

  • Dry mouth and lips
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Decreased urination

Dehydration is one hundred percent preventable. You can usually treat mild to moderate dehydration by drinking more water or an electrolyte sports drink.

More severe signs and symptoms that require immediate medical attention include:

  • Seizures
  • Severe diarrhea for 24 hours or more
  • Bloody or black stool
  • Inability to keep fluids down
  • Disorientation or irritability
  • Little to no urination
  • Rapid breathing or heart rate
  • Sunken eyes

5 Tips to Prevent Dehydration and Stay Cool

woman golfer drinking water out of a water bottleWe have put together five tips to stay hydrated and cool during the hot summer months to avoid the risk of dehydration or a heat-related illness.

  1. Drink plenty of water. It is essential to consume fluids during higher intensity or longer periods of exercise or outdoor activities before you are thirsty. If you wait until you realize that you are thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. Health experts recommend eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day, which is about two liters.
  2. Avoid drinks that contain caffeine and alcohol while in the sun and heat. These types of drinks stimulate the production of urine, thereby promoting dehydration.
  3. Choose light-colored, loose-fitting, and breathable clothing. These materials can help you stay cooler as they won’t stick to the body as they absorb the heat from the sun. There are even some clothing options that are made with an SPF material.
  4. Remember to take breaks. If your job requires you to work in the hot summer sun or engage in outdoor activities. Sitting in the shade and hydrating can help the body avoid symptoms of dehydration such as dizziness, fatigue, and dry mouth.
  5. Opt for a rehydration beverage. Sports drinks such as Sqwincher help replace some of the electrolytes lost through sweat. These drinks can help provide carbohydrate energy to the muscles and aid in recovery.

Sqwincher as a Rehydration Product

Many years of research and development went into formulating Sqwincher products to rehydrate the body. Sqwincher products provide a higher level of hydration in various formulations and flavors that deliver the necessary potassium, sodium, and electrolytes to rehydrate and replenish the body.

When the body is dehydrated, the brain functions are compromised. Mental processes such as thinking clearly, performing tasks safely, and staying focused become challenging when a person is becoming dehydrated. When the body is depleted of electrolytes, water alone won’t do the trick. That is where Sqwincher products come into play.

Whatever your lifestyle is, a Sqwincher product is convenient and flavorful to get your hydration on. Sqwincher is available in these formulations:

  • Ready to Drink
  • PowderPack
  • Single Serve
  • Liquid Concentrate
  • Sqweeze Pops

Each Sqwincher product is low in sodium, sugar, and calories, and they are all gluten-free. Many are also preservative-free, contain no artificial sweeteners or dyes, and are an excellent source of Vitamin C.

Sqwincher Products

Water is a necessity that the human body requires to stay healthy. If you fail to drink enough daily water, non-caffeinated fluids, or electrolyte beverages like Sqwincher, you may experience a heat-related illness such as dehydration. It’s important to remember that anytime a person who has been exposed to heat becomes disoriented or unconscious, immediate medical attention must be sought.

If you have any questions about Sqwincher products or any other hydration products we offer at Personally Delivered, please give us a call. Our Product Experts are just a phone call away and ready to assist.

Other Popular Hydration Beverages

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Ulcerative Colitis: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Ulcerative colitis is classified as an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that primarily affects the digestive tract and can also affect other parts of the body. Ulcerative colitis can cause symptoms of abdominal pain, blood in loose stool, and fecal incontinence. Diagnosis and treatment of ulcerative colitis can be complicated since the symptoms differ for everyone. However, some common symptoms are shared and seem to be the most prevalent.

Common Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis

emotionally distressed man on edge of bedUlcerative colitis is usually a progressive disease and starts with ulceration in the last part of the intestine and then spreads up through the rest of the colon, causing inflammation along the way. Depending on the form of ulcerative colitis, some of the symptoms may vary. However, the most common symptoms of ulcerative colitis include:

Forms of Ulcerative Colitis

  • Ulcerative proctitis: The mildest form of ulcerative colitis causes inflammation in the rectum due to fine ulcerations in the colon lining. The inflammation of ulcerative proctitis can cause diarrhea, bloody stool, rectal pain, and fecal incontinence.
  • Proctosigmoiditis: This form of ulcerative colitis affects the last section of the colon that attaches to the rectum. Inflammation in this area can cause bloody diarrhea, fecal incontinence, and pain on the left side of the abdomen.
  • Distal colitis: Inflammation with distal colitis starts in the rectum and extends up the left colon, causing bloody stools, weight loss, loss of appetite, and sometimes severe pain on the left side.
  • Pancolitis: The most severe form of ulcerative colitis is pancolitis when the entire colon is inflamed. This inflammation throughout the whole colon causes diarrhea, cramps, significant weight loss, and severe abdominal pain.

What Causes Ulcerative Colitis?

Although there is no exact confirmed cause for ulcerative colitis, some factors contribute to it, such as a complex interaction of genetics, immune response, and environmental triggers. Some early research pointed at stress, mental illness, and diet as being potential triggers. However, it is now known that ulcerative colitis is not caused by stress or eating the wrong food.

Let’s take a look at how these factors may contribute to ulcerative colitis.

Genetics

We have many genes in our bodies, and many of those genes get passed down to children. Therefore, a person is more likely to develop ulcerative colitis if there is a family history of the disease. However, that does not mean that a person will develop ulcerative colitis just because they have the genes associated with the disease. There are a variety of other factors that can contribute to ulcerative colitis beyond just genetics.

Autoimmune Reaction

Since ulcerative colitis is an autoimmune disease, the immune system isn’t working properly to fight against bacteria and viruses. Instead, the immune system attacks healthy cells throughout the body, and in the case of ulcerative colitis, it attacks the large intestine. In addition, medications used to treat ulcerative colitis suppress the immune system, causing fewer flare-ups.

Environmental Factors

woman holding a large amount of pills in hand with a glass of water in the other handOther factors to consider in developing ulcerative colitis beyond genetics and the immune system response may be related to a person’s environment. Some of these environmental factors that could trigger a flare-up are:

Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

This type of pain medication is often used as a treatment in people with ulcerative colitis because it has been shown to decrease flare-ups of the disease. However, the continuous, long-term use of NSAIDs can cause irritation and bleeding in the digestive tract.

Antibiotics

Antibiotics have been shown to trigger flare-ups of ulcerative colitis for some people. In addition, when antibiotics are taken for an extended period or used in young people, it can be associated with a higher risk of developing a form of ulcerative colitis.

Geographic Location & Ethnicity

Ulcerative colitis tends to occur in people who live in cities within Northern Europe and North America and closely linked to a westernized environment and lifestyle. Ulcerative colitis also has a higher incidence in Jewish populations compared to any other ethnicity.

Complications of Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis can cause complications both within the digestive system and outside of it. Inside the digestive system, these problems are referred to as intestinal, and outside the digestive system, they are called extra-intestinal.

Intestinal complications from ulcerative colitis can include:

  • Fissure: A fissure is a tear in the lining of the anal canal that can cause severe pain and bleeding during bowel movements. Anal fissures can be acute or chronic and are usually treatable at home without medical intervention.
  • Bowel perforation: Intestinal perforation can happen when the colon’s wall becomes so weak due to chronic inflammation and ulceration of the intestine resulting in a hole. This perforation is life-threatening and needs immediate attention. Bacteria can spill into the abdomen, causing infection and toxicity.
  • Toxic megacolon: Considered the most severe intestinal complication of ulcerative colitis, toxic megacolon needs emergency treatment. With toxic megacolon, the colon dilates, resulting in painful and uncomfortable abdominal distention. In addition, the colon loses its ability to contract and move gas along, and if not treated immediately, the colon could rupture.
  • Colon cancer: The risk of developing colon cancer from Ulcerative colitis increases with the duration and severity of the disease. It is essential to schedule routine colon cancer screenings with a gastroenterologist.

Extra-intestinal complications from ulcerative colitis can include:

  • Arthritis: Different forms of arthritis can occur in people with ulcerative colitis. The most common include:
    • Peripheral arthritis: Inflammation in the large joints such as knees, elbows, ankles, and wrists.
    • Rheumatoid arthritis: An autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks healthy cells, causing inflammation in many joints at once.
    • Axial arthritis: Inflammation in the lower spine, hips, pelvis, and buttocks.
    • Ankylosing spondylitis: Inflammation affecting the neck and back can cause the vertebrae to fuse, affecting the spine’s ability to flex.
  • Delayed bone growth in teens: Many older medications for ulcerative colitis patients contain steroids. Unfortunately, steroids can stunt bone growth, causing teens with ulcerative colitis to have delayed bone growth.
  • Mouth ulcers: With an ulcerative colitis flare-up, it is common to get mouth sores or canker sores. These mouth ulcers are small lesions at the base of the gums and can make eating and drinking painful.
  • Skin problems: Ulcerative colitis can also cause painful skin rashes and irritations due to the inflammation within the body or from the medications used for treatment. Some of the skin conditions include:
    • Psoriasis: An immune disorder where skin cells build up and form red patches or silver scales on the skin.
    • Vitiligo: White patches of skin develop due to this autoimmune disorder where the cells that produce the skin pigment are destroyed.
    • Hives: These red, itchy rashes can occur anywhere on the body and are often caused by the medication used to treat ulcerative colitis.
    • Erythema nodosum: The most common skin problem for those with ulcerative colitis is erythema nodosum, where red nodules form on the legs and arms, appearing like bruises.
    • Pyoderma gangrenosum: This second most common skin issue is when small blisters form and spread to create a deep and painful ulcer. This skin problem is usually around the shin and ankles but can also form on the arms.
  • Eye diseases: Several eye conditions such as glaucoma, uveitis (inflammation in the middle layer of the eye causing redness and blurred vision), episcleritis (redness on the whites of the eye), and dry eye are associated with ulcerative colitis or the treatments for the disease.

Treatment Options for Ulcerative Colitis

A gastroenterologist will discuss a treatment plan based on the form of ulcerative colitis and how long a person has been experiencing symptoms. Over-the-counter and prescription medications may be considered as well as lifestyle modifications. Probiotics may also be recommended to help restore healthy gut bacteria. In addition, surgical procedures may be discussed in more severe cases to remove diseased parts of the colon and help reduce the risk of developing colon cancer.

Over-the-Counter Medication (OTC)

OTC medications may be used to relieve some symptoms of ulcerative colitis. However, they are used in conjunction with prescription drugs because they do not address the underlying causes of the disease.

Enemeez Mini EnemaSome of the most common OTC medications are:

  • Antidiarrheal medications: Imodium (loperamide) can help with diarrhea but should be used with caution, as they can increase the risk of toxic megacolon.
  • Pain relievers: For mild pain, Tylenol (acetaminophen) can be used. Advil or Motrin (ibuprofen), Aleve (naproxen sodium), and Voltaren (diclofenac sodium) should be avoided as these OTC medications can worsen symptoms.
  • Enemas and suppositories: Those containing butyrate may effectively treat ulcerative colitis in the very last sections of the colon. Butyrate has been shown to be beneficial to the cells in the intestinal tract by combating inflammation, preventing cells from becoming cancerous, and reducing the effects of oxidative stress
  • Iron supplements: In chronic intestinal bleeding, a person is at risk for developing iron deficiency anemia. The inflammation from ulcerative colitis disrupts the body’s ability to use stored iron or absorb it through food. Iron supplements may be able to help.

Prescription Medications

A gastroenterologist may use one or more combinations of prescription medications to treat the symptoms of ulcerative colitis. Some may be taken regularly, while other fast-acting drugs are given on a short-term basis to treat an active flare-up.

Anti-Inflammatories

As a first step in treating ulcerative colitis, gastroenterologists turn to anti-inflammatory medications, which can include:

  • 5-aminosalicylates: Depending on which part of your colon is affected, these are taken orally or as an enema or suppository. Some examples include Azulfidine (sulfasalazine), Asacol HD (mesalamine), Colazal (balsalazide), and Dipentum (olsalazine).
  • Corticosteroids: Prednisone and hydrocortisone are two types of corticosteroids used to treat ulcerative colitis and are reserved for moderate to severe ulcerative colitis. These medications’ potential unwanted side effects are weight gain, fluid retention, high blood pressure, mood changes, and osteoporosis.

Immune System Suppressors

Immune system suppressor medications control inflammation in the body by suppressing the immune system response. These medications are typically used in people who haven’t responded to or cannot tolerate other treatments and include:

  • Azasan and Imuran (azathioprine); Purinethol and Purixan (mercaptopurine): These medications suppress the immune system by interfering with the body’s production of DNA molecules. The doctor will monitor their patient closely and take regular bloodwork, as side effects can affect the liver and pancreas.
  • Gengraf, Neoral, and Sandimmune (cyclosporine): These immunosuppressants are generally reserved for people who haven’t responded well to other medications. Cyclosporine is believed to work by suppressing lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. However, because cyclosporine has the potential for serious side effects, it is not intended for long-term use.
  • Entyvio (vedolizumab): This medication works by blocking inflammatory cells from getting to the site of inflammation.
  • Remicade (infliximab), Humira (adalimumab), and Simponi (golimumab): These drugs, called biologics or tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors, control the abnormal immune response.
  • Xeljanz (tofacitinib): This is an oral medication that can regulate immune cell function, and it is used to treat moderate to severe ulcerative colitis.

Antibiotics

If an infection in the colon is suspected, the gastroenterologist may prescribe antibiotics to treat ulcerative colitis. However, it is essential to note that antibiotics can cause diarrhea and lead to uncomfortable and painful flare-ups.

Surgical Procedures

If prescription medication side effects are too severe and other alternative treatment options have failed, the gastroenterologist will discuss surgical procedures to relieve the symptoms. There are two types of surgeries that involve removing the large intestine that are the most common in treating ulcerative colitis; “J-Pouch” and total proctocolectomy surgeries.

"J-Pouch" Surgery

A proctocolectomy with ileal pouch-anal anastomosis (IPAA), or “J-Pouch” surgery, involves removing the large intestine and most of the rectum. The end of the small intestine is then used to form an internal pouch shaped like a J, hence “J-Pouch.” A temporary ileostomy is created by diverting the small intestine out of the abdomen to form a stoma. An ileostomy pouch is used to collect stool as the “J-Pouch” heals. After approximately 12 weeks, a second surgery is performed to reconnect the small intestine and allow regular bowel movements since the muscles of the anus remain intact.

“J-Pouch” surgery is not a cure for ulcerative colitis and does not entirely put a person in the clear for developing colon cancer.

Total Proctocolectomy

This surgery involves complete removal of the large intestine, rectum, and anus and is a permanent cure for ulcerative colitis. A total proctocolectomy also eliminates the risk of colon cancer. However, because the rectum and anus are removed, the ileostomy is permanent, and ostomy supplies will be required for the rest of life.

collage of ostomy supplies

Complementary Medicine (CAM)

Some patients with ulcerative colitis have responded well to complementary medicines. Although each person’s symptoms are different, the risk of using supplements, herbs, and other homeopathic remedies is low but should always be discussed with a gastroenterologist.

A few CAMs to consider discussing with a doctor may be:

probiotic yogurt bowl with pineappleProbiotics & Prebiotics

Probiotics act as a barrier by lining the bowels, so harmful bacteria cannot reach the intestinal wall. As a result, these microorganisms help “good” bacteria grow and are often able to reduce inflammation and improve the protective mucus lining of the gut.

Prebiotics are found in fibrous foods such as bananas, garlic, onions, asparagus, artichoke, and oats. These foods aid in the “good” bacteria in the colon. The undigestable prebiotic fibers from these foods help build up the gut lining, protecting it from harmful bacteria.

Boswellia

Boswellia is a medicinal herb derived from a tree native to India that has anti-inflammatory properties. The active ingredient is found in the resin of the bark. It has been used to treat inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis without causing stomach irritation that some OTCs or prescription medications can cause.

Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe vera gel in its pure form is from inside the leaf of the aloe plant. This complimentary medicine has been found to have an anti-inflammatory effect in people with ulcerative colitis. It is critical to note that most stores carry aloe vera juice which is not the same as pure aloe vera gel. Aloe vera juice has a laxative effect and can cause diarrhea. For those with ulcerative colitis, aloe vera juice should be avoided.

Lifestyle & Diet Adjustments

Making a few changes to your lifestyle and diet may significantly impact relieving ulcerative colitis symptoms and prolong the time between flare-ups. Here are some examples to consider:

  • Try eating small meals: Five or six small meals a day rather than two or three larger ones may help you digest more easily and efficiently.
  • Limit fiber: High-fiber foods, such as fresh fruits and raw vegetables, and whole grains, may worsen ulcerative colitis symptoms for some. Grilling, sauteeing, or roasting raw foods may be an option to try.
  • Limit dairy: Diarrhea, abdominal pain, and gas may improve by limiting or dairy from your diet. In addition, if you are lactose intolerant, your body is unable to digest the milk sugar (lactose) in dairy foods. There are many products in stores that cater to those with lactose intolerance, such as Lactaid, Almond Breeze, and various dairy-free cheeses and yogurts.
  • Incorporate fatty fish: Omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, mackerel, trout, Pollock, and swordfish may keep inflammation at bay. These healthy fats have been known to ease ulcerative colitis symptoms. Think of them as lubing up your intestines and joints.
  • Avoid spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine: These choices may increase your symptoms, lead to dehydration, diarrhea, or worsen a flare-up.

When to See a Doctor

Doctor Discussing Medication with his patient as they sit next to one anotherWith the symptoms associated with a flare-up from ulcerative colitis, it can be challenging to know which are an emergency and which can wait. However, symptoms that should prompt contacting a gastroenterologist right away include:

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Light-headedness
  • Painful cramps in the legs
  • Decreased urination

Calling the gastroenterologist before heading to a hospital might help in deciding what level of care is needed. For example, it may be necessary to change treatments or adjust the current treatment plan to get any inflammation under control quickly.

However, if a severe condition such as a bowel perforation or toxic megacolon is suspected, it may be necessary to call 911 because these are medical emergencies.

Ulcerative colitis symptoms and treatment will vary from person to person. If you are confused about the disease and all of the medications and therapies available, have a discussion with your gastroenterologist. They will discuss the benefits and risks and help you make informed decisions together about your care.

If you or a loved one have ulcerative colitis and have questions about the home delivery medical supplies we carry that might be helpful to manage the symptoms, our Product Experts are just a phone call away and ready to help.

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Botox Treatment for Overactive Bladder

Are you experiencing a sudden urge to urinate more often than usual? Do you find yourself unable to make it to the restroom in time? Or are you experiencing side effects from certain medications that impact your bladder? If so, you might be wondering if Botox treatment for Overactive Bladder may be the right solution for you.

What is Overactive Bladder?

An Overactive Bladder (OAB) can happen to anyone, regardless of age, sex, or race. It is a chronic incontinence condition that affects the communication between nerve signals and bladder muscles. The bladder muscles contract uncontrollably, resulting in the involuntary leakage of urine. These uncontrollable spasms of the bladder create a strong and sudden urge to urinate and are often accompanied by frequent urination throughout the day and night.

What is Botox?

Botox, formally termed onabotulinumtoxinA, is a drug that is classified as a neurotoxin. Neurotoxins disrupt the nervous system and how it functions. These types of drugs specifically are toxins that destroy nerve tissue. Since the nerves cannot transmit signals to the muscles when Botox is injected, the muscles become extremely relaxed or paralyzed.

How Can Botox Treat Overactive Bladder?

Have you experienced severe side effects from OAB medications or did not find relief using those medications? Before discussing Botox as a treatment for your OAB, start thinking about how OAB may be affecting your life.

  • Is OAB limiting your daily activities because you frequently need to find and use restrooms?
  • Are you limiting your intake of fluids?
  • Do you feel embarrassed that others are noticing your symptoms?
  • Are you experiencing frustration because OAB impacts your daily decisions like what you wear, where you go and affects your self-confidence?

If OAB is compromising your overall quality of life, Botox for Overactive Bladder may help.

In your body, certain chemicals travel from nerve cells to bladder muscle cells so they can contract and you can urinate. With OAB, these muscles uncontrollably contract and cause a sudden urge to go to the bathroom, causing involuntary leakage or the need to urinate many times throughout the day.

Botox can help patients with OAB reduce their leakage episodes by 50%-75%. It works by stopping the nerve signals to the bladder muscles that trigger OAB. The entire procedure is outpatient and typically done in a physician’s office. Your doctor will fill your bladder with a numbing agent. Once the bladder is numb, a cystoscope is inserted through the urethra, and Botox is injected into multiple strategic points of the bladder muscle. The entire prep, procedure, and monitoring should take approximately one hour.

What are the Possible Side Effects of Botox Treatments for Overactive Bladder?

Coloplast SpeediCath Compact Catheter Set for WomenAfter the Botox treatment for Overactive Bladder is complete, you may have a few side effects such as:

  • It may sting or burn when you urinate the first few times after treatment.
  • You may notice a small amount of blood in your urine.
  • You might experience an inability to empty your bladder fully.
  • You might get a urinary tract infection (UTI).

If any of these symptoms persist longer than a week, you should contact your doctor. If you continue to have trouble fully emptying your bladder, your doctor may prescribe the temporary use of an intermittent catheter such as the Infyna Chic Hydrophilic Female Catheter or the SpeediCath Compact Sets for Women or Men. Since Botox treatment for Overactive Bladder has had much success, using a catheter has been a rare side effect.

How Long Does Botox Treatment for Overactive Bladder Last?

Each person will respond differently to Botox treatment for Overactive Bladder. The Botox injections can help manage OAB with as few as two treatments per calendar year. After the first treatment, you should experience fewer and fewer leakage episodes as the weeks move on. In clinical trials, Botox relieved OAB symptoms for up to six months.

It may be helpful to keep a bladder diary to track your urination pattern and how you felt before and after Botox treatment for Overactive Bladder. When you meet with your doctor to discuss the results of your treatment, bring this bladder diary with you. Your doctor will use this as a tool to determine if you may need an additional Botox treatment sooner than every six months.

Download our useful Bladder Diary now.

Is Botox as a Treatment for OAB Covered by Medicare?

The good news is Botox treatment for Overactive Bladder is covered by most insurance companies, including Medicare. You may have no out-of-pocket expense; however, the cost of Botox is different for everyone depending on your specific insurance company.

To see if you are eligible and to find out how much Botox treatment for Overactive Bladder will cost you, visit this handy calculator now.

For any questions related to incontinence products that we offer to help manage Overactive Bladder symptoms, please Contact Us or give us a call at (800)777-1111. Our compassionate and experienced team is here to help make life a little easier for you so you can get back to enjoying life.

Products to Help Manage Overactive Bladder

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5 Tips for Going Back to Work with a Disability

Meena Dhanjal Outlaw is one of our blog contributors that enjoys sharing information and stories about living with a disability. She suffered a severe spinal cord injury over 20 years ago that left her significantly paralyzed and has found ways to adapt and live an enjoyable life with her husband and children.

Here, Meena shares five things she learned after finishing physical and outpatient rehabilitation and deciding to go back to work. She talks about some of the new barriers those with a disability may face when seeking employment and some things to consider.

1. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)

We have had many laws changed that help companies in The United States understand what it means to accommodate a person with a disability. We also have laws in place making it a crime to discriminate against a person with a disability within the workplace. However, if you are like me and have applied to many jobs for which you are well experienced and qualified, you will also find that much more work remains to be done for change. Ultimately, this hurts all of us when it comes to economy and self-sufficiency.

As a mother raising young children, I had to think very quickly about what I would do, considering the employment market was not working for me. After my spinal cord injury, I applied to two hundred seventy-nine jobs. Out of those, I received seven callbacks for interviews.

Since I was so new in my injury, it never even occurred to me to mention I was in a wheelchair when setting up interviews. One company felt so bad that I could not get up their mounds of steps they instead took me to lunch for my interview. The interviewer was genuinely disappointed. I was completely qualified for the position, but the building was built before the ADA law had been put into place and could not accommodate my disability.

Most interviewers were gracious, but I kept running into the same problem whereby either the building wasn’t conducive, or the law didn’t apply. I even tried going back to my previous field of IT recruiting and found that my new physical image was preventing me from getting past the front door. I quickly received an education in hidden discrimination.

2. Finding Your Niche

Eventually, I was hired by a company, but I soon understood it wasn’t my physical limitations that I wasn’t ready to handle; I lacked proper mental stability to face the ‘real’ world I encountered.

That is when I decided to go back to school and get into a field that would suit my lifestyle as a busy mother.

I always loved writing and was also very good at it from a very young age. Nonetheless, it wasn’t something I pursued early on, but now that I was home twiddling my thumbs, I had nothing to lose. I accepted an opportunity to enroll in a college program to learn how to write for children and teens. Before then, I had already self-published a memoir and began working on a children’s book.

When I had my spinal cord injury, I was on Social Security disability benefits. Under the ticket to work program, I was allowed to work for nine months before deciding whether I could successfully exist in the workplace without the benefits being disturbed.

Eventually, I was earning as much as a part-time employee as a writer, and now, with the books I have published and the blogs I write, I am grateful that it is more, and I can call myself self-employed.

3. Going Back to School to Learn Something New

It isn’t unusual to return to school after having a debilitating injury and be retrained to focus on what one can do with the new limitations. Many disabled people become attorneys and doctors or find the computer industry to be suitable.

I found that my writing was my therapy. Even better, I was earning while bringing awareness regarding issues within the disabled community that often forgotten.

So, if work is on your agenda, remember that larger companies are more regulated now and are, by law, equipped to accommodate you. Also, many colleges and training programs will help you find a job after you complete your course. Therefore I advise you to get to know your counselor well!

woman in wheelchair on computer

4. State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies

Another resource is the State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies, which will help you prepare for, obtain, maintain, or regain employment. Every state in the United States has a vocational rehabilitation agency. These agencies are beneficial when it comes to meeting your employment goals.

5. Think About Transportation

Transportation can be an issue and if you cannot afford a vehicle. You may consider residing in an area where public transportation is available. I live outside the city limits and have recently gained assistance in having a modified minivan equipped with hand controls and a ramp since I have been using a power wheelchair since late 2014.

Since I work from home, I now have a modified desk to write, an automatic door to assist in getting in and out of my house, and proper modifications on my vehicle, allowing me to easily go outside of my home to perform the necessary functions of my job.

For more information on going back to work, I recommend you log into the Social Security Administration website. There is a wealth of information available on how to get back into the workforce that I found very useful.

About the Author

Meena Dhanjal Outlaw

On January 23, 2000, Meena suffered a spinal cord injury that left her a T12 paraplegic. She worked hard to grow and push past adversity and challenges and even went back to school for a four-year diploma in writing for teenagers and children.

What Personally Delivered is Doing to Comply with ADA

Personally Delivered is committed to ensuring digital accessibility for people with disabilities. We are continually improving the user experience for everyone and applying the relevant accessibility standards.

Despite our best efforts to ensure the accessibility of our website, there may be some limitations. However, we are continuously updating for the best user experience. For our full accessibility statement, refer to the bottom of our Terms of Use page.

We welcome your feedback. If you encounter any issues, please contact us by email at info@personallydelivered.com. We try to respond to feedback within 2 business days.

Adaptive Products for Those with a Disability

CanDo Magneciser Pedal Exerciser

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McKesson Bathtub Grab Bar Safety Rail

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Carex Ultra Grabber Reaching Aid

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Drive Medical Home Bed Assist Handle

Drive Medical Home Bed Assist Handle

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Bladder Exstrophy: Treatment and Outlook

Many pediatric urological complications can happen before, during, and after childbirth. Some of them are more serious than others, and some are more easily treatable. Bladder exstrophy is one of those conditions that affect the child as they are developing in the womb. Luckily, there are reconstructive procedures that can repair this congenital abnormality so that children can grow up and enjoy most of the same activities as others.

What is Bladder Exstrophy?

Bladder exstrophy is a developmental abnormality that happens when the lower abdominal skin does not properly form, causing the bladder and part of the urethra to be exposed to outside elements. The bladder is essentially turned inside out when the muscle and skin do not correctly close around it. The inner lining of the urethra is exposed on the top of a boy’s penis or between the separated left and right halves of the clitoris in girls.

Due to the bladder and urethra not being closed properly, the bladder cannot hold urine. Urine continuously leaks out and onto the exposed bladder and the surrounding skin. Bladder exstrophy is slightly more common in boys than girls.

How is Bladder Exstrophy Repaired?

A child born with bladder exstrophy requires some form of immediate treatment after birth. First, the bladder and urethra need to be protected from diaper material with a transparent adhesive dressing. Each child will be different when it comes to a specific plan of treatment that the primary care physician, pediatric urologist, and the urology health care team devise.

There are also different options for the repair; immediate or delayed. Immediate reconstructive surgery will be performed within the first two to three days of a child’s life, whereas delayed surgery will be around six to twelve weeks of age. Sometimes the delayed choice is preferred due to the small anatomy of a newborn. Allowing the body to develop more might be a safer repair option.

Bladder exstrophy reconstructive surgery usually involves multiple operations at different times in a child’s life as they mature to obtain the best results.

Initial Closure and Pubic Bone Repair

The first surgery is either done immediately after birth or delayed at approximately six to twelve weeks. This procedure closes the bladder, abdominal wall, and posterior urethra and reconstructs the belly button and pubic bone repair. Because the pubic bone is separated and spread widely apart in children with bladder exstrophy, correcting this abnormality when the bones are soft is more successful. Bringing the pubic bones closer together helps support the soft tissues of the pelvis.

Babies are put into a device, so their lower legs do not move. This device helps prevent the separation of the pelvic bones and aids in recovery.

Repair of the Urethra

If the initial surgery was delayed, this procedure could be combined with the first at approximately six to twelve weeks of age. The bladder should have increased in size at this point, and the urethra is closed and rerouted through the usual passageway. The ureters may be repositioned within the bladder if they are not connected in the right place.

Common Problems Associated with Bladder Exstrophy

Children with bladder exstrophy can experience problems at any stage of life after their surgical repairs are complete. Often, lifelong follow-up care is needed to help ensure the best quality of life.

Urinary Incontinence

Since the pelvic bones are spread widely apart in a child with bladder exstrophy, there is inadequate support of the soft tissue of the pelvis. Because of this lack of support, there is increased tension on the pelvic bones, leading to involuntary urinary leakage.

Vesicoureteral Reflux

When the ureters are not joining the bladder in the correct place, urine can flow back toward the kidneys. This backflow can lead to kidney damage and recurring urinary tract infections.

Emotional Issues

A psychologist or licensed therapist may need to be considered part of the child’s health care team. They can help the child and the family deal with complex issues together.

What are the Risks Involved with Bladder Exstrophy Surgery?

Wound Site Problems

There is a risk that the wound site will not heal properly and open up, causing the bladder to move out of position. Another surgery is required to repair this problem.

Kidney Damage

The other risk is kidney damage from vesicoureteral reflux when urine flows back into the kidneys. If this condition is left untreated, it can lead to kidney failure.

As with any surgical procedure, there are some risks. However, the health care team will monitor both of these conditions throughout the child’s treatment plan.

What is the Long-term Outlook for Babies Born with Exstrophy?

Children born with bladder exstrophy can live a happy and productive life with an average life expectancy. Many people have a normal sexual function and can have children of their own. Some males with bladder exstrophy may experience fertility issues. However, there are many treatment options available for that and can be discussed with a doctor.

Intermittent Catheterization or Urostomy Surgery Later in Life

little ones urostomy pouchDuring a child’s journey with bladder exstrophy, there may come when they are unable to empty their bladder on their own completely. In this case, the health care team can determine if the use of pediatric intermittent catheters might be an alternate approach. If a more long-term drainage solution is needed, a urostomy can be surgically created as an alternate opening for access to the urinary system. The child will then have complete control over urine flow from their body using an ostomy pouching system with a drainage tap.

Most children with bladder exstrophy go about their daily lives without anyone ever even knowing what is different underneath their clothing. They participate in sports and other activities much the same as any other child. The success stories are endless from families that have had a child undergo bladder exstrophy surgeries.

For any questions related to incontinence products, intermittent catheters, ostomy supplies, or any other product that we carry to manage medical conditions, our Product Experts are available to assist. Our compassionate and knowledgeable team will make it easy for you to choose the right products for your needs so you can get back to doing the things you enjoy most.

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Incontinence in Children with Special Needs

Children with special needs often experience incontinence due to physical, mental, or emotional challenges related to their disability. Contrary to popular belief, incontinence is not limited to an issue for the elderly. The older community has a wide variety of products, support, and available treatment options. For children with special needs, entirely different incontinence solutions are needed to address their specific needs.

Common Conditions Related to Incontinence and Children with Special Needs

Incontinence can be very different for each child with special needs. Some children experience incontinence that extends past their toddler stage, and others may have incontinence that extends into their adult years.

The most common medical conditions related to incontinence in children with special needs are:

Autism

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that affects communication and social interaction in children. There are a wide variety of symptoms of autism, which can range from mild to severe.

Some common symptoms may include:

  • Disinterest in playing or talking to others
  • Avoiding eye contact or physical contact
  • Preferring always to be left alone
  • Delayed speech and language skills
  • Repetition of words or phrases
  • Inability to stay on topic when answering questions
  • Fixations on particular objects or activities
  • Aggressive behavior toward themselves and others

Autism-related incontinence is typically due to the challenges children with special needs face with any of the above behavioral, cognitive, or functional problems. Simply communicating that they need to empty their bladder or not being aware that they need to urinate are common issues in children with autism.

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that can come on at any point in a person’s life. MS is a chronic condition that affects the central nervous system. This debilitating disease can cause problems with muscle control and other daily bodily functions such as bladder and bowel control. Children with special needs such as MS can experience incontinence due to the disruption of the brain’s nerve signals and the bladder or bowels.

Spinal Cord Injury or Spina Bifida

If a child has a spinal cord injury or spina bifida, they will have damage to their spinal cord, which can cause paralysis and disrupt nerve communication to certain areas of the body depending on the level of severity of spinal damage.

When these nerves are damaged, the signals that are supposed to control our ability to empty our bladder and bowels are not present. Children with special needs such as a spinal cord injury may have a complete loss of bladder and bowel control, or they may have a partial loss and may choose self-catheterization as an option to empty their bladder.

Little girl in a wheelchair playing basketball with her father.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy is damage to a child’s brain as it develops, whether in the womb or after birth. This damage to the brain causes a lack of muscle coordination, muscle control, posture, and reflexes. Because the abdominal muscles are affected in Cerebral Palsy, bladder and bowel control are compromised. These muscles may involuntarily contract and lead to stress incontinence, leakage due to the inability to control the bladder muscles.

Children with special needs such as Cerebral Palsy may also deal with issues such as overactive bladder (failure to empty the bladder fully), overflow incontinence (leakage due to the bladder not fully emptying), or urge incontinence (bladder spasms causing the bladder to shrink before reaching the restroom).

Down Syndrome

Down syndrome is a genetic disorder caused by the partial or full copy of chromosome 21 due to abnormal cell divisions when a child is developing in the womb. Children with special needs such as Down syndrome may have issues such as impaired cognitive ability, developmental delays, and gastrointestinal and urinary complications.

Because of the cognitive impairments children with Down syndrome experience, acquiring bathroom habits takes longer. Children with Down Syndrome tend to have weaker bladder muscles and cannot contract their bladder to release urine, leading to urinary retention and the risk of bladder infections.

girl with down syndrome sitting on a bench

Common Types of Incontinence in Children with Special Needs

Nocturnal enuresis

Nocturnal enuresis, also known as bedwetting, occurs when a child can’t control urination at night while in bed.

Daytime urinary incontinence

When a child with special needs loses bladder control during the day, they have daytime urinary incontinence. This type of incontinence in children with special needs can be caused by an overactive bladder, weak bladder muscles, or any nervous system defect.

Fecal incontinence

A child with special needs due to a spinal cord injury is prone to having accidental bowel movements due to the interruption to the communication between the spinal cord’s nerves and the bowel. The brain cannot control the muscles that coordinate the bowel function resulting in fecal incontinence.

For even more detailed information about fecal incontinence, visit our Fecal Incontinence Pads page.

Lower urinary tract symptoms

When there is a lack of coordination between the bladder muscles and the urinary tract, the bladder will not effectively empty. There are many lower urinary tract symptoms in children with special needs, such as:

  • Urinary incontinence – involuntarily leaking varying amounts of urine when pressure is exerted on the bladder when coughing, sneezing, lifting objects, or exercising
  • Frequency – urinating tiny amounts multiple times throughout the day
  • Infrequency – not going to the bathroom for many hours
  • Urge incontinence – the bladder muscles contract when they shouldn’t, causing a sudden urge to urinate
  • Incomplete emptying – the bladder muscles are not able to contract properly to empty urine from the bladder
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs) – incomplete emptying of the bladder leads to stagnation of urine that can lead to an infection

Ways to Manage Incontinence in Children with Special Needs

When helping a child with special needs manage their incontinence, it is essential to be understanding and supportive. The National Association for Continence (NAFC) has come up with an approach for caregivers of children with special needs that have incontinence more tolerable and contribute to improvement opportunities. It is referred to as ‘The 5 Ps’.

The 5 Ps

  1. Patience – Setbacks may happen, and it is essential not to place blame on them. Maintaining a positive outlook and a good sense of humor can go a long way.
  2. Persistence – Keeping reminding yourself that progress overcoming or managing incontinence in a child with special needs will take time. Try setting realistic goals, and don’t give up. Keep up with patience and a positive outlook.
  3. Planning – Incontinence episodes usually come as surprises. Planning a routine and sticking to it can help keep everyone on a schedule. If there is a shared responsibility with the child with special needs, communication planning is vital. Make sure everyone involved has the information and incontinence supplies needed to act on it appropriately.
  4. Practice – Keep trying and seek out different treatment options to see if something else might work better. Use your resources, such as your family doctor or family and friends, who might recommend specific programs or products that might produce better results for your child with special needs.
  5. Progress is Possible – Remember that you are not alone. There are so many families of children with special needs that have overcome the stigma that incontinence is unconquerable. There are many strategies, products, and treatments to try to make your child with special needs and your life a little easier and more comfortable. Don’t give up!
the five Ps when managing incontinence in children with special needs

Products That Can Help Manage Incontinence in Children with Special Needs

Incontinence management for children with special needs can be overwhelming at the time. However, Personally Delivered offers a wide variety of incontinence products for children that can help make it easier and your child more comfortable. Children with special needs are all different, and one size or type of incontinence product for children does not fit all.

Baby Diapers

Baby diapers are designed to move with the baby to ensure a comfortable, snug, and secure fit. Typically, baby diapers are hypoallergenic to promote healthy skin and lock away wetness for up to twelve hours. Baby diapers are available in a variety of absorbencies for both day and overnight protection.

black baby getting a diaper put on

Training Pants

Training pants are an incontinence product for children that are less bulky than the baby diaper and are designed to fit more like regular underwear. The sides of training pants open for easy adjustment, and the pull-up style makes them a comfortable option. Many training pants feature a wetness indicator that causes a design to fade away, letting you know when the training pant needs to be changed.

cutie pants training pants for boys and girls

Youth Briefs and Protective Underwear

As a child with special needs gets a little older, they will transition into youth briefs and protective underwear as incontinence products for children. The youth briefs and diapers feature the tear-away sides for easy adjustment and changing and the protective underwear pull-on for a snug, comfortable fit. Youth briefs and protective underwear are available in various sizes and absorbencies for daytime and overnight protection.

Adult Incontinence Products

assortment of three incontinence products showing different pads and linersLarger children with special needs can also wear other types of adult incontinence products.

  • Protective Underwear – Just like the youth briefs and protective underwear, children with special needs larger in size can wear these one-piece pull-ups for protection both day and night.
  • Adult Diapers and Briefs – For a more secure and absorbent option, adult diapers are available. Just like baby diapers, adult diapers feature re-fastenable tabs for easy adjustment.
  • Booster Pads – Add a booster pad to any disposable adult diaper, brief, or protective underwear for increased absorbency. Booster pads can extend the wear-time of a primary incontinence undergarment.
  • Bladder Control Pads – For light to heavy absorbency, bladder control pads protect against leakage and are worn inside regular underwear. The difference between a bladder pad and a booster pad is that fluids are not meant to flow through the bladder pad and into the primary undergarment like booster pads are made to do.

Remember that there may be setbacks when trying to manage incontinence in a child with special needs. Try to implement The 5 Ps in the process and celebrate small accomplishments. If you have any questions about the incontinence products we offer for babies, youth, or adults, our Product Experts are just a phone call away and ready to assist.

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How to Lubricate Your Catheter

If you are new or a novice to self-catheterization, you know how essential comfort is to the process. Inserting a tube into the urethra that is smooth and slick yet not messy will provide the best catheterization experience and put you at ease. Using a high-quality catheter lubricant to lubricate your catheter is an essential step in self-catheterization. We will dive into why this catheter accessory is important and how to use it to lubricate your catheter.

Why a Urinary Catheter is Needed

A catheter is needed when you are unable to urinate on your own. When urine builds up in the bladder, it can be uncomfortable and also cause problems such as serious kidney infections if left untreated. Self-catheterization is a way to completely empty your bladder when you need to. A thin, flexible tube is inserted into the urethra until it reaches the bladder. The catheter then lets the urine flow out into an attached urinary drainage bag.

Urinary catheters are used for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • Lengthy surgical procedures when you are under anesthesia and unable to control your bladder.
  • Nerve damage caused by a medical condition such as Multiple Sclerosis or a spinal cord injury.
  • Urinary incontinence that causes leakage or urinary retention that causes you to be unable to urinate.
  • An enlarged prostate, which can narrow the urethra or put additional pressure on the bladder.

Regularly emptying your bladder may prevent urine leaks and help prevent kidney damage from blocked urine and infections.

It is essential to stay clean when using a urinary catheter to help prevent infection. Part of this process is using a high-quality lubricant or choosing a hydrophilic or pre-lubricated catheter.

Using a Lubricant to Lubricate Your Catheter

If you’re using an uncoated straight catheter, it is recommended to use a high-quality catheter lubricant for a comfortable experience. When you lubricate your catheter, you may reduce the risk of urethral trauma and potential infections.

using a high-quality lube can improve the catheterization experience

Choosing Your Lubricant to Lubricate Your Catheter

Catheter lubricant should always be used when inserting an intermittent urinary catheter to reduce pain, discomfort, and friction. The use of lubricant to lubricate your catheter may also help reduce infections such as urinary tract infections (UTI). Choosing a high-quality sterile lubricant will aid in the most comfortable catheterization experience and do the best for you.

Some essential features of a high-quality lubricant to keep in mind when choosing your self-catheter lubricant include:

  • Water-soluble lubricant – offers the most comfortable slickness and will not compromise the integrity of a silicone catheter.
  • Viscous lubricant – reduces friction and makes the process smoother.
  • Bacteriostatic lubricant – contains agents that inhibit bacterial growth, which helps prevent infection.

Personally Delivered carries a wide variety of catheter lubricants from trusted brands such as Cardinal Health, Mckesson, Cure Medical, Surgilube, HR Pharmaceuticals, and more. All of our catheter lubricants to lubricate your catheter that we carry are safe, sterile, and water-soluble. Catheter lubricants are available in different packaging styles, all of which are convenient sizes for travel or on the go.

Healthcare professionals have used catheter lubricant in a flip-top cap or screw-on cap such as Surgilube lubricant since 1932. This catheter lubricant is water-soluble, sterile, viscous, and bacteria-inhibiting. Surgilube minimizes friction to provide a smooth and comfortable catheterization experience from start to finish.

Surgilube Catheter Lubricant with flip-top cap

HR Pharma Lubricating Jelly comes in a convenient 5-gram foil packet. This catheter lubricant to lubricate your catheter is sterile, greaseless, water-soluble, and easy to clean up. These OneShot foil packets are designed to be easy to open and contain just the right amount of catheter lubricant for each use. HR Pharma Lubricating Jelly is also available in a flip-top cap option that is easy to open and close using just one hand for those with dexterity problems.

HR Pharma Lubricating Jelly Five Gram Foil Packets

How to Lubricate Your Catheter

Now that we have discussed the need for a catheter and the importance of choosing a high-quality lubricant, we will provide general instructions on how to lubricate your catheter and insert it. Your doctor should provide you with basic instructions when prescribed your catheters; however, you may find these instructions a bit more detailed.

Prepare the necessary supplies

Aloe Vesta wipesYou will need the following items:

  • Anti-bacterial soap and warm water or personal antiseptic wipes
  • Your clean intermittent catheter
  • Catheter lubricant (not petroleum jelly or Vaseline as they are not water-soluble)
  • A waterproof bed pad
  • A container to hold the urine or the toilet

Prepare for insertion

  • Try to urinate first before using your clean catheter.
  • Wash and dry your hands with anti-bacterial soap and warm water.
  • Clean the end of your penis or genital area well with anti-bacterial soap and warm water or personal cleansing wipes. If you are a male and not circumcised, make sure to clean under the foreskin, too.
  • Sit or lie down with knees bent and place the bed pad under your penis or genital area. Put the collection container close to you, or if you are using a toilet, make sure to stand directly above it to catch any urine.

Lubricate your catheter

  • Spread the catheter lubricant on the tip of the urinary catheter, lubricating only the first half of the intermittent catheter. You will need a good amount of catheter lubricant to ensure the catheter will not cause friction to your urethra.
  • Place the other end of the catheter over the toilet bowl or in the container to catch the urine.

*Using sterile, water-soluble, viscous, and bacteriostatic catheter lubricant to lubricate your catheter will reduce pain, risk of infection, and urethral damage. Remember to make sure you choose a high-quality catheter lubricant for a clean and comfortable catheterization experience.

Insert the intermittent catheter

  • Gently insert the catheter into the urethra opening. Slowly move the catheter in until urine begins to flow. Push the catheter in about another inch and hold it in place.
  • Allow the urine to drain into the collection container or toilet.
  • Remove the catheter slowly when urine stops flowing.
  • Wash and dry your hands.

Catheters are not meant to be reused and are to be discarded after each use. The self-catheterization process should never hurt or cause sharp pain. If the catheter is not going in, stop and take a moment to relax. A catheter should never be forced into the urethra. This action could cause severe trauma and tear this sensitive tissue.

When to Contact Your Doctor

Don’t ignore signs of an infection, any pain, or other concerns. You should contact your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Burning or pain when you urinate. You might have a urinary tract infection (UTI).
  • You cannot urinate or not passing much urine at all.
  • There is blood in the urine, or there is a foul smell.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Too much pain upon insertion of your catheter despite the use of lubricant to lubricate your catheter.
  • You have a fever of 100.4°F(38.0°C) or higher, as advised by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

At Personally Delivered, we are proud to be a supplier of a variety of high-quality catheter lubricants to lubricate your catheter for comfort. Choosing the right catheter lubricant is one of the most critical steps in a safe, clean, and comfortable self-catheterization experience. Our catheter Product Experts are here to assist if you need help choosing the catheter gel or jelly to lubricate your catheter. We will make it easy for you.

Popular Catheter Lubricants

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