The human body processes waste in a couple of ways, one of which is through urine. The urethra, kidneys, and bladder make up the urinary system, and keeping excretion of fluids flowing is essential to your overall health.
How the Urinary System Functions
A healthy urinary system starts with the kidneys. We have two kidneys on either side of the body just beneath our ribs. The kidneys filter out waste products as urine through tubes called ureters that connect to the bladder. The bladder then holds the urine until it signals that it is full and needs emptying. Attached to the bladder is the urethra, which is the tube that extends to the outside of the body. In men, the urethra is approximately 8 inches (20 cm), and in women, the urethra is about 1 ½ inches (4 cm). A small muscle called the sphincter controls when the urine empties from the bladder.
Common Problems Within the Urinary System
At times, the urinary system can get disrupted by invading bacteria, certain illnesses, or aging muscles. When this happens, certain urinary system functions do not work correctly, and the body responds with inflammation, a urinary tract, bladder, or kidney infection, or urinary incontinence, to name a few.
Although there are many options to treat specific urinary system problems, it is crucial to know the urological and incontinence supplies available to adequately address these urinary issues. Your doctor should provide you with a list of the urological supplies to help manage your unique needs.
Issues that May Cause a Need for Urinary Supplies
When one part or all of the urinary system’s functioning gets disrupted, it can result in various medical conditions that may lead to the need for urinary supplies.
Some of the potential causes of urinary incontinence or bladder retention may include:
- Spinal cord injury
- Spina bifida
- Stroke or brain injury
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Bladder or prostate cancer
- Multiple sclerosis
- And more
Although there are many treatment options available for these widely varying conditions, it’s crucial to know about the urinary supplies that can adequately address your issues and manage any symptoms such as urine leakage, lack of urine flow, and more. Your doctor should provide you with their suggestions for urinary supplies, catheter products, incontinence pads, or other options to help manage your unique needs.
Urinary Supplies to Know About
One of the most essential urinary supplies for certain people who have bladders that no longer function properly is the urinary catheter. A catheter’s job is to drain and collect urine from the bladder when a person can no longer void urine from the bladder naturally. Catheters can be made of different types of material such as silicone, latex, or polyurethane and may also come pre-lubricated or require additional lubrication. They also vary in various lengths to accommodate the different urethral sizes between ages and genders.
An external catheter is a non-invasive catheter option that’s ideal for men with urinary incontinence. The external catheter, sometimes called a condom catheter or Texas catheter, does not insert into the bladder but instead fits over the male penis much like a condom to collect leaking urine.
Having an ample supply of urinary catheters is a good idea since you shouldn’t reuse them. Also, you won’t want to run out of catheters if you need to catheterize multiple times a day.
Urinary Drainage Bags
A urinary drainage bag is primarily used to collect urine from a catheter, which is either external or internally inserted in the bladder. Some catheters, such as a Foley catheter or external catheter, are connected to a urinary drainage bag secured to the leg called a urinary leg bag. Others may prefer a type of urinary drainage bag that you can easily hang from a hook on a wheelchair or bedside. Many different sizes, brands, and styles of urinary drainage bags are available depending on the specific requirements. Urinary leg bags and urinary drainage bags come with flip or twist valves and come in both disposable and reusable styles.
Leg Bag Straps and Holders
Wearing a urinary leg bag doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. Many urinary leg bags come with long, awkward, latex straps that don’t seem to secure the bag just the way you would like. Fabric urinary leg bag straps can be more comfortable, economical, and minimize skin irritation. Velcro or button fasteners allow for easy adjustment of the straps for individual requirements. Fabric urinary leg bag straps with a velcro or button closure can eliminate bruising, pressure sores, pulled hair, circulation restriction, and burns caused by rubber latex straps.
Urinary leg bag holders fit like a sleeve that slides up the leg to hold the urinary drainage bag without straps, such as the Urocare Urinary Leg Bag. The simple sleeve style provides a soft fit around the leg or thigh, resulting in a comfortable and discreet profile. Most urinary leg bag holders will accommodate various urinary drainage bags, but it is always wise to take measurements to make sure they will work together. Sticking with the same manufacturer for your urinary drainage bag and your leg bag straps or holders can help take out the guesswork of making sure they are compatible.
Lubricating Jelly and Wipes
If you are using an uncoated catheter (not pre-lubricated or hydrophilic), lubricating jelly is a must for making catheterization more comfortable and smooth. Using a catheter lubricant can not only help minimize friction, but it will also reduce the chances of urethral damage upon insertion. Catheter lubricants are sterile, greaseless, and water-soluble for easy clean-up and are available in tubes or foil packets for on-the-go convenience.
Having a supply of personal wipes will come in handy when cleaning up after self-catheterization when emptying a urinary drainage bag, or handling anything related to an incontinence episode.
Other Incontinence Supplies
Protective underwear, incontinence briefs, urinary incontinence pads, and other urinary incontinence supplies can be essential for those living with incontinence or leakage. These products are designed to address light to severe urinary incontinence episodes and are available in various sizes, styles, and absorbencies. Preparation can help ensure you have enough incontinence supplies to help reduce the risk of worsening your condition and lead a healthy and dignified lifestyle.
For any questions about the catheters, incontinence products, or urinary supplies we offer, our Personally Delivered Product Experts are just a phone call away and ready to assist.