InterStim Therapy for Bladder Control Problems in Women

InterStim Therapy for Bladder Control Problems in Women with woman holding her bladder next to a toilet

Discussing bladder control problems with friends, family, and physicians can make most people feel uncomfortable. Worrying about bladder control can keep some people from enjoying activities they love. More than 33 million Americans deal with overactive bladder (OAB), sometimes referred to as urge incontinence. A minimally invasive procedure called InterStim therapy is a treatment option available for OAB if other non-surgical options have not worked.

First, we will discuss bladder control signs and symptoms, then conservative treatments to try, and finally discuss Interstim therapy as an option to treat bladder control problems.

Symptoms of Bladder Control Problems

  • Frequent urges to urinate (urgency-frequency)
  • Inability to hold urine/leaking (urge incontinence)
  • Inability to urinate (complete urinary retention)
  • Incomplete bladder emptying (partial urinary retention)

Conservative Treatments for Bladder Control Problems

Conservative or non-surgical treatments for bladder control problems typically come first. Some of the conservative treatment options are:

  • Kegel exercises
  • Medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Dietary and lifestyle changes

If these conservative, non-surgical treatments have not effectively treated the bladder control problems, your physician may discuss InterStim Therapy with you as an option.

What is InterStim Therapy?

InterStim Therapy, also known as sacral nerve stimulation or sacral neuromodulation, is an FDA-approved treatment for several different bladder control problems, most often for women. This therapy is completely reversible and uses a small implantable device to send mild electrical pulses to stimulate the sacral nerves. These nerves are located near the spinal cord and just above the tailbone and control the pelvic floor, urinary and anal sphincters, lower urinary tract, and colon.

InterStim Therapy can be used to treat the following bladder control problems:

  • Overactive bladder (OAB): The sudden, uncontrollable urge to urinate
  • Urinary retention: A feeling of “fullness” with an inability to fully empty the bladder
  • Urinary incontinence: The involuntary leaking of urine due to the loss of bladder control
  • Bowel or Fecal incontinence: Stool unexpectedly leaking from the rectum due to the inability to control bowel movements

InterStim Therapy is not intended to treat issues like stress incontinence or urinary blockages. Also, it is not recommended for pregnant women, those with a pacemaker, or diabetic patients.

How Does InterStim Therapy Work?

The sacral nerves control the bladder and are located near the tailbone. When these nerves do not communicate effectively with the brain, normal bladder function is disrupted. InterStim Therapy provides stimulation to these nerves called neurostimulation to communicate with the brain for increased bladder control. Neurostimulation is a reversible treatment that can be discontinued at any time by turning off or removing the device.

How is the InterStim Therapy Device Inserted?

Before the InterStim Therapy device that generates the electrical pulses is surgically implanted, the patient will have a trial period to ensure the therapy will reduce bladder control symptoms. This is the first phase of the two-phase procedure and typically takes 1 to 3 weeks. This trial period determines if InterStim Therapy is right for you. With both phases of the process, you can go home the same day but need a driver.

The trial phase takes place in a medical office or operating room. The doctor numbs a small area near the tailbone and inserts a thin, flexible needle attached to a wire placed near the sacral nerves. Once the electrical stimulation starts, a comfortable pulsing or tingling sensation is sent to the vagina or rectal regions.

An external battery is then placed on a belt that is connected to the testing wire. A handheld remote control can then adjust the level of desired stimulation. During the first phase, your doctor may ask you to keep a bladder diary to track daily urinary habits. It is essential to abstain from sexual and strenuous activity to ensure the wires stay in place during this time. The incision sites should also remain dry and the wires free from potential entanglement.

The first phase of the procedure allows you to try neurostimulation to see if it is right for you without making a long-term commitment. Suppose your symptoms are significantly reduced or eliminated during the testing period. In that case, you may benefit from long-term use of sacral nerve stimulation, and the second stage of the procedure is performed.  A permanent battery is implanted in the upper part of the buttock and is similar to a heart pacemaker’s size. Most all normal activities can be resumed within two weeks after this surgery.

What Are the Risks of InterStim Therapy?

As with any minimally invasive procedure, there may be risks, which could include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Pain
  • Continued bladder control problems

The good news is that if, for any reason, the InterStim Therapy device can be shut off or completely removed. It is essential to share all health concerns and intentions with your doctor to determine if the device needs to be turned off. For example, if you become pregnant or are trying to become pregnant, the InterStim device would need to be shut off.

For even more information, visit: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2672997/

InterStim Therapy for bladder control problems is not suitable for everyone. There are many alternate options to help manage OAB, urge incontinence, bowel or fecal incontinence, or any other symptom you are experiencing. Personally Delivered carries a wide variety of incontinence products to help with bladder and bowel control. If you need assistance choosing what incontinence products are right for your unique needs, our friendly and knowledgeable Product Experts are here to guide you through the purchasing experience. Give us a call today. You’ll be happy you did!

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The Importance of Being Your Own Health Advocate

wworking on laptop and woman on phone writing notes at deskoman in wheelchair

Health care providers and hospitals have the best intentions in mind; however, medical errors do occur. If you feel something is wrong, it is crucial to be your own health advocate and speak up. Bringing attention to a potential issue could prevent a future error with another patient. Meena Dhanjal Outlaw suffered a spinal cord injury over 20 years ago that left her significantly paralyzed. Here, she speaks about the importance of being your own health advocate.

All Doctors Are Not Created Equal

When I had my spinal cord injury seventeen years ago, it was evident that the type of medical attention I need is by doctors who understand a spinal cord injury. I lived far away from the rehabilitation facility that practically took care of my needs, so I sought a general physician close to home. Unfortunately, I found that she was not well-versed in treating patients with spinal cord injuries,

I could go to my general physician for common colds and other minor issues. However, I realized she didn’t understand how my body functioned after a spinal cord injury.

For example, every time I had to give a urine sample, she would note that there was bacteria in my urine and instantly say, ‘You have a urinary tract infection.’ and give me a prescription for antibiotics.  I already knew from the specialized doctors I had seen thus far that I would only need an antibiotic if I had a fever or unexpected bladder accidents. So to avoid conflict with the doctor, I just never filled the prescription.

It wasn’t easy at times, but if I didn’t speak up for myself, then who will?

Pay Attention to Your Body and Ask Questions

Doctor Discussing Medication with his patient as they sit next to one anotherAt one point, I had to call my surgeon when I experienced a post-op problem. The surgeon had placed a port under my shoulder to provide easier access to the type of transfusion that will successfully treat the neuromuscular disease I have in addition to my spinal cord injury, which is called Myasthenia Gravis.

I knew there was a problem, considering the amount of blood oozing from where the incision had been made to place the catheter. The nurse in post-op knew that they had missed a stitch. After looking at the wound, the doctor didn’t think it was necessary to put in an extra stitch.

I was in pain the entire weekend after the surgery and felt I was consuming way too much over-the-counter pain medication.

Upon going for my second transfusion, I mentioned to the doctor that I was still in a lot of pain. He dismissed my pain, told me I had a small clot, and redressed the area.

Unfortunately, I felt I couldn’t speak up for myself at that time. However, since then, I spoke with my neurologist, who recommended pain medication. In addition, the doctors will now be keeping a closer eye on this area since I have several more treatments there.

If You are Concerned, Speak Up for Yourself

Self-advocacy isn’t always getting the result you think is necessary for you. Instead, it’s about not being afraid to speak up when necessary. Many people with a disability feel they cannot speak up for themselves because they don’t want to offend the doctor and possibly get more neglectful care.

I look back and wonder if I had spoken up at the time, would that surgeon continue to dismiss me or would I have had a weekend free of pain?

Take Charge and Educate Yourself – Be Your Own Health Advocate

older woman sitting in a chair and reading a book

The best form of defense for me as a woman with a spinal cord injury was to educate myself about my own condition. This helped me better take action over my situation and prevent specific problems.

For example, if I took the antibiotics every time the general physician prescribed them to me, my body could’ve become immune to antibiotic treatment. At that point of severity, the only way to treat a UTI would be intravenously in a hospital with a much stronger dose of antibiotics.

Today, I have a general physician who listens to me and is well-versed in treating patients with Myasthenia Gravis and spinal cord injuries. While visiting her means a longer drive, it’s worth it to me because her care is so important.

So to recap:

  • Don’t be afraid to speak up.
  • Become knowledgeable about your condition so that you know what to do even after leaving a physician with no treatment to remedy your issue.
  • Find a doctor that understands
  • Don’t be afraid of distance.
  • Know your rights as a patient.

For further information on becoming your own health advocate and your rights as a patient, check out this helpful link www.patientadvocate.org, and remember knowledge is power.

Becoming your own health advocate can take time, but as Meena explains in her story, that tremendously helped her. There are many struggles that can come along with a spinal cord injury such as:

  • Neurological issues that can lead to loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Poor coordination or balance when walking
  • Extreme back, neck, and head pain
  • Changes in sexual function, sensitivity, and fertility

Being your own health advocate can help you feel more in control of your condition and have more confidence in the decisions you make for your medical care. When you take an active role in your health care, you are more likely to get the resources you need.

At Personally Delivered, we carry home delivery medical supplies for a wide variety of conditions. Whether you are looking for adult disposable diapers, incontinence pads, protective underwear, catheter supplies, or any other medical supplies, we have got you covered. Our friendly, knowledgeable, and caring Product Experts are just a phone call away and ready to assist you in the purchasing process.

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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Multiple Sclerosis and Incontinence

Multiple Sclerosis and Incontinence blog post cover with orange ribbon

Multiple Sclerosis and incontinence often are experienced together. The central nervous system controls many functions throughout the body, such as walking, thinking, and controlling various muscles. Multiple Sclerosis can cause damage to the central nervous system and produce a variety of symptoms, including vision loss, muscle stiffness, or even bladder and bowel dysfunction.

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

mend and women exhibiting different symptoms of multiple sclerosisMultiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that affects cells in the central nervous system. For those with MS, not only is their immune system defending harmful bacteria and viruses again, but it is also attacking their body. Electrical signals are sent throughout the body by the central nervous system to control almost everything we do, and MS disrupts these electrical signals.

Those with MS can experience a wide range of symptoms, and this disease affects everyone differently. Although most of the symptoms are not visible to others, some are and can worsen over time.

Common Symptoms of MS

  • Walking problems
  • Vision problems
  • Bladder and bowel dysfunction
  • Fatigue
  • Cognitive difficulties (attention, learning, and memory)
  • Mood changes
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Pain in arms and legs
  • Hot and cold sensitivity
  • Weakness or poor coordination

How Multiple Sclerosis Can Affect the Bladder and Bowels

There is a coating on the nerve endings called the myelin sheath that protects the nerve cells. When the myelin sheath is damaged due to multiple sclerosis, electrical impulses transmit to the brain much slower. This nerve damage affects how the body interprets signals between the brain and the bladder and bowel. Coordination of the muscles that control holding and emptying the bladder and the bowels is disrupted, leading the incontinence.

Bowel or fecal incontinence can result from weak sphincter muscles from MS or can be from constipation. When a person is constipated from MS, it can be from the medication or lack of mobility and lead to overflow incontinence.

Some of the various types of incontinence a person with Multiple Sclerosis may experience are:

Overflow Incontinence

When the bladder does not fully empty, urine can leak. Those with overflow incontinence from MS are unable to squeeze the muscles needed to empty the bladder due to nerve and muscle damage.

Urge Incontinence

When a person feels a sudden urge to use the restroom and has to rush to get there, they are experiencing urge incontinence. The nerves linked to the bladder have been damaged with MS and cannot communicate quickly enough to the brain.

Stress Incontinence

When usually going about your day and having an unintentional loss of urine, you experience stress incontinence. You may also notice this leakage when you sneeze, cough, laugh, or lift something heavy. The pelvic floor muscles have weakened from MS, so stress incontinence is often experienced.

Constipation

When you are not emptying the bowels as often as you usually would is one of the signs of constipation. Some medications can often cause constipation that lasts for days and be very painful. Abdominal bloating, decreased appetite, and fatigue are all signs that you may be constipated, and you should speak to your doctor about treatment.

Fecal Incontinence

Fecal incontinence or bowel incontinence is when a person cannot control regular bowel movements. When the sphincter muscles are damaged from multiple sclerosis, the ability to delay emptying the bowels is disrupted.

Treatment Options for Incontinence Related to Multiple Sclerosis

Treatment options are available to help improve incontinence for those with multiple sclerosis. There are many conservative methods. However, if those are not effective, then there are medications available. If incontinence symptoms are more severe, you may be recommended surgery as a last resort to improve your quality of life.

Conservative Treatments for Incontinence

Diet and Lifestyle

Bladder and bowel health is critical when it comes to incontinence. Eating a well-balanced diet that consists of fiber and plenty of fluids can help with regular bowel movements and avoid constipation. Fluids like carbonated beverages, caffeine, and alcohol can irritate the bladder, so it is best to avoid them.

Establishing a Routine

Establishing a routine can help to avoid accidents. It might help to go to use the bathroom every few hours and after every meal. Keeping a pattern of eating and drinking at the exact times can also help. In the evening, make sure to have your last drink two hours before bed. This practice may help avoid an overnight accident.

Retraining the Bladder or Bowels

Bowel retraining and bladder retraining is a treatment for incontinence that can work well for those with persistent diarrhea, constipation, or nerve damage due to MS. With bowel retraining, the goal is to aim for consistency of the stool and regularity of the movements. Gradually increasing the time between bowel movements, you are retraining the sphincter muscles, which may help make it easier to hold on.

When retraining the bladder, this process also involves gradually increasing the amount of time between each visit to the bathroom. Both bowel and bladder retraining takes time and patience. Many people find that keeping a Bladder Journal or Bowel Journal can help. This journal can also be shared with your doctor to determine a treatment plan.

Incontinence Products

Assortment of incontinence productsToday, there are many incontinence products on the market that are designed to address light to severe urinary or fecal incontinence. These incontinence products can help provide more comfort, security, and protection for your clothing, bedding, furniture, and auto.

Incontinence products are available in a wide variety of absorbency levels, sizes, and styles. And, these products are offered for all genders and ages. Some of the categories include:

  • Incontinence Protective Underwear resemble regular underwear and offer more traditional and discreet protection.
  • Incontinence Briefs are also called adult diapers with refastenable tabs. This incontinence product is a more secure and absorbent option.
  • Incontinence Liners and Pads are generally used for light to moderate incontinence and are inserted into regular underwear as an added layer of protection.
  • Incontinence Belted Undergarments are much longer than a typical pad and feature a belt for additional security.
  • Incontinence Bed Pads, Underpads, and Chux are an excellent option to protect everything from your bed, furniture, car seat, or use as a puppy potty training pad.
  • Incontinence Clamps are used to help treat urinary incontinence in men. This device blocks the flow of urine. Many men use them to control urinary incontinence after prostate surgery, obesity, old age, or those who have diabetes.

Visit our Incontinence Product page for more information and to order these products. Our caring, specially trained Product Advisors can help you decide which option is most suitable for you.

Intermittent Catheters

collage of intermittent and Foley cathetersWhen a person cannot fully empty their bladder independently, they may be given the option to use an intermittent catheter.  By using an intermittent catheter, it can help eliminate overflow incontinence. A thin, flexible tube is into the urethra to drain urine out of the bladder. All catheters are designed to be sterile, one-time-use, and require a valid prescription from a physician. There are various types of catheters available, and depending on your unique needs, your doctor will know what is best for you.

Foley Catheters or Indwelling Catheters

Depending on the circumstance, a Foley catheter or indwelling catheter is inserted into the bladder and remains there for either a short or prolonged period. A balloon filled with sterile water is incorporated near the tip of the catheter tube. Once the catheter is inserted and inflated, this balloon prevents the Foley catheter from slipping out of place. Typically, a leg bag or urine drainage bag is connected to this type of indwelling catheter.

Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation

A treatment method that directly stimulates the nerves responsible for bladder and bowel control is called Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation (PTNS) and can treat incontinence. The tibial nerve is near the ankle, and during PTNS, a small needle connected to a stimulator device is inserted at this point. Impulses travel up the spine and target nerves in the spinal cord to retrain the bladder and pelvic floor muscle function. Some MS patients have found this helpful.

Using Medicine to Treat Incontinence

Laxatives

Sunmark ClearlaxMultiple sclerosis can leave some immobile, which can lead to constipation and ultimately overflow incontinence. Over-the-counter laxatives are available to help treat incontinence and come in various options such as suppositories, powders, and liquids. Laxatives are usually fast-acting to provide relief for irregularities. Make sure to you speak to your doctor or pharmacist about which type of laxative is best to use.

Antidiarrheal Medication

Antidiarrheals work to slow down the production of loose stool or diarrhea. Over-the-counter medications such as Imodium are available for purchase to help with the discomfort of repeated liquid bowel movements. However, it is essential to note that an underlying issue causes diarrhea, and these medications may offer only temporary relief.

Anal Irrigation and Enemas

Anal irrigation or rectal irrigation is a method that involves emptying the bowel by using a specialized pump, water, and irrigation tube. Anal irrigation is an effective alternative to conservative treatments like suppositories and laxatives. Anal irrigation can help manage chronic constipation and fecal incontinence.

Enemas are a quick, easy, and fast-acting treatment used to clear impaction from severe constipation. Using enema products involves administering a solution such as water and sodium phosphate to clear the bowel.

Antispasmodic Medications

Spasms of the bladder muscle can often be treated by the use of antispasmodic medications. These medications work to relax the muscles of the gut. They can help reduce urge incontinence associated with MS. Antispasmodic medications belong to a group of medicines known as antimuscarinic or anticholinergic drugs. A doctor must prescribe these medications as they are not suitable or safe for some people.

Injectable Therapies

Injectable therapies are available as a treatment that includes the non-surgical injection of a “bulking” material into the urethra to improve leakage. This material thickens the tissues, which then prevents soiling and improves bladder control.

Surgical Treatments for Incontinence

Suprapubic Catheters

As an alternative form of long-term catheterization, a suprapubic catheter can be used to treat incontinence. This type of catheter involves a minor surgical procedure to place a tube directly into your bladder through your abdomen. The suprapubic catheter can then be attached to a leg bag or urinary drainage bag to collect urine. It can be more comfortable than a Foley catheter and may be less likely to cause infection.

Botox

Botox is a potent neurotoxin that causes muscle paralysis by blocking the electrical impulses to a nerve. This type of incontinence treatment is relatively new in terms of treating an overactive bladder. If all other medications have failed to improve your condition, Botox may be a considered treatment by your doctor.

Bladder Augmentation

If medications and conservative treatments have failed to treat your incontinence, your doctor may discuss a bladder augmentation surgery may be an option. There are several ways this operation can be performed, but it is considered major surgery and involves cutting the bladder open. If you consider this option with your doctor, it is essential to ask as many questions as possible and take notes of your conversation.

Sacral Nerve Stimulation

Sacral Nerve Stimulation or Sacral Neuromodulation (SNM) can help restore normal bladder or bowel function by addressing the communication between the brain and the bladder and bowel. A device is implanted under the skin in the upper buttock. This device helps correct the messages that run along the nerve pathways that may be causing incontinence symptoms. As with other incontinence surgical treatment options, it should only be considered after medication and conservative incontinence treatment options have been exhausted.

Colostomy

For those with Multiple Sclerosis and incontinence, if fecal incontinence is severe, constipation is brought on from immobility, or dexterity issues have developed, your doctor may recommend a bowel diversion in the form of a colostomy. A small incision is made in the abdomen, and a section of the colon is pulled to the surface, forming a stoma. The stoma is an artificial opening that an ostomy skin barrier and ostomy pouch attaches to for waste collection. Colostomies may be temporary or permanent, so this treatment is typically considered in severe cases where all other treatment options have failed.

Where to Buy Incontinence Products

shop on Personally Delivered website, save an additional 5%, earn 3% cash back at teh end of the year based on purchasesWe carry a wide variety of incontinence products at Personally Delivered by many trusted brands like Attends, PBE Tranquility, Prevail, First Quality, Depend, and more. Incontinence is not the same for everyone, and that is why we have Product Advisors to help you navigate the purchasing process based on your unique needs.

Not only do we offer a wide range of incontinence products by absorbency, size, and style, we can help make it easy for you to get the products you need to be delivered right to your door when you need them. With our Automatic Delivery Program, you will save an additional 5% on each shipment and get 3% back at the end of the year. There is no commitment, it is hassle-free, and you can cancel at any time.

What Resources Are Available for Those Affected by MS?

For those affected by Multiple Sclerosis and incontinence, there are many resources available.

Multiple Sclerosis and incontinence often go hand-in-hand, but as you can see, there are many options available for treatment. We are here for all of your incontinence needs at Personally Delivered. If you need assistance choosing the right incontinence products for your unique situation, our Product Experts are just a phone call away.

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Bowel Incontinence in Men

two men smiling at one another for the bowel incontinence in men blog header

Bowel incontinence or fecal incontinence occurs when stool or gas unexpectedly leaks. Bowel incontinence can be as mild as unintentionally leaking stool when passing gas, to a full loss of controlling the bowels. Several contributing factors may cause bowel incontinence, and this condition can affect people of all ages, not just older men and women.

Common Causes of Bowel Incontinence in Men

Normal functioning of the rectum, anus, and nervous system are all required to maintain continence and hold stool from leaking.

Bowel incontinence in men is usually the result of a complex mixture of factors that contribute to a weakening of the muscles that control your sphincter, which is the ring of muscle that controls the opening and closing of the anus that helps hold stool and gas until it can be eliminated.

Some of the common causes of bowel incontinence include:

  • Constipation – Having three or fewer bowel movements in a single weak can significantly contribute to the weakening of the anus and intestines
  • Chronic diarrhea – When loose or watery bowel movements are experienced three or more times a day and last for more than a few days, severe constipation could signify a more serious underlying disease.
  • Prostate surgery – The first few weeks following prostate removal surgery (also known as prostatectomy), men may experience bowel incontinence due to the increased abdominal space with the loss of the prostate.
  • Anal sphincter muscle damage – If the ring of muscle that controls the opening and closing of the anus is damaged, involuntary stool leakage can happen.
  • Rectal prolapse – As a result of prolonged constipation or weakening of the pelvic floor muscles, rectal prolapse is when part of the rectum slips out of position and protrudes out of the anus.
  • Chronic laxative abuse – When a person becomes dependent on laxatives for a long time, the colon stops reacting and requires a larger dose to achieve a bowel movement. Internal organs can be damaged and lead to colon infections and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
  • Nervous system disorders – Having a stroke, spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, or Multiple sclerosis can damage the nervous system and affect the nerves that sense stool in the rectum or the ability to control the anal sphincter.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) – Abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea are all symptoms of IBS that can lead to bowel incontinence.

Possible Treatments for Bowel Incontinence in Men

Colace stool softenerSome treatments can help bowel incontinence in men. Treatment choice depends on the cause and severity of the disease as well as the person’s motivation and general health. Commonly, conservative measures are used together, and if appropriate, surgery is carried out.

  • Diet changes – Keeping a daily food and beverage journal can help keep track of what type of foods may be causing your symptoms. Your doctor may refer you to a dietitian or nutritionist if needed.
  • Medications – Your doctor may prescribe or suggest over-the-counter medicines like bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol, Kaopectate) or loperamide (Imodium) if you have diarrhea. If you are constipated, stool softeners, laxatives, or fiber supplements (Metamucil or Citrucel) may improve your fecal incontinence by stimulating the colon to move stool.
  • Bowel retraining –  This type of treatment program includes daily training to help regulate bowel movements using diet, various techniques, and sometimes medication. The program will be different for everybody because each person responds differently. Your doctor will help you develop the best course of action that is suited for your unique needs.
  • Pelvic floor muscle strengthening – Your doctor may refer you to a physical therapist specializing in pelvic floor muscle exercises (Kegel exercises). Through tightening and relaxing your pelvic area, anus, and rectum, this type of activity will help increase muscle strength and bowel and gas control.
  • Surgery – In extreme or unmanageable cases, surgery can be carried out to improve bowel incontinence. Sphincteroplasty is a procedure that reconnects any anal sphincter tears that may have occurred from a man’s genitals or urinary area. Other surgery might treat other medical conditions that affect bowel incontinence, such as rectal prolapse or hemorrhoids.

Complications of Bowel Incontinence

man sitting on the edge of the bed not feeling well and holding his head in his handBowel Incontinence or fecal incontinence can be very stressful for those who experience it. It can cause emotional distress as well as skin irritation.

Emotional distress – When you lose control over your bodily functions, it can be embarrassing, frustrating, and depressing. This loss of dignity can lead to avoidance of social interaction and trying to hide the condition.

Skin irritation – When there is repeated contact with incontinence products such as toilet paper and personal care wipes, the sensitive and delicate perineal tissue around the anus can become irritated. This constant contact can lead to itching, pain, rashes, or potentially sores such as ulcers that require medical attention.

Managing Life with Bowel Incontinence

aloe vesta and sensi-care readiness essentials supplies for managing bowel incontinence in menYou can help manage bowel incontinence by always making sure to be well-stocked on bowel incontinence supplies, whether you are home or heading out. By following the bowel retraining program and using the toilet before you leave home, you can help lessen or possibly eliminate an embarrassing episode. You can also make sure you carry your medications, incontinence supplies, fecal deodorants, and a change of clothes with you.

The perineal tissue around the anus is sensitive and delicate.  Therefore, anal discomfort, itching, and irritation can be common. Here are some ways to help manage these symptoms:

Bowel incontinence in men is more common than you may think. You do not have to suffer in silence. Finding the right incontinence products for men and developing a plan with your doctor can help you overcome this condition and lead a life of dignity.

For questions about any of the bowel or fecal incontinence products or other incontinence supplies we carry, please give us a call or complete our Contact Us form. One of our Product Experts will be happy to help and guide you through your purchasing experience.

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Having a Spinal Cord Injury and Regaining Independence

man in wheelchair smiling and raising his fist in success

A spinal cord injury is an often disabling medical condition caused by damage to the spinal cord or the nerves near the end of the spinal cord. Depending on the location of the injury on the spine, paralysis can occur in some if not all parts of the body. The higher the injury location on the spine, the more assistance a person most likely will need.

Becoming disabled after a spinal cord injury can truly be devastating. However, many individuals – even with high levels of paralysis, such as quadriplegics, go on to be extremely successful and productive members of society. Many also have relationships, including marriage and children.

Managing Life at Home After a Spinal Cord Injury

The biggest concern for anyone who has a spinal cord injury is how they will manage it. This thought happens most often in the early stages of their recovery. When I had my spinal cord injury, I couldn’t do much for myself either. After having a back fusion surgery where rods were surgically placed all the way down my spine, I had to wear a TSO cast that encased my entire upper torso. It gave time for the rods to fuse with my spine. During this time, I was under many restrictions, such as when I wasn’t wearing it, I had to remain in bed and could not even turn myself. After twelve weeks, I was completely free from wearing this cast, but I still couldn’t lift more than five pounds.

As much as I appreciated all this attention to detail, my biggest concern was that I had infant children. My youngest was a newborn who had never been less than five pounds. So, I had no choice but to hire help. It was the only way I was going to have any chance of working on myself. I hired a nanny to live with me to take care of the baby at night. During the day, they went to daycare.

I was in a rental wheelchair when I went home from rehab. I was also sleeping in a hospital bed until the orthopedic surgeon felt it was safe for me to sleep in my own bed. Before I had left rehab, I had hired a home health aid. She wasn’t trained in personal care, such as bladder and bowel incontinence, but she was willing to learn, so the rehab facility taught her. She helped me shower, take care of my bathroom needs at home, dressed me, and helped me into my wheelchair. Once I was in the wheelchair, I was at least mobile.

Then, I learned to drive. I received assistance from DARS, now known as Texas Workforce. They helped pay for the hand controls installed in my car and the lessons to learn how to drive a modified vehicle.

Going Back to Work After a Spinal Cord Injury

woman in a wheelchair working on a computerLater on, when I chose to go back to college, Texas Workforce helped pay for courses and books that I needed. When I got further education to write for teenagers and children, they continued to help me achieve my ultimate goal to be a full-time writer. I chose to work from home, so with their help, I had my office set up with adaptive equipment, including an ‘uplift desk.’ There was no excuse for me to not be productive, so I went to work.

Going back to work after my spinal cord injury was one of the best decisions I could have made for myself, along with learning to drive. The sense of independence I felt was heaven sent. Within months, my confidence as a writer grew. With continuous physical therapy, I also gained upper body strength to take care of my own needs.

I wasn’t shy about seeking psychological help either. I was grieving the loss of my legs and how my spinal cord injury affected my life after that. Everything changed for me, and I could either sink or swim.

Regaining Independence After My Spinal Cord Injury

After my youngest reached four years old, I let go of the nanny. That had been one of the many goals I had set for myself. So from that point on, I was taking care of my two children alone.

I’ve always said that life is about choices, but my thought process became warped when I had my injury. Eventually, I gained hope, which ultimately gave me the strength to keep moving forward. I went on to marry again and have another child. Through all of this, I have learned I needed no help this time around caring for my third child.

What I Learned on My Journey to Independence

group with disabilities from spinal cord injury sharing a beer and playing gamesWhat I have learned the most throughout my self-discovery journey is that there are some really nice people in the world. One of them I married, and the others are my closest friends. I also found that the more I do, the more respect I gain from those who don’t quite understand my disability from my spinal cord injury. However, what they see is a self-sufficient, strong, confident mother of three who happens to be in a wheelchair.

If you or someone you care for has a disability due to a spinal cord injury or any other medical condition, some of the mobility and adaptive equipment and incontinence products we carry may help in everyday life. For more resources, help to find support, and to read other’s stories, the United Spinal Association is a great place to start.

If you have any questions or need more information on the home delivery medical supplies we offer, our Product Experts are just a phone call away and ready to assist.

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.

Popular Mobility & Adaptive Equipment

Carex Ultra Grabber Reaching Aid

Carex grabber reacher

Carex Bath Transfer Bench

Carex bath transfer bench

CanDo Magneciser Pedal Exerciser

pedal exerciser as an adaptive piece of equipment

Drive White Steel Bathtub Grab Bar

ADJ drive steel bathtub grab bar
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Take Control of Your Pelvic Floor Disorder

Woman breathing in the fresh air outside and smiling

Whether it’s from straining, childbirth, age, an injury, or surgery, pelvic floor disorder can feel physically painful and emotionally isolating. Conditions like urinary and fecal incontinence are more common than you might think, and they’re very treatable. Here are some of the common ways you can start to take control of your pelvic floor disorder!

Pelvic Floor Issues

Roughly one in three women is affected by pelvic floor disorders leading to urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, or pelvic discomfort. It is not uncommon for women with pelvic floor disorders to experience frequent urinary tract infections.

Common Conditions Related to Pelvic Floor Disorder

  • Woman holding her pelvic region in painFrequent or urgent urination
  • Leaking urine when laughing or coughing
  • Painful urination
  • Pressure and pain in your vagina, bladder, or rectum
  • Vaginal bulging (pelvic muscles weaken, causing the pelvic organs to drop into the vagina, causing a bulge)

Some of the more advanced conditions are:

  • Fecal incontinence – leakage of feces due to the inability to control bowel movements
  • Overactive bladder – the urge to urinate becomes challenging to control, causing leakage during both day and night
  • Pelvic floor dysfunction – the inability to relax the pelvic floor muscles for natural bowel movements often leading to constipation, urge incontinence (sudden need to urinate), and pain
  • Pelvic organ prolapse – the pelvic muscles cannot support the organs in the pelvic region
  • Rectovaginal fistula – an abnormal connection between the rectum and the vagina causing leakage of bowel into the vagina
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections – persistent infections in the kidneys, bladder, or urethra
  • Urethral diverticulum – a pouch that forms along the urethra, often filling with urine and leading to infection
  • Urinary incontinence – involuntary leakage of urine
  • Urinary retention – the inability to fully empty the bladder
  • Vaginal mesh complications – any abnormality resulting from placement of mesh after transvaginal surgery such as bleeding, infection, or pain
  • Vesicovaginal fistula– an abnormal connection between the vagina and bladder causing involuntary urine leakage

Treating Pelvic Floor Disorder with Physical Therapy

When the pelvic floor muscles are too tight or too weak, they can cause incontinence or even pain. Physical therapy is one of the ways to take charge of your pelvic health. Specially trained physical therapists can provide pelvic floor dysfunction treatments, including bowel and bladder dysfunction, pelvic pain, abdominal/ organ conditions, pelvic bones, hip pain, and low back/sacral and coccygeal disorders.

Using the latest technology advances, these physical therapists can apply targeted rehabilitative techniques, including pelvic floor therapy, computerized biofeedback, and strengthening and relaxation techniques. Their goal is to help women with pelvic floor disorders to relieve their discomfort and improve their daily living quality. Pelvic physical therapy is covered by insurance, although coverage may vary.

You may be trained to practice pelvic floor exercises regularly at home to improve your bladder or bowel control, reduce the risk of prolapse, and increase your quality of life. Here, the pelvic floor and how to exercise these muscles is explained:

Treating Pelvic Floor Disorder with Medication

Person dispensing medication from a bottle into the palm of their handThe goal of treatment for pelvic floor disorder is to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life. After your doctor cannot identify the specific cause, your treatment plan’s focus will be managing the symptoms and pain.

Your doctor may recommend several medications to treat your condition, such as:

  • Pain relievers – Over-the-counter pain remedies such as Tylenol, ibuprofen, or aspirin may provide partial relief from your pelvic pain. However, a prescription pain reliever may be necessary. Pain medication alone, however, rarely solves the problem of chronic pain.
  • Antibiotics – If your pelvic pain stems from an infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics.
  • Hormone treatments – If pelvic pain is experienced simultaneously with your menstrual cycle, the pain may be related to the hormonal changes that control menstruation and ovulation. Doctors often prescribe hormonal medications or birth control methods to manage the pain.
  • Antidepressants – Even if symptoms of depression are not present, your doctor may opt to treat your pelvic main with an antidepressant. Some types of antidepressants can be helpful for chronic pain and have pain-relieving effects.

Treating Pelvic Floor Disorder with Surgery

Doctor performing pelvic floor surgeryIf non-surgical therapies do not resolve your pelvic floor disorder symptoms, or for more complex pelvic organ prolapse conditions, robotic-assisted surgery may be recommended. Usually, surgery is recommended after more conservative options have been exhausted.

  • Transvaginal – Implanted surgical mesh made of synthetic polypropylene reinforces the weakened vaginal wall.
  • Open abdominal – A large incision is made either from the belly button down to the upper pelvic zone or from the outer left pelvic area across the abdomen to the outer right pelvic area.
  • Laparoscopic – This minimally invasive technique uses a thin, flexible tube with a video camera on the end that is inserted through tiny incisions near the belly button. The uterus is removed through the tube or vagina. This type of procedure provides improved recovery with less pain, less bleeding, and faster recovery.
  • Robotic-Assisted
    • Hysterectomy – Removal of the uterus
    • Sacrocollpopexy – Reconstructive surgery to repair vaginal prolapse
    • Sacral Urethropexy – Correcting the uterine prolapse following a hysterectomy

Many underlying issues may be causing your pelvic floor disorder, but we hope you’ve found this information about possible treatments helpful. Nothing is more important than your health. If you have any questions about the incontinence supplies or catheters we offer to help manage your symptoms, give us a call, and one of our Product Experts will be happy to help guide you through your purchasing experience.

Popular Incontinence and Catheter Supplies

Prevail Women's Overnight Disposable Underwear

Prevail Womens Overnight Underwear

Tranquility Personal Care Pads

Tranquility overnight personal care pads

Coloplast SpeediCath Compact Catheter Set for Women

Coloplast SpeediCath Compact Catheter Set for Women

GentleCath Glide Female Catheter

ConvaTec Gentlecath Glide female catheter
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The Real Costs of Incontinence

man with an open wallet showing the real costs of incontinence

The real costs of incontinence can be stressful. Let’s face it, when we are managing incontinence, we all know that diapers, briefs, protective underwear, and pads cost money. But when we dig a little deeper, the price tag attached to other health conditions stemming from incontinence is often forgotten. Incontinence can lead to physical and emotional effects and those can have a great economic impact on our lives.

Educating consumers about options they have and where they might purchase their incontinence products and supplies could help lessen some of the burdens that come along with incontinence management. We will talk about the real costs of incontinence and provide some insight into how you might be able to lessen the stress on your pocketbook.

Quality Products Make a Difference

When you choose incontinence products that are low-cost and offer little to no absorbency, you are choosing a product that you will need to replace more frequently, causing you to spend more money. Although you already know that you will be replenishing your incontinence supplies over time, you might not have to as often if you invest in absorbent products that can be worn for extended periods of time. This could lead to spending a bit more upfront on good high-quality products, but you’ll get more life out of each wear.

It is also important to note that purchasing the correctly fitting incontinence products is essential in reducing the amount of changes you require. We provide the necessary steps to properly measure yourself or someone you care for here.

Laundry and Waste

Another reason to choose high quality absorbent disposable products is to lessen the amount of laundry and waste you build up over time. If you’re leaking through your incontinence products, you will soil your clothing and linens more frequently, resulting in the need to do more loads of laundry.

Changing low-cost briefs, diapers, and pads more often will also create a lot more trash that you’ll have on your hands. Reducing the number of changes by using quality and proper fitting products will also help lessen the amount of waste you acquire and allow you or the person you are caring for worry less about incontinence episodes.

The Costs of Incontinence Products

aloe vesta and sensi-care products that can contribute to the costs of incontinenceMany other product needs may arise when you suffer from incontinence. Body washes, personal cleansing wipes, lotions, creams, and ointments are all products that might be used in conjunction with the other absorbent disposable supplies. Keeping your skin dry and clean is an important process of managing incontinence. These supplies can aid in reducing bacteria build-up and the treatment of potential rashes, however they also cost money.

Emotional & Financial Stresses

One’s emotional health is vital to their overall health. The financial stress of the many costs of incontinence products can really take a toll on a person’s health and quality of life. Living a life with incontinence can bring about interrupted sleep at night, the risk of urinary tract infections, or even worse, taking a fall and land a person in the hospital. This burden can be very expensive not to mention a contributor to possible physical decline due to reduced activity.

For seniors that do not qualify for Medicaid, no level of reimbursement is available for absorbent incontinence products. This may cause elderly folks to be forced to choose between the necessities of living and their disposable medical supplies. No one should have to make that decision, especially at this age.

Becoming a Smarter Consumer

Instead of making a trip to your local grocery or drug store to purchase the incontinence supplies you need, consider choosing us as your online retailer. We offer a wide range of incontinence products that range from light to very heavy absorbency, as well as all of those items we mentioned previously that aid in healing the other incontinence related health conditions.

woman smiling and pointing to computer screen showing personally delivered incontinence productsOur money-savings program takes the stress out of having to take trips to the store for restocking and you save on every future order that you remain on the plan. All you have to do is choose the frequency of your home delivery schedule and leave the rest to us.

We also have special discounts and promotions to help lower some of the costs. The best part about us is our compassionate Product Experts that can take the stress out of trying to determine the right products for your specific needs. We provide free consultations and walk you through the decision-making process.

In the end, all of the costs of incontinence products add up and can result in even worse complications with your health that can really take a toll on the quality of life.

Our goal at Personally Delivered is to provide innovative services to treat illness and disease and promote the improvement of personal health and independence. Give us a call and we would be happy to discuss your concerns about expenses related to managing incontinence. (800)777-1111

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Alzheimer’s & Incontinence

doctor holding sign that reads Alzheimer's and Incontinence How are They Related?

Understanding Incontinence in People with Alzheimer's

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive illness of the brain that slowly destroys a person’s cognitive capabilities. This can begin to interfere with basic daily self-care functions. In the later stages of Alzheimer’s, incontinence is common.

There is a complex relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and incontinence. Because we cannot see the brain, we are unable to know when it is changing in a person affected by this disease. Alzheimer’s may cause incontinence by taking away a person’s ability to recognize the need to use the bathroom.

A person’s language, speech, reasoning, and judgement can all be affected with Alzheimer’s disease. When someone doesn’t understand a question or is unable to form the words to let someone know they need to use the facilities, time may run out resulting in a bladder or bowel accident. Memory loss also may cause one to be incapable of finding a restroom when they are experiencing urge incontinence.

elderly woman dressed in a black and white dress standing in front of mirror looking away

How to Manage Alzheimer's and Incontinence

When caring for a person suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, ensuring you have an understanding attitude is key. They are likely to feel embarrassed, ashamed, or even angry about the condition.

It is essential to have empathy when taking care of someone with Alzheimer’s and incontinence. Being supportive and reassuring the person that incontinence is a common condition will help to reduce their feelings of embarrassment.

Essential Tips for Family or Caregivers:

Ensure they have the right incontinence products – A person affected by Alzheimer’s can be protected all day with the right products. They’ll also have uninterrupted sleep and be more comfortable throughout the night. These products not only offer protection but can rebuild confidence and help improve quality of life. Diapers, underwear, pads, and liners are offered in multiple sizes to fit all body types.

attends, covidien, abeena, tranquility incontinence products in lineup

Establish a daily routine – Building a daily routine of going to the restroom will allow enough time for the person to regularly empty their bladder and bowels. Making going to the restroom a part of a routine can be very effective for those with Alzheimer’s since drastic changes are often uncomfortable for them.

Make sure they are drinking enough water – Six to eight glasses of fluids each day is essential. Withholding fluids can cause dehydration, which can lead to a urinary tract infection or increased incontinence. On the other hand, not drinking enough fluids, or not drinking them for long periods of time can lead to constipation. Drinking enough water paired with the daily routine above can lessen potential accidents.

Encourage your loved one to stay active – Believe it or not, gentle exercise every day can help with regular bowel movements. Just the shortest walks can be effective in increasing their health.

elderly woman with head on pillow and eyes closed gently smiling

Some of Our Best Product Picks for Managing Incontinence:

Personally Delivered Daytime and Overnight Protective Underwear packages next to each other

Personally Delivered Daytime & Nighttime Protective Undergarments – The most advanced technology is used to provide superior absorbency and leakage protection, better than many of the leading brands. These undergarments will keep you dry, comfortable, and confident throughout the day and/or night.

Abena Abri-Form Medium Absorbency Comfort Briefs

Abena Abri-Form Comfort Briefs – These fitted briefs are one of the leading adult diapers, known for their high quality and super absorbency. Four different absorbency levels are offered, providing all-around protection. Advanced features include stand-up leak guards, re-fastenable tape tabs, wetness indicator, and elastic in rear waistband.

Tranquility overnight personal care pads

Tranquility OverNight Personal Care Pads – These overnight care incontinence pads keep the skin dry and reduce odor while protecting delicate skin.

Tranquility belted undergarment

Tranquility Select Belted Undergarment – This secure fitting one-size-fits-all product has a pair of wide two button-elastic straps and a waterproof cloth-like outer layer. The soft absorbent mat is made with super-absorbent polymers, keeping the skin dry and protects against skin breakdown.

Life with Alzheimer’s can be manageable for both the patient and the caregiver. We at Personally Delivered have Product Experts to help you find the right home delivery incontinence supplies suited for your specific needs.

Speak to one of our caring Product Experts today! Toll-free (800) 777-1111

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