Discussing Your Patient's Incontinence

The best ways to bring up leakage and protective hygiene with your patient or resident.

The first conversation you have with your patient about managing their incontinence can set the tone for all future interactions. Here are a few tips to help make that conversation easier for both of you.  

Establishing Comfort and Trust

Use Comfortable Vocabulary

Incontinence is not a word everyone is familiar with or comfortable using right away. In the beginning of discussions, use phrases like "leaks" or "loss of control," and ask if they wear pads for bladder leakage. Pay close attention to their responses and use the same language they do in order to set them at ease. Always be mindful of their feelings, and empathize with their experiences whenever you can. Don't blame them for not taking action or seeking a solution. Your patient will be more open to discussion if they feel understood and respected. 

Let Them Know It's Common

It's helpful to let your patient know that leaks are not a disease. They affect around 25 million Americans, and as many as 1 in 4 women experience bladder leaks every year.

Behavioral changes to suggest

Visiting the Bathroom Even When They Don't "Have" to Go

Your patient will experience fewer leaks and sudden urges throughout the day if they visit the bathroom regularly to empty their bladder, even when they don't "have" to go. 

Keep a Bathroom Diary

Suggest that your patient start keeping a Bowel and Bladder Diary to track their bathroom habits and leakage episodes. This diary can help you assess their symptoms. 

Learn more about keeping a bathroom diary on this page about Bladder Retraining.

Pelvic Exercises

Educate your patient about Kegel exercises. These exercises can help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that support the bladder. Here's a handy guide on how to target those pelvic muscles.

Changes in Diet 

Foods that are diuretics – like morning coffee or afternoon soda – could be placing a lot of unnecessary stress on the bladder by increasing the production of urine, which can lead to more frequent leaks. Consuming fiber is extremely important, as it contributes to improved bowel habits. Suggest that your patient visit this page about Diet and Incontinence to learn about dietary health in bladder and bowel control.  

Medication 

As you know, when it comes to incontinence, some medications improve symptoms while others just make them worse. Ask your patient about their current medications to determine the effects on their bladder control. Here is a guide to medications that may affect continence. 

Surgery

As you know, surgery is by no means necessary to improve bladder control, but if your patient is curious, give them straight answers. Make sure they understand the benefits and risks before pursuing surgical treatment. 

Discreet and Comfortable: Protective Hygiene

Let your patient know that protective hygiene is just another part of their daily hygiene routine. These absorbent products are there to help them stay fresh and clean, just like toothpaste or deodorant. Prevail products are made with Dri-Fit – our material that blends the comfort of cotton and the protection of synthetics to make protective hygiene feel more natural. Prevail is the #1 ranked protective hygiene brand in healthcare* and all of our products have been developed with healthcare practitioners like yourself.

*in market share by both units sold and dollars spent, based on data from GHX covering the last 4 quarters reported (Q1'17-Q4'17), wherein Healthcare is defined as Home Healthcare and Long Term Care combined and protective hygiene is defined as absorbent products for the management of incontinence in adults.

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Have a question? Our eNurse team is here to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Whether you're experiencing leaks for the first time, caring for a loved one with incontinence, or a veteran healthcare professional with questions, our team of licensed nurses have heard it all, and are ready to lend their confidential, respectful, and personalized expertise at any time.

Contact us anytime at 866-573-3776 or chat with us live Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. ET.