Another unseen, but very important, urinary incontinence factor that must be effectively managed is the risk of bacterial or fungal infections. Urine is sterile when it empties out of the bladder. However, if the urine is left to saturate clothing or over-saturate the incontinence undergarment and remain in constant contact with the skin, bacteria and other organisms can grow. This sets the stage for preventable complications, including skin surface breakdown and urinary tract infections.
Urinary tract infections caused by this situation are more common in women because of the shorter distance between the opening to the bladder (where the urine exits the body, through the urinary urethra) and the external environment of the unabsorbed urine on the skin surface. The urine-to-skin contact creates a bacterial breeding ground and a higher chance that bacteria and other organisms may enter the bladder through the urethra. The best incontinence products for men and women lock away urine and create a physical barrier to help protect the skin.
The risk of urinary tract infection is even greater when the individual or patient has both bladder and bowel incontinence. While it’s not something that people typically talk about, we all know a normally functioning human body makes liquid and solid waste. The solid waste, stool or bowel movement naturally has bacteria and flora in it. This sets the stage for bacteria, especially in solid fluid waste, to easily enter the urinary tract system. This can lead to urinary tract, bladder and even kidney infections. To prevent infections, the individual or caregivers should try to maintain a regular toileting routine. For example, making a trip to the bathroom every two hours (during non-sleeping hours) is one easy way to avoid prolonged exposure of the skin and urethra to solid waste from bladder and bowel incontinence. Wearing a heavier pad or undergarment during the night time, and changing it promptly upon waking, is another way to avoid infections.
Individuals who use incontinence products should investigate and learn all they can about the liquid absorption capability of their selected incontinence product. Most incontinence product labels describe or show the volume of urine or solid fluid waste that that particular brand or model can effectively hold. How to select the proper liquid absorption and capacity for incontinence disposable briefs is further discussed below.