Self Care for Women With Urinary Incontinence
Incontinence is a condition that results in the involuntary loss of urine without the owners' permission. It is a condition that affects millions of American men and women. There are many changes that occur in the human body as we get older. Like many other bodily system, the urinary tract undergoes changes with age. These changes make middle age and older men and women more likely to become incontinent of urine as they grow older. It is important to remember that incontinence is not a necessary part of the aging process but it is more common in older men and women. There are a number of actions that women can take to decrease or even limit this embarrassing situation.
The skin around the outside of the vagina in women is called the "vulva". This area includes the skin around the urethra and the vaginal "lips" or labia. Frequently, in incontinent women this area is red, raw, and sore from urine irritating the skin. If this is a problem for women, these tips may help make women more comfortable and avoid irritation of the bladder, urethra, and surrounding skin.
Women who are incontinent should wear cotton underwear instead of underwear made of synthetic material such as nylon. I also suggest that women do not wear synthetic pantyhose, especially not under pants or jeans. Women will also find that the underwear will be less irritating to the vulva if the underwear is washed in pure soap or soap flakes and not in harsh detergents or with the addition of fabric softeners. I suggest that women wash the vulvar area no more than twice a day, using only plan water or mild soap such as Ivory or Dove.
Women who are incontinent should avoid bath oils, bubble baths or bath salts. All of these can be very irritating to the already sensitive skin of the vulva. Vaginal deodorants or douches should also be avoided. Tampons should not be used as they may irritate the bladder and the urethra.
After bathing, the vulvar area should be gently dried with a towel, and then use a hair dryer on cool or low setting to dry the vulva completely.
If you need a powder to help keep the vulvar area dry, I suggest using ordinary corn starch and not talcum powder.
Finally, try drinking pure water as much as possible and avoid caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea, and cola beverages. Avoid alcohol especially in excess as alcohol may irritate the bladder and the urethra.
Nearly every woman with incontinence can be helped and most can be cured. If this is a problem that is affecting your quality of life, I suggest you contact your physician.
Reprinted with permission from Dialog Medical, dialogmedical.com.
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