How mobile you are is likely to affect which products suit you. In this section you will find information about how impaired mobility affects product suitability.
Click on the purple tabs below for more information.
Bladder / bowel leakage is often associated with reduced mobility when the toilet cannot be reached in time. However, you should be able to find lots of products that help you to manage your bladder or bowel leakage even with reduced mobility.
Mobility difficulties vary between individuals and can change from day to day or month to month. You may need to re-think which products you use from time to time.
Whether you can stand with or without help as certain products are easier to put on in a standing position; for example, pull-up pants (men and women) or body-worn urinals for men.
Whether you can turn in a standing position; for example, this will allow you to move from a chair to commode.
Whether you can move to the front of a chair or edge of the bed, as hand held urinals work better in these positions.
Whether you are able to easily change lower clothing. Some pads, for example disposable pants, require you to remove lower clothing to put them on.
The sections below give information about product choice and mobility. Click on the links to be taken to the relevant product sections for more detail.
Women with good mobility tend to prefer smaller pads which they change more frequently. Men and women who are less mobile and need help changing pads may prefer the security of larger pads even if they are only leaking small amounts of urine as larger pads require changing less frequently 1.
Some pads are easier to use than others if you have difficulty standing without help.
Insert pads and all-in-one pads can be fitted in a sitting position if you are able to lift your buttocks one at a time and pull up stretch pants. They can be fitted when lying down by rolling the body from side to side.
T-shape pads have a belt which is attached around the waist first. The pad part is then pulled between the legs and attached to the belt with reusable tabs. They do not require stretch pants to hold them in place.
Pull-up style pads can be more difficult to manage as you have to remove and replace clothing to put these products on.
You can read more information about pads.
Male devices are easiest to apply if you can sit on the edge of a chair or bed, or stand up. These positions maximise the penile length allowing the devices to be fitted securely onto the penis.
All male devices can move out of position if you are sitting or moving around. Securing them properly is important to avoid leaks.
Body-worn urinals are less successful when used in a sitting or lying position. Even if a body-worn urinal has been fitted correctly there is the possibility of the penis slipping out of the cone. This is most likely if you experience penile retraction.
You are always wise to experiment with these products when at home, before venturing outside.
You can read more information about male devices.
You can read more information about female devices.
If you are very immobile, an indwelling catheter can be a useful form of management. A catheter can help you manage your bladder leakage without the need for help.
However, there are some serious risks associated with indwelling catheter use which you need to be aware of. The most important of these are infection and blockage. For this reason indwelling catheters should only be used as a last resort when no other products are suitable.
The need for an indwelling catheter should be reviewed regularly with your healthcare professional. You should always have a detailed healthcare plan written for your needs.
Intermittent self-catheterisation (ISC) is possible if you have limited mobility. The key to success with this technique is being able to access the urethral opening in order to insert the catheter. Women who have difficulty opening their legs can try devices called leg dividers and labia dividers.
Some ISC catheters are connected to a drainage bag which contains the urine until it is convenient to empty it.
You can read more information about catheters.
You can read more information about faecal devices.
Many toileting aids are designed specifically to help when you have reduced mobility.
If you are have trouble getting to the toilet you could use a commode.
If you are unable to transfer onto a commode you might consider using a hand-held urinal. These work best if you can sit on the edge of the bed or chair. They are less successful when sitting back in a chair or lying down. This is especially true for women.
You may also find a bidet useful if you have difficulty reaching down, twisting around or standing to wipe yourself.
You can read more information about toileting aids.
Keep different sized pads to suit your activity.
Always carry spares with you, including plastic bags.
Constantly 'test' new/different appliances until you are happy with them.
It may help to have a high bed (if you are using a hand-held urinal or doing Intermittent Self-catheterisation).
Often it is inconvenient to put down a used urinal whilst adjusting your clothes. Always make sure you have an appropriate surface nearby to place it on so that you can just 'forget' about the full item and not knock it over!
Have a plastic bag or disposal container handy for used pads and wet wipes. Also one for wet/soiled clothing. Similarly, have dry, replacement linen/nightwear in an easily accessible drawer.
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