Important points to consider
Many people are unable to manage bladder and bowel problems by themselves. Sometimes even a small amount of help can make all the difference. For example, a helper can position items you need ready for use, such as a commode or urinal.
The support available to you may affect the products you can use. If you are dependent on intermittent visits from a helper who is only available at certain times of the day, you may need to use longer lasting or larger volume products. If your helper is elderly or has a disability they may also find helping you with some products difficult themselves.
There is a wide range of products and methods available to manage these problems. Trying different product types and different brands will give you the best chance of finding the ones that will help you to manage alone or with minimal help.
Check manufacturers’ instructions to make sure you are using products correctly, which will mean they are more effective and can help maintain your independence.
Websites such as this one can also help by providing knowledge about products you did not know about, or tips for using more familiar products.
The sections below give information about product choice and independence. Click on the links to be taken to the relevant product sections for more detail.
If changing a pad is very difficult for you, you may choose a larger, less discreet pad that is likely to need changing less often. Smaller pads may be discreet but need changing unacceptably often.
If pads that you can manage yourself are more expensive, save this option for when you don't have help and have to manage yourself.
You can read more information about all types of pads in the sections on Absorbent products for women and Absorbent products for men.
If you are not able to perform intermittent catheterisation yourself, it is possible for a helper to do it for you. However, it is an intimate procedure and this may be embarrassing for you and your helper. You should discuss this before opting for intermittent catheterisation as a bladder management strategy.
If you have an indwelling catheter with a urine collection bag or catheter valve, maintaining catheter hygiene and regularly emptying of the bag or opening of the valve are extremely important. If you are unable to manage these things yourself, you will need regular help to use these products safely. You should discuss these issues with your health care professional.
You can find more information about catheters here.
- Often helpers are involved in emptying and cleaning toileting aids such as commodes and urinals.1 If you are considering using toileting aids, you might wish to talk to your helper about their willingness to help you with this.
Follow these links to find more information about toileting aids for women and toileting aids for men.
Tips from products users
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