Picking the Perfect Catheter Alternative
Medically Edited and Reviewed by Dr. Erin Zinkhan MD, BSBE
Mild urinary incontinence can happen to anyone -- from new mothers to athletes and active seniors. Thankfully, there are many hassle-free internal catheter alternatives to prevent mild or even temporary incontinence from running your life.
Surgically inserted catheters may be necessary to treat severe urinary incontinence or bladders that don't completely empty. Unfortunately, catheter insertion can be quite uncomfortable. Catheters require special care to prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). Catheters can also limit your mobility and therefore impair your ability to fully engage in the day-to-day activities that you enjoy.
These drawbacks mean catheters may not be ideal for treating temporary or mild incontinence.
Fortunately, there are catheter alternatives that are discreet, sanitary, comfortable, and economical. Here we review Vitality Medical's most popular incontinence supplies -- penile clamps, compression pouches, pads, protective underwear, muscle training, and underpads.
Which Catheter Alternative is Right for Me?
Gender is a logical place to start when determining what incontinence supplies can help manage light or temporary incontinence.
For Him: There are wearable male incontinence products that boost confidence and prevent incontinence-related worries from slowing you down. The following are ideal for men recovering from prostate surgery or experiencing minor urinary control issues due to age or injury:
Penile clamps -- Don't be fooled by the name, penile clamps (also called incontinence clamps) are anatomically designed for all-day comfort and maximum control. These re-washable clamps come in different sizes (or have special features) to accommodate virtually any man. The clamps can be worn during daily activities and easily fit through zippers.
How they work: Some are shaped like clamps that the penis is inserted into. Others wrap around the penis shaft. Regardless of style, every penile clamp maintains blood flow throughout the penis while gently maintaining pressure on the urethra to prevent leakage of urine.
- Tip: Travelers needn't worry; many incontinence clamps do not contain metal. These units slip through metal detectors at airports and other public venues.
Compression pouches -- These disposable pouches cover part of the penis and gently compress the urethra to control urine flow. They also protect clothing from stray urine droplets. Virtually undistinguishable under clothing, the ACTICUF Male Dribbling Incontinence Pad Pouch is a breeze to use in public urinals where privacy is at a premium.
For Her: Women have several cost-effective pads and undergarments with incontinence protection that far exceeds traditional panty guards. These incontinence items are every bit as comfortable and economical as everyday garments and provide you the additional confidence to tackle your day with poise.
Pads -- Several pads (also called
insert pads or large insert pads) are worn with regular underwear and come in a variety of absorbency levels. Available in regular or long, these pads all carry an adhesive strip to keep them in place all day long.
- Tip: Look for attributes such as pH balance (for odor reduction) and moisture-wicking properties to keep you comfortable if urine leakage occurs. TENA Serenity Heavy Absorbency Pads are a popular example because they feature a Dry-Fast Core that traps moisture away from the skin.
Protective Underwear -- Incontinence undergarments have come a long way in design, comfort and quality. Mimicking traditional underwear in look and feel, these garments provide maximum ventilation to maintain skin health and integrity. They are perfect for use with pads.
- Tip: While disposable adult protective underwear is available, environmentally (and wallet) friendly mesh pants can be an economical option. For example, TENA's Comfort Mesh Pants are economical to purchase and are reusable up to 50 times.
Muscle training -- Pelvic floor strength is often overlooked but is critical to overall health and managing urinary incontinence. Pelvic muscles support the bowel, bladder and uterus. Weak muscles could trigger urinal incontinence while laughing, coughing/sneezing or during exercise.
- For your consideration: The Kegelmaster 2000 is a spring-operated vaginal exerciser that strengthens pelvic floor muscles through variable, progressive resistance. This FDA-approved device is clinically proven to alleviate urine leakage/incontinence.
- It's also a leading product in Vitality Medical's Just For Women line because it is the only resistance pelvic exerciser on the market
For everyone: What else should I consider?
Underpads (commonly called Chux) are available to minimize the impact of incontinence on day-to-day living. These cost-effective pads protect mattresses, furniture or wheelchairs from wetness and accompanying odors. If an accident occurs, they are easy to dispose, keeping your home sanitary.
Look for underpads that minimize rustling noises, have a non-slip backing to keep them in place while you sleep, and have a core that features microbeads or another super-absorbent material.
- Fashionista alert: While many underpads emphasize function over form, Plaidbex Reusable Underpad Heavyweight Absorbency, lets you have your cake and eat it too! Carrying a classic plaid pattern inspired by French matelasse and available in several sizes, these reusable covers add flair (and protection) to your favorite furniture.
- Ready to roll: Stylish, yet absorbent, wheelchair pads are also available. These are custom-designed to address the unique needs of wheelchair users including a non-slip backing and an anti-fungal finish. The Salk CareFor Deluxe Designer Print Reusable Wheelchair Pad is a popular choice among Vitality Medical customers.
Whether treating temporary incontinence after childbirth, actively managing a long-term illness, or recovering from injury, Vitality Medical has catheter alternatives to suit your lifestyle and budget.