Elderly Skin Health

Elderly skin health

Elderly skin health

Patients may come in with concerns around skin damage and delicate skin. They may have already found a daily skin care routine that suits their skin’s condition and sensitivity. However it is worth talking their routine through to see if there is anything that can be amended.

How skin changes

As we age, our skin naturally loses fat and is no longer as smooth as it once was. It becomes thinner and weaker; scratches, cuts, or bumps can take longer to heal. 

Various factors can damage skin over the long-term:

  • health condition
  • smoking 
  • dry air
  • not drinking enough liquids
  • stress
  • years of sun tanning
  • poor nutrition

Also, with age, the skin produces less of its natural protective oils; this can lead to wrinkles, dryness and age spots. 

All of these factors put an elderly person’s skin at risk of damage, which is why patients with bladder incontinence need to protect their skin as much as possible. If unchecked, urine and/or faeces could damage it. The areas most in need of protection are near the hips, genitals, and between the pelvis and rectum (perineal skin).

Protecting delicate skin

There is a common skin condition affecting elderly incontinent people (incontinence associated dermatitis, IAD). It’s called perineal dermatitis, and it produces a rather unpleasant rash. It happens when skin has too much contact with the moisture and chemicals in urine and faeces. As a result the skin becomes irritated and breaks down. 

The good news is skin can be protected or, if they already have the condition, help improve it so that they feel and look better.

Finding the right products

When your patient wets or soils her/himself, be sure to get them to clean themselves as soon as possible  with a gentle cleanser (not normal soap, which dries out the skin). Also apply a moisturiser and a skin barrier or protectant. TENA Wash Cream contains all three and is specially formulated for the skin of elderly people with incontinence. 

It’s then key to match them with the right TENA product. For heavy incontinence, the TENA ProSkin range is not only absorbent but it’s also designed to be kind to skin and ensure liquid is drawn away quickly to keep skin dry for longer.

Published: 12/11/2021


How To Combat The Effects Of Incontinence

How To Combat The Effects Of Incontinence

Life is gradually getting back to normal, but for thousands of people who suffer from incontinence, the lifting of lockdown restrictions has been an anxiety-inducing experience. Although 60% of the UK sees incontinence as a taboo subject, TENA is on a mission to combat the negative stigma associated with the condition and encourage those who have bladder and / or bowel issues to seek medical advice and treatment.

Specialist Nurse Advisor, Karen Irwin, at Bladder & Bowel UK, discusses her top tips for managing incontinence as we transition out of lockdown.

  1. Keep yourself healthy

Maintaining a healthy BMI (body mass index or weight) doesn’t mean you have to go on an extreme diet or push yourself out of your comfort zone. The key thing here is being healthy for yourself and your body – and this will be different for everyone.

There is a strong connection between BMI and incontinence; being overweight can put undue pressure on the pelvic floor muscles and cause incontinence. The benefits of even a minor reduction in weight can help to resolve the issue.

Maintaining a healthy BMI doesn’t involve cutting out certain food groups or spending every evening at the gym. It’s all about moderation.  A couple of easy first steps are to ensure you’re eating a lot of fruit and vegetables, increase your fibre intake, cut down on saturated fats, and try to head out on a brisk walk for 30 minutes, 5 days a week. Get those steps up where you can!

With smoking, the health risks are obvious, but when it comes to incontinence, it’s the increased coughing which stems from a smoking habit that can add pressure to the pelvic floor muscles, raising your risk of incontinence. Try to give up smoking if you can; the NHS has a variety of support services and your GP or healthcare professional will be able to offer advice.

     2. Don’t forget those pelvic floor exercises

There is a reason doctors and experts often talk about the importance of pelvic floor exercises – it’s because they work. Once you reach a certain age, it can seem like every conversation eventually circles back to that question – and this only becomes more prevalent after children.

Importantly, it’s not just the elderly or mothers that should be practising these exercises, everyone should be doing them. All women and men have pelvic floor muscles and the sooner you start exercising them, the sooner you’ll see the benefits. A recent survey conducted by TENA found that nearly half of the UK struggles with incontinence, with 10% per cent experiencing it before the age of 25.

Your pelvic floor is essentially a sheet of muscles, that sit, like a hammock, between your coccyx (tail bone) and pubic bone. They combine to support your bladder and bowel. Just like any other muscle group, you’ve got to work on it for it to get stronger. Much like you use the leg press at the gym to strengthen your thighs, you should be doing pelvic floor exercises to strengthen these muscles, and it’s important that you do them correctly.

You should also make sure you’re in the correct position when on the toilet.  Try not to get into a habit of ‘hovering’ and use a step or stool under your feet to create a squatting position. All of this works to ensure your pelvic floor muscles can fully relax and there is less pressure on them when you are emptying your bowels.

  1. Gentle exercise

Try to avoid high impact exercise – vigorous gym activities and jumping can overload the pelvic floor, leading to unwelcome leaks. Lower-level exercise such as yoga or Pilates can really help to keep you supple and strengthen your muscles.

These exercises are great stress relievers and can even help to improve mental health, as incontinence can so often be linked to anxiety and depression. The meditational benefits of yoga help get to the core of these issues, to create a peaceful body and mind connection.

  1. Cut down on caffeine (and alcohol)

Don’t panic, we’re not saying to stop drinking coffee or wine completely! But caffeine and alcohol are both known to irritate the bladder and make symptoms worse, so it makes sense to cut these down where possible – especially during the early stages of your pelvic floor exercise regime.

Caffeine can irritate the bladder and alcohol is a diuretic; this causes you to urinate more often. Instead, substitute these options for water and if you struggle with water, herbal or fruit teas are a delicious alternative.

It is crucial to keep drinking water/fluids. While many sufferers of incontinence will avoid drinking, as this does appear to be the logical solution, it causes more problems. Doing this may make your urine stronger which will cause more irritation of the bladder. It’s all about drinking the right fluids at the right volume – try to drink at least 1.5 litres per day, though this does depend on age, health, activity levels and weather so do seek help from your doctor or nurse.

  1. Seek medical advice

The most important point on this list is, without a doubt, ensuring that you seek appropriate medical advice. As medical professionals, we’re here to help wherever we can. The worst thing to do is to suffer in silence; in a lot of cases this can create anxiety and make the symptoms worse.

Incontinence is a condition which affects an estimated 14 million people in the UK, so you are certainly not alone and you shouldn’t have to feel as though you are. GPs and healthcare professionals are experts and are trained to offer treatment and solutions to help to improve the condition.

It’s important to highlight any changes in bladder or bowel habits with your GP and while we understand that it’s worrying, it’s best not to put off seeking advice. They will be able to provide support and refer you to the appropriate service.

Bladder & Bowel UK are also able to help with lots of practical advice and you can find out more by visiting our website.

Published: 12/11/2021


Help Your Patients With Their Incontinence

Help Your Patients With Their Incontinence

If she or he hasn´t already seen a doctor, encourage them to make an appointment soon. You need to find out all you can about your patient’s condition. Then they can get the right treatment.

Reassure them that their doctor will want to avoid any discomfort. So they’ll probably recommend the least invasive treatment available. Initially, it might involve lifestyle changes, physiotherapy exercises, and medical devices (see below). If those things fail to work, the doctor might refer them to a specialist. As a last resort, the specialist might recommend a medication or surgery. Rest assured though, with all the professionals working together your patient can be helped and supported with their incontinence.

Remember your patient might feel embarrassed when you try to help them with their incontinence. That’s natural. After all, it’s a personal matter. But there’s a lot you can do for them. So it will be good if you can overcome any embarrassment – that will help them feel more relaxed. And if you learn everything you can about their condition, you’ll understand what they are going through. So you can give them exactly the support they need.

First, consider your patient’s lifestyle. A few simple changes could make a big, positive difference.

Questions to ask – when does the incontinence occur? During exercise? With stress movements e.g. sneezing or is it uncontrolled? Does it happen suddenly? What time of day does it occur? How heavy is the loss?

There are a number of types of incontinence so it’s really important to understand which one your customer is suffering from to advise the best treatment.

Until they receive the full diagnosis from a doctor then your best option is to match them to the best TENA product that fits their loss, encourage them to do their pelvic floor exercises, eat well and drink plenty of fluids.

Published: 12/11/2021


What are Incontinence Pants?

What are Incontinence Pants?

Incontinence pants are an extremely useful product used by millions of people to help them feel comfortable, dry and secure. 

They are available in Men, Women, and heavier absorbency (see our full product range here). The number one selling range within pharmacies is the heavy absorbency range. These are high-performance pants specially designed to provide all-round security, so they are perfect for people with incontinence that need medium to high level of protection.

Customers can be reassured that there is no need to be concerned about leaks, odour or moisture. Incontinence pants are designed to snugly fit the shape of the body and stretch to fit the body just like underwear, this means wearers are completely secure at all times, staying discreet even if worn under tight clothing.

How do incontinence pants work?

Incontinence pants are worn instead of normal underwear. They are made from materials that have the ability to absorb and retain fluids, to help avoid leakage while also providing comfort.

They use Odour Control to help prevent unwanted odours and FeelDry technology which rapidly absorbs large quantities of urine into the core of the product. This remains locked in the core and away from the skin even under pressure, to provide lasting dryness. Feeling dry and comfortable means the health of intimate skin is protected and maintained.

Incredibly easy to pull on, but also to pull off. Simply tear open the side seams and pull off the pants for easy removal. They also have coloured waist back threads which help to easily identity the back and front of the product.

What types of incontinence pants are available?

Whether a man or a woman, or whatever level of protection required, there is an incontinence pant to fit everyone’s unique needs. They come in a range of sizes and absorbencies so customers can pick the one that suits them best.

Disposable incontinence pants range from discreet pants for medium bladder leakage to maxi pants which are perfect for heavy bladder weakness. 

Our Silhouette range for women offers high levels of protection with a feminine, underwear-like pant that even comes in black and high-waisted options, so you never have to compromise on style.

If you’d like to read more about our product ranges, you can head to our product page here or speak to your TENA representative.

Published: 20/08/2021


Introducing TENA Lights NEW Packaging

Introducing TENA Lights NEW Packaging

TENA have recently relaunched Lights by TENA into TENA Lights liners, consciously made with soft, breathable materials and without any fragrances or dyes. 

They quickly absorb liquid and lock humidity away, protecting sensitive intimate areas. As women grow older and start to go through the menopause, skin can get even more sensitive, so it can be irritated more easily. 

That’s why it’s important to choose a product that will be kind to skin and keep discomfort at bay, so that women can continue feeling comfortable in their skin. When playing sports or even when coughing, sneezing, or laughing, little leaks can happen at the most unexpected of moments.

Yet one size doesn’t always fit all, which is why TENA Lights range features bladder weakness liners in a range of sizes and absorbencies. All liners are as thin as 3mm, our middle-sized liners and long liners are perfect for extra security when it’s needed, and the smallest in the range can even be used with a thong.

But that’s not all that makes TENA Lights special. Our new packaging is made from 100% renewable fibres.

If you want to know more about our product range, please head to our Product page here.

Published: 20/07/2021


Advice and Support for Pharmacies

Advice and Support for Pharmacies

Bladder weakness is a sensitive topic to discuss in pharmacy – not just for customers, but for staff too. Research has found that many patients do not to seek advice for their issues with incontinence, with 45% admitting it causes them regular embarrassment and negatively affects their happiness. This results in many people suffering in silence or using inappropriate products to manage the condition.

Community pharmacy teams have a huge part to play in providing discreet advice and signposting products. At TENA, we believe that knowledge is the key to confidence, so the more pharmacists and their staff are educated, the more they’re able to assist their customers’ needs. That’s why we are committed to supporting pharmacy teams and provide a variety of training materials across all aspects of the category, from education about bladder weakness itself to category management.

Techniques for pharmacists adopt when advising customers:

  • Make sure incontinence products are easy to find – don’t hide them away – make sure they’re also visible to pharmacy staff as this will enable them to spot customers who may need assistance.
  • If you spot someone who may be hovering around incontinence products, you should approach them in a calm manner, and help in a discreet way. It is important that once communication has first started, pharmacists speak to customers with empathy, reassuring them that they are not alone with many men and women experiencing bladder weakness.
  • It is also important that pharmacists understand that each person’s incontinence is different and therefore their advice should be tailored to each individual. There is a whole variety of reasons why a customer may experience bladder leakage. For some it may be as a result of recent surgery, whereas for others it may be the result of being overweight, pregnant or suffering from lung conditions which leads to heavy coughing. Speak with the customer to understand the level of urine leakage they are experiencing and how often. This will enable you to recommend the best solution for the individual.
  • Pharmacy staff should familiarise themselves with the different demographics of people on the shop floor and adapt their approach accordingly. The footfall could be anyone from a reluctant acceptor to a first-time purchaser and it is also important to recognise that a customer may also not be buying for themselves; they could be a caregiving friend or relative.

Published: 25/06/2021


Market Insight

Market Insight

Three million adults in the UK have incontinence, with one in five women over 40 experiencing the condition[1] , and urine leakage happening to one in four men over 40[2]. As well as being surprisingly common, people can experience incontinence in the prime of their lives, irrespective of their age or overall health, and impacts different people in different ways. For some, it may not be an especially severe condition, but the perceived social taboo around incontinence can harm a person’s social confidence.

We also know that incontinence can make sufferers feel anxious and isolated, and that carers often find themselves wanting to help loved ones maintain their dignity, while professionals have to juggle budgeting issues with the desire to offer the highest standard of care.

The role of pharmacies in the incontinence category is often centred around providing care for those that experience the more severe effects of the condition.

A large proportion of this growth is due to an ageing population, with the increasing effect of medicine to support longevity and a longer life. As the population is ever increasing in age, with 24% of older people affected by urinary incontinence in the UK[3], it’s no surprise to see the incontinence market growing each year.

This year, with the impact of coronavirus, we also saw a lift in sales across all categories from February/March 2020, which was down to customers stocking up on products ahead of the national lockdown.

[1] The Urology Foundation, 2020

[2] Based on survey conducted by Essity in 2012, with men over 40 in the US, UK, Germany, Italy, Russia and Mexico by Essity. Data on file not published.

[3] All about incontinence 

Published: 25/06/2021


Advice on Bladder Training

Advice on Bladder Training

Advice on Bladder Training

Many people with bladder weakness are looking for ways to help themselves and increase control over the bladder by reducing the frequency of urination.

A way to offer support is by offering advice on bladder training.

The method involves increasing awareness of patterns of incontinence and developing new habits for emptying and controlling the bladder. Together with other methods including Kegel or pelvic floor exercises as well as behavioural modification, bladder training can be an effective way to make the symptoms of bladder problems more manageable.

It is important to note and to share with your customers that using exercises like Kegel for bladder training and control takes time and persistence.

To make it work, many habits and feelings need to be relearned for example the feeling that you need to go to the toilet should be ignored for as long as possible.

As people become more comfortable with supressing feelings of urgency, gradually, over a period of weeks and months, they should increase the amount of time between toilet visits.

We would recommend that patients keep a bladder ‘diary’ so they can record the frequency of toilet visits, the time they ignored urgency feelings as well as fluid intake. This will give both you and the patient a clear overview of their bladder habits and any trigger points so an accurate schedule can be achieved for visiting the toilet, helping to plan trips and days out.

As far as this is possible and based on the data in your bladder diary, each individual can see very precisely how often they are going to the toilet. From this, they can add a short period of time on to these times – perhaps 15 minutes – to train your bladder to wait.

Pelvic Floor Training

Pelvic floor training involves strengthening the supportive muscles around the urethra and bladder by doing repetitive voluntary contractions. These exercises build tone and strength in the supportive muscles around the urethra and bladder, which need to stay tight to prevent urine leakage. Many people also use Pilates as part of a self-help incontinence treatment.

Published 25/06/2021