There are some topics that are never easy for a patient to bring up. But in many cases, those things that are too embarrassing to talk about are the ones that are having the most effect on your daily quality of life. It’s important to trust your doctor and address your health issues. Even the ones that are uncomfortable to talk about… like incontinence.
As you age, your chances of developing incontinence increase. As many as 1 in 20 adults will experience incontinence when they are older. As you age, your skin also becomes more permeable. The combination of thinning skin and the exposure to harsh compounds in your urine can lead to an uncomfortable rash.
In some cases, a rash from incontinence will be red and sore. In severe cases, the rash may develop open sores.
Generally, you can help rashes clear up faster by changing your protective briefs more often and by making sure you wash the area with a gentle soap every day. A gentle topical lotion can also help ease the symptoms. You can use the same kind of lotion that you would for an infant—these are both gentle and effective.
Natural Remedies to Treat and Prevent Rashes
One of the best ways to prevent an incontinence rash is to work on overcoming the incontinence itself. One of the most effective and safest ways to reverse the symptoms of incontinence is through bladder training. With bladder training, you work to increase the length of time between voiding your bladder. It takes concentration and practice, but it can be very successful.
In a review of studies, up to 50% of patients using bladder training felt that their incontinence was cured after six months. The same review also found that bladder training is often more effective than prescription drugs.
There are also a number of herbal remedies that can ease rash symptoms and help improve the strength and quality of your skin. Of natural remedies, my favorite is calendula. This flower provides compounds that soothe the skin.
You can use a salve containing calendula that you apply directly to the skin where you are most vulnerable to rash. Or you can draw a bath, drop in two calendula tea bags, and enjoy a soothing soak.
An Important Consideration
In many cases, urinary incontinence rashes bring up complicated issues. Often, incontinence rashes affect people who are dependent on others for care. When you depend on a caregiver, it is the caregiver’s responsibility to assist you with your hygiene.
If you or someone you love is struggling with a caregiver who is neglectful or abusive, please visit the National Center on Elder Abuse ) for information, resources, and assistance.
Jay Brachfeld, M.D.