Male Incontinence Support
Wendy Latorre talks about tackling the challenges associated with caring for a loved one dealing with male incontinence.
Gary Barg: One of the biggest challenges with male incontinence care is making sure that your loved one doesn't develop a urinary tract infection (UTI). What happens when they develop it? How easy is it for someone to develop UTIs?
Wendy Latorre: Well, every day that your loved one has an indwelling catheter, the chances of getting a UTI go up by five percent per day. After 30 days, it’s 100 percent that they will have a UTI; that’s a medical fact. So, the longer that it is in, whether it’s the Foley in the hospital or having to self cath, the more likely it will happen. And once they get a UTI, they will probably get it back again. So then you get into the cycle of the antibiotics, right? And antibiotics will work for only so long and then they try another antibiotic and then another. That’s a huge problem.
Gary Barg: Everything leads to everything. Once you get the insult to your system, from skin breakdown to UTIs to everything that happens with having improper incontinence support, it affects your loved one’s health system. It’s not just limited to the incontinence issue.
Wendy Latorre: Oh no, no, no. There are so many other issues that go along with it. Like you said, the skin tear downs, the incontinence, the time that the caregiver is taking care of the client, the laundry—all the linen changing. And sadly, and you must know this better than anybody because of what you do, is the fact that caregivers don’t take care of themselves. And if they can’t take care of themselves because they’re spending so much time taking care of another person, then many times their health declines and deteriorates. So you’re right; it goes around and the issue just grows and grows and grows.
Gary Barg: You know, one of the things that we started this conversation talking about is very important to me and that is the importance of helping our loved ones maintain their dignity. This is a challenging issue. What advice do you have to help caregivers in this situation?
Wendy Latorre: Well, first of all, you know we have made our company a place where everybody is really compassionate, treats these conversations with dignity, and is very empathetic to whomever they’re speaking with. And I think that’s exactly what has to happen when you have these conversations. I did a video about the story of Michael and his mother and my associate Sarah who is so empathetic about this, she insisted that we show it to every one of our team members. They have to understand that these conversations are uncomfortable; that it is embarrassing for people. Often, they don’t tell their doctor about the problem, let alone their loved ones. And then it just gets worse and worse, so you have to get out there and have that conversation; it’s very important. And if you suspect that it’s going on with somebody that you care about, then you need to sit them down and tell them in a very loving way that you know this is what’s going and we need to find a solution together.
Gary Barg: How do you as a primary caregiver involve your own informal care team? How do you involve your family; how do you have this conversation about this issue if you need help and support?
Wendy Latorre: We try to do it sometimes using a little bit of humor. You remember years ago when impotence was the word you never said? And then erectile dysfunction came out of the closet.
Gary Barg: Right.
Wendy Latorre: So we began to call it the other “I” word; let’s talk about the other “I” word. And we use that as an analogy. We’re taking incontinence out of the closet just like impotence came out of the closet. We think this is a problem and it’s one we all need to help our loved one with. And so let’s talk about it. You come armed with information that you have available through your events or the proper research that is so available. Okay, let’s plan this out. Let’s do a schedule; let’s look at what the options are; let’s talk to his doctor if he hasn’t talked to his doctor. Let’s get the conversation out in the open.
Gary Barg: I love it. And the last thing in the world you need to add to this is shame; there’s no shame. It’s a medical issue.
Wendy Latorre: No shame.
Gary Barg: It’s great; compassionate and caring. What is the state of the art in urinary incontinence support for males?
Wendy Latorre: Our product; there’s no doubt. We have a revolutionary product that is made from proprietary hydrocolloid that attaches to the external anatomy. It stays on for 24 hours so they can get in the shower once a day, take it off in the shower, dry themselves and reapply. It’s small enough that it stays inside boxer shorts. And they can go out and golf. It is dependable and completely discreet. We’ve sold three million of them and we have had zero attributable UTIs. If you look at the Bioderm.com website and you see the product called Men’s Liberty, you’ll see pages and pages of testimonials. One woman wrote this beautiful thing. Her husband had ALS and she said, “At least his last two years were comfortable and he had dignity and was able to go to his granddaughter’s graduation.”
Gary Barg: What is the one most important piece of advice you’d like to share with the family caregiver whose loved one is living with male urinary incontinence?
Wendy Latorre: My one piece of advice is that there are options available that would allow their loved one to have an improved quality of life, maintain dignity and give the caregiver a life of their own.
Listen to the Audio Interview