At first glance, incontinence and urological supplies might appear to be quite similar. They’re both made to treat urinary conditions. But that’s where the similarities end. There’s actually a big difference between them, and understanding this difference is important to successful urinary care and good health.
What’s the Difference?
While both incontinence and urological supplies are made to support the urinary system, they are actually two separate classifications of products. This is because each product serves a very different purpose. Incontinence products are made for people who involuntarily leak urine. Urological supplies are for people who have trouble urinating on their own. Because they are classified differently, insurance coverage may vary on which products are covered as a benefit. For example, some Medicaid plans cover incontinence supplies, while Medicare does not.
Incontinence supplies are products that help manage the involuntary and unexpected leakage of urine. They usually come in the form of soft, absorbent pads or briefs that are worn underneath clothing. The interior of the products are filled with a special polymer that absorbs liquid and locks it away, which helps to keep skin and clothing dry.
Common incontinence supplies include products such as Bladder Control Pads, Male Guards, Protective Underwear, and Adult Briefs (Adult Diapers). Each type of incontinence product is made to handle a different level of leakage.
Urological supplies are products designed for people who have urinary retention and need help removing urine from the body. This could be caused by many things, such as a blockage in the urethra, or an issue with the nervous system that won’t allow the bladder muscles to relax. The supplies themselves consist of smooth, thin tubes (called catheters) that are inserted into the bladder through the urethra, allowing trapped urine to leave the body. Urine travels through the tube and often collects in a drainage bag.
Common urological supplies include products such as catheters, drainage bags, and insertion trays. There are many different types of catheters, each one made to accommodate a different medical need.
Condom catheters are unique among urology supplies, in that they do not treat urinary retention. Instead, they treat incontinence. They also are not inserted into the body through the urethra, but are used outside of the body.
There are three basic parts to a condom catheter: the external condom, the tubing, and the drainage bag. The external condom goes over the penis and attaches to the tubing, which is then attached to the leg bag. When leakage occurs, it travels down the tubing and is collected in the drainage bag.
To find out what product is right for your needs, first talk with your doctor and get a diagnosis. Your doctor can help you determine what’s causing your leakage and put together a plan to treat it. Once you’ve spoken to a doctor, use our product finder to determine exactly which product best fits your needs. You can even find out if your insurance can help cover the cost.
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