Sit, drip, sting, cringe!
If you’re dealing with bladder leaks, this might be a scenario that’s familiar to you. One moment you’re minding your business and the next, it’s like “oh, bother!”
Do you know what I’m talking about? Depending on your answer, you’re either wearing the perplexed face right now or nodding your head in agreement. Either way, I’ve got some deets to share. I’m about to shed light on a little secret that comes with incontinence. Are you ready?
I’ll take “What’s Skin Irritation From Urine Leakage?” for $100
Rashes suck. They’re red, scaly, dry, and bumpy – the perfect combination of annoying. And if you’ve ever had one near your lady parts, it can feel embarrassing too. What you should know is that ladies with leaks have a higher risk of developing skin irritation from urine leakage and it shouldn’t be ignored. In fact, up to 40% of individuals that deal with bladder leaks have skin problems.
Wait, not so fast. What do you mean near my lady parts?
If you spritz every now and then, you could develop skin irritation in the following areas:
- Lower abdomen
- Upper thighs
- Gluteal cleft (also known as the butt crack)
- Inner and outer labia
- Perineum (the area between the anus and the vulva)
If you’re having a hard time picturing it, think about an infant with a diaper rash. It’s pretty much the same thing.
How Will I Know If I Have A Rash?
In short, you’ll know. Anyone that’s ever had a rash can tell you that they’re a complete nuisance and hard to miss. You often can’t itch the places that you want to scratch and if you do you’ll only make it worse. However, if you’re still not sure, these are common symptoms associated with a skin rash developed from leakage:
- Hard and warm skin
- Excessive itching
- Light pink or red spots
How Do You Get Them?
Have you ever leaked in public but couldn’t get to a bathroom right away? Or had an accident in your sleep but didn’t discover it until the morning? These common bladder leakage scenarios can cause skin irritation, and here’s how.
Pee is a combination of water and dissolved waste products. When pee sits on the skin for a long time it can create chemicals (e.g. ammonia) that break down the skin.
Now, understand this next point. You can be perfectly clean and still develop a rash! Skin rashes develop for a number of reasons, including these:
- There is an increase in your skin’s pH level, which causes yeast infections
- You wear menstrual pads instead of products meant for bladder leakage
- There’s constant friction between your skin and underwear
- You apply thick ointments to irritated areas
- You use rough washcloths when cleaning
Can My Skin Irritation Be Cured?
The good news is, rashes can definitely be cured! But, it’s a Catch-22. Why? Because moisture is the cause and cure.
You know how you spill red wine on the carpet and start scrubbing it frantically in hopes of getting the stain out? You know how that doesn’t work? Well, if you do it with a rash, it won’t work either.
Consider these recommendations instead:
- After a leak, dry your skin as soon as possible using a gentle washcloth.
- If you’re using menstrual pads, then stop, cease, discontinue! Absorbent pads are better for urinary leakage.
- Already using absorbent pads? Try a different size, fit, or brand.
- Purchase a cleanser that helps balance your skin’s pH level.
- Use a barrier cream to add moisture to the skin.
But My Rash Is Really Bad!
If you think you have a more severe case, then try over-the-counter creams like miconazole and hydrocortisone. They can ease the discomfort associated with skin irritation.
Is the affected area of the skin still making you say “ouch” and “ahhhh”? Then it might be time for a trip to the dermatologist. You don’t want an infection to develop!
What you don’t want to do in situations like this is NOTHING. Not treating the rash could lead to pressure ulcers and bedsores, which can be much more difficult to treat.
An Ounce of Prevention…
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! So, here’s what you can do to steer clear of skin irritation:
- Use a gentle skin cleanser to clean the area every time you experience leakage. Soap and water are not your friends in this situation.
- Pat your skin dry to ensure there’s no excess moisture.
- Use lotions and creams that include zinc to reduce direct contact with skin or clothing.
- Avoid using menstrual pads for leaks. Purchase products that are specifically for bladder leakage to ensure you get the best comfort and protection.
But, No One Understands! Oh, Yes They Do!
While having a rash is a nuisance, it’s not the end of the world. You can still carry on with your daily activities like the amazing woman that you are. Plus, this situation isn’t as uncommon as you might think. We’ve all had that “no one understands!” moment where you’re crying with ice cream and binging watch Netflix shows. However, in situations like this, there are plenty of women that understand.
Keep skin irritation at bay by keeping track of your spritz. Download our bladder diary to recognize when your bladder leakage occurs and what products work best for you.
Have you ever dealt with this situation? Tell us what worked for you in the comments! And then sign up for your free trial for a bladder leak product subscription from Lily Bird.
By Jessica Thomas, MPH