Tom’s story: My prostate journey
“I was 52 years old when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I was at work one day when I experienced a burning sensation whilst trying to urinate.
“I thought it was just a urinary tract infection and started to drink a lot of water with the intention to make an appointment with my GP. However, a few hours later I had to go home because now my bladder was becoming painful after drinking so much water and not being able to urinate.
“By the time the ambulance arrived to take me to A&E, I was in excruciating pain. A catheter was used to empty my bladder. A week or so later, I had a biopsy and it was confirmed that I had prostate cancer.
“After the operation and despite all the exercises, I never recovered complete control of my bladder and I leaked constantly. I could not go out to family occasions and feel comfortable wearing incontinence pads. I was always conscious of consuming any amount of alcohol as this exacerbated my incontinence. I wanted my own bedroom and bathroom.
“I had no confidence in incontinence pads because of the odour and the pants did not hold you within the pad area so you would end up with embarrassing wet patches showing through your trousers.
“The incontinence aids I was given in hospital were very basic. So, once discharged, I had to investigate what was available on the market to help me manage bladder leakage in the most effective and unobtrusive manner. I tried almost every kind of pants and pads available. I bought disposable pads, disposable pants combined with pads, washable white briefs with built-in plastic protectors, and washable boxers. Now don’t get me wrong, these products might be suitable for some people who either have severe leakage or are doubly incontinent, but I only have moderate bladder leakage and I wanted a product for just that.
“I finally found that product, I found Confitex incontinence briefs. With these briefs you are held into the position where the built-in pad absorbs the urine, you are able to drip freely without storing up stagnant urine. Now I feel absolutely confident to go anywhere and dress how I like without worries.”
Alexei’s story: A young man’s experience of incontinence
“I was assessed as having an enlarged prostate, which thankfully is not serious and at the moment doesn’t require invasive treatment. However, one of the consequences is my leaky bladder.
“Before it happened to me, I wrongly assumed that it only happened to older people, so as a younger man it has been hard to cope with. Sometimes I will leak a little before getting to the toilet, but mostly it happens when there is pressure on my bladder from coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercise, running etc.
“I work in retail in a busy clothes shop, so I’m moving around a lot and things like bending down to pick up a box in the storeroom are likely to cause a little flood.
“It really does affect every part of your life. I’m quite active and enjoy running, but again that can lead to very damp pants.
“I’ve tried a lot of options. At first I was too embarrassed to admit to myself that I needed incontinence aids so I would stuff my pants with tissues or wear two or three pairs of pants to try to prevent visible wet patches. Then I started using disposable pads, but didn’t feel they caught everything, so I moved on to pull-up pants. I felt very self-conscious as they can be quite bulky under certain clothes and I was constantly checking to make sure the waistband wasn’t showing. They absorbed everything but I never felt comfortable in them.
“What’s good about Confitex pants is that they’re really absorbent and comfortable. I can wear them all day at work and they never feel damp or uncomfortable.
“But the best thing is they look and feel like normal pants, so I don’t feel like I’m wearing some kind of adult nappy like the disposable ones. I can change at the gym or be at work all day and not worry because, even if someone did see them, they wouldn’t know a thing – you can’t tell they are for incontinence at all.”