How to Prevent Odor Associated With Incontinence and UTIs

Community Member

One of the biggest issues I deal with in the summer time is an increase in odor.

In addition to both stress and urge incontinence, I also am prone to bladder infections. My body is so used to this that I rarely have the typical symptom for most people, which is a burning sensation upon voiding. Usually my first indication of a UTI (urinary tract infection) is consistently cloudy urine and odor from the bacteria.

When this combines with the normal odor from incontinence, it can make for a rather odiferous combination

I am scheduled for Botox injections for my urge incontinence but that is not going to happen for some time. The Botox from my last round has finally worn off and my urge incontinence is "back to normal," so to speak. Having a bladder infection can exacerbate UI, although it doesn't necessarily cause it.

When this occurs, I have had to become more vigilant to avoid the embarrassment of smelling to my family and coworkers. Some of the things I do are:

1. Frequent clothing/pad changes. Some days I can make it through my normal work day, but often have to go home at lunch to bathe and change. I'm not willing to risk having extra clothing/pads at work, although I have kept some in my car concealed in a plastic bag for emergencies.

2. I almost always bathe and change at the end of the day, so I don't transfer the odor to my sheets and bed clothes.

3. Trimming "down there." One of the purposes of body hair is to wick out pheromones. When you are incontinent, this wicking process works against you. I have found that, over time, even frequent bathing may not remove all the odor because the hair has absorbed it and is re-releasing it. To help overcome this I trim "down there", but I don't shave.

4. Powder. I avoid all powder for two reasons: (1) It really doesn't help with dryness or odor and (2) if you are incontinent, it's going to get wet, and just become a sticky, gooey mess.

5. When I do change my pad, I put the old one in a plastic sandwich bag to keep the odor from permeating my bathroom.

6. I also presoak my clothing before it is laundered to remove as much odor as I can.

I know my family appreciates the last two. Let's face it, no one likes having to deal with this anymore than I do, and anything I can do to help is going to be appreciated! Hopefully I have passed along a few tips that maybe helpful.