Is my mother's diaper causing her bladder infections?

2 answers | Last updated: Oct 04, 2016
No n asked...

My mom had a stroke two years ago. She wears a diaper at night. She keeps getting bladder infections. Antibiotics don't seem to help. Her only symptom was painful urination at night when she has the diaper on. Other than that, she is pain free. She has started feeling like she has to urinate right away where before she could wait. Could the diaper be causing the infection?

Expert Answers

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

Reading your letter, I agree with you. I think that your mother has vaginal irritation from her briefs. If your mother had true UTIs, she should have painful urination constantly, not just at night. Also, the antibiotics should help her if it is an infection, even if it is for a few weeks.

I am wondering if the adult briefs she is wearing at night are the issue. Many of these items are covered with chemicals and scents which can cause vaginal irritation. Furthermore, they do not allow air circulation, which can cause sweating and an increase in vaginal moisture, which can lead to fungal infections. If she is urinating in her brief and doesn't change them right away, this can also be irritating to the vagina and cause pain/discomfort.

First, does she need to wear a pad at night? Is she really incontinent? Could she use a bedside commmode at night instead?

If she does need incontinence pads, she should also be using a protective cream to her vaginal area as well. I would recommend A&D ointment or vaseline, as they are cheap and effetive as skin barriers. This will help protect her skin and may ease the irritation. She should also change her pads as soon as she is able to reduce wetness.

If these suggestions don't help, she may need to see a gynecologist to see if she has some vaginal infection (candida) or irriation, as she may need special creams to help cure that. They may also have some suggestions to help her incontinence. Good luck!

Community Answers answered...

As a stroke survivor, I am lucky to have only two reamining after effects. One is my handwriting, the other is my my bladder. I have been completly incontinent since my stroke about a year ago. It's mostly under control with Toviaz 8 mg ER. But there are times, esp, at night whenI still need to wear extra protection. When I do wear pads, I someimes get a mild to moderate UTI. I have found that hygiene is very important during this time. Besides the stroke I also suffer from back. neck and ankle inuries, and sometime need to stay in bed for 24-35 hours, and during this time I usually don't shower, and also end up with a mild UTI, with or without a pad.