The world of incontinence products for men has not seen many new developments emerge in the last few years, so when I read about this new Male Urine Guard from up-and-coming manufacturer Jackson Medical Products I knew that they were worth investigating.
The approach taken with the Male Urine Guard is almost a hybrid between a traditional condom catheter and an absorbent brief or pad. It slides over the penis like a condom cath, but absorbs and retains leaks rather than emptying into a leg bag. The resultant pouch is being marketed and targeted to men with occasional and minor incontinence such as stress or overflow incontinence or leakage due to prostate surgery or the like. Over the course of several days, I put the Male Urine Guard through the type of tests and situations I feel would give me the most insights into how well it performs and lives up to the manufacturer’s literature. Again, what follows are just my own personal experiences during testing and my own opinions. Yours may be different.
Size and Appearance
Right out of the package, I was pleasantly surprised by the compactness of design. It is smaller than the Mentor Manhood pouch that I am familiar with. Lying flat, the Guard is about the size of a playing card and just a few millimeters thick. The outer soft plastic shell gathers to a strong elastic band while the inner core is a pouch made of absorbent material. The elastic is designed to rest snugly just beyond the head of the penis once the Guard is in place. The compact nature is a definite plus. It would be easy to carry a handful of these in any pocket, or glove box or any small compartment in an automobile or even an inner briefcase pocket. For me, the compactness is more about disposal than anything else. It is nice to not have to carry around large adult diapers or briefs especially when it comes time to dispose of them. The Male Urine Guard could easily be wrapped in a paper towel or toilet tissue and dropped in any restroom container with ease and would never attract attention. The small size means it slips off quickly and does not require any special pants or underwear maneuvers.
Wearing and Comfort
The elastic band is designed to hold, which means you really have to spread it wide with your fingers to slip it on. It took me a few trials to do it smoothly, but once in place it feels like it will hold. I can tug it with a decent amount of force (far more than what it would be exposed to) and it stays in place.
One of the biggest complaints men have with any absorbent pad or brief is the rustling noise that comes with walking and, especially, sitting. Straight out of the package the first thing I did was rub the Male Urine Guard between my thumb and forefinger to test the sound. Yes, there is a minor noise like rustling leaves, but how bad would it be when worn? Because the surface area of the Guard is much less than a pad worn inside the briefs or a full diaper, it is really not bad at all. I was able to test it with both boxers and briefs and with both dressier pants and jeans and a variety of movement that were both normal and extreme. Is it absolutely silent? No, but unless the room is incredibly quiet and you are really listening for it, most people would not notice. Not surprisingly, the “noisiest” moments are when I moved my legs around during sitting. When walking or otherwise moving the noise from my pants was louder than any noise coming from the plastic.
Absorbency and Odor Protection
Easily the biggest factor is how well does an incontinence product absorb. This trumps everything. If it won’t hold urine it really isn’t much use. The Male Urine Guard is designed for small leaks and the manufacturer states it will hold up to 2 ounces. It also has built in odor protection. To test, I mixed a solution of three parts tap water / one part white vinegar. I wanted to create a liquid for testing with a distinctive odor. I also added blue food coloring to better observe how the fluid is absorbed and where. I tested 1 ounce leaked in rapidly, 1 ounce dribbled in slowly in several stages and then repeated with a new Guard for 2 ounces and even 3 ounces.
The results were very positive. For 1 ounce both poured in rapidly and dribbled in over a minute’s time, the liquid was pulled into the liner and within less than a minute a finger inserted inside came away feeling almost completely dry. Turning the pouch over and shaking it showed no liquid spill.
I was also pleased with the 2 ounce test. I found that when 2 ounces were added over the space of several minutes that the pouch was able to keep up fine and the finger test was just a bit damp. The shake test only yielded a drop or two. When 2 ounces were poured in all at once, there was some liquid that pooled at the bottom, but it was fully absorbed within one or two minutes. A rigorous shaking upside down did allow a few drops to escape.
The final test was for 3 ounces (beyond what the manufacturer claims). I chose to just pour it in all at once and see what happened. Liquid pooled and some worked its way between the liner and plastic outer layer. I let it sit for about five minutes and then turned it over. Nothing came out. Shaking vigorously produced a few drops, but again, it is NOT recommended for this amount of liquid. I just wanted to see what it could do.
The odor protection was very good. For the recommended amount it is designed to hold, the odor was not noticeable by me. Only on the 3 ounce test could I detect a very faint smell of the vinegar. I’m doubting even this would have been noticeable if it were being worn and through layers of clothing.
Most people that have 2 or 3 ounces of leakage all at once may opt for a more permanent cath type. However, for those men leaking urine 2 ounces or less during the span of a few hours, the performance of this small pouch was actually better than I expected.
CondomCatheters.net highly recommends this product. The test results gave me confidence about this Guard as a great daily performer. A man’s incontinence issues are very personal and while this may not be right for everyone I believe the performance make it a solid choice and I think it can greatly benefit any man suffering from leaks.
The cost is in line with other pouches. The price for a 30 count package is $35 – $40. This makes them an affordable option. I would not be surprised if the price lowers slightly as the product becomes established. It is discrete and the thin profile means they are easy to carry, not obvious when worn and easy to dispose of under almost any circumstance and with a minimum of fuss. They are quiet and I find them to be far less likely than many other pads, diapers, or absorbent briefs on the market to rustle or create any distracting noises. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the Male Urine Guard does what it claims and absorbs up to 2 ounces of liquid and may even hold more in a pinch and it blocks offensive odors.
There are only a few criticisms or things to be aware of. These do require a bit of dexterity to put on properly and people with arthritis or impaired mental abilities probably will not do well with them. But a caregiver could benefit greatly from them since it would mean less diaper changes and heavy lifting of a patient. The fit and wearing is generally comfortable and it is easy to forget it is on, but the elastic is snug. I have no idea if daily wear may cause some soreness over time. I would still personally use these as often as possible given the benefits, but may switch to a pad or brief for a few days if the area where the elastic band contacts the skin becomes tender. This device is intended for minor leaks only. Some of the bigger pouches by other brands will hold up to a cup (8 ounces). Again, this Guard is designed to absorb 2 ounces so it may not be suitable for all people.
Beyond just usage, the only minor complaint is that the inner pouch is only attached to the outer plastic pouch at two points near the top. It is easy to separate by mistake when putting on if you are not careful and the absorbent material can push down towards the bottom instead of enveloping the penis. Perhaps some additional adhesion should be used between the sides to make sure the two pouches stay lined up together. I quickly realized how to hold my fingers to avoid it happening with subsequent usage.
Try it Yourself
The Male Urine Guard is slated for full release in September of 2011. It should be widely available at a number of medical supply retailers online especially those that already carry Jackson Medical’s incontinence clamp (the J Clamp). One of the best and cheapest sources I have found is HERE. For those men with minor incontinence issues and who desire discrete and affordable protection, this pouch will be a great choice and well worth a trial. We look forward to hearing from readers and their experiences with the Male Urine Guard.