Using Vitals for bowel incontinence: Here's my verdict

We received a mail from Trish, a 78-year-old with occasional bowel incontinence almost a month back. She thought Vitals might give her peace of mind when she is out for the day, and wanted to know the best styles that could suit her. We suggested to her our Hipsters for heavy flow. That's because Vitals Hipsters and High Waist are built with end-to-end leakproof coverage and offer wider coverage for those who prefer it. She tried Vitals for a few weeks before reviewing them. More in her own words.

"Like many older women, I found that I developed incontinence problems many years after having my children. In my case, my doctor was a bit trigger - happy when he helped my first baby out, and he managed to cut a muscle around the back passage by mistake - this has meant that I have weakened bowel control, which has got worse with age. It is a humiliating condition which my doctor says is quite common, but which women are often reluctant to talk about because of the stigma attached to it. Urinary incontinence is openly discussed these days, but not bowel incontinence.

My occasional incontinence is not severe, but it is enough to cause me problems if I am not at home. At home, I can fix myself up easily if I have an accident but if I am away from home it is much more difficult. Walking any distance can have a very unfortunate effect on my control - or lack of control! I find it really distressing to be worried about what might happen and how I am going to manage if I do have an accident.

When I read about Vitals I wondered if their undies could help manage my problem. I have used commercial panty liners in the past but I find they are not big enough and they are difficult to keep flat in ordinary undies. There is no way my incontinence is severe enough for me to need adult nappies - just the thought of that horrifies me!

When the Vitals undies arrived the first thing I noticed was that they looked and felt just like my regular underwear. I liked the fabric, they fitted snugly and comfortably, and I liked the black colour. Initially I used them without liners but I have found that for me they work brilliantly if I use panty liners as well - the padded gusset is firm enough to hold them in place and if the liners are not big enough it doesn't matter because the gusset is leak proof.

I have also bought a Fresh and Dry bag from Vitals. When I go out I keep clean undies in one pocket and a damp cloth in the other. If necessary I can pop into a public toilet, replace the liner and undies, use the damp cloth to ensure everything is okay and there I am - sorted, relaxed, and ready to carry on with my outing!

I cannot say how pleased I am with the Vitals products and also with the support and encouragement the company gave me when I contacted them with my problem."

Trish B (Wellington)