'It's a sensitive problem'

Thursday, April 30, 2009

PHILADELPHIA- SCA Personal Care North America has launched an aggressive campaign to reduce the stigma surrounding urinary incontinence, beginning with its March release of gender-specific protective underwear.

“It’s a very private and sensitive problem,” said Spencer Deane, vice president of marketing.

TENA Men’s and TENA Women’s protective underwear are designed to offer better fit and absorbency, and look like regular underwear, company officials say. The men’s product, for example, features a more absorbent target zone in the front and a pinstripe pattern.

Roughly 60% of men with bladder control problems don’t use protective underwear and try to find other ways to manage their problem, according to company officials.

“Most of the products in the marketplace today, whether a pad or protective underwear, could be considered a little bit feminine,” said Al Ercol, vice president of homecare sales.

Providers like David Zake, however, believe that as long as the underwear is absorbent and doesn’t irritate the skin, consumers are happy.

“I’ve never heard much for or against gender-specific products,” said Zake, owner of Lorraine Surgical Supply in Cleveland.

Still, SCA believes it’s important to “put a spotlight” on male incontinence. It launched TENADryFacts.com, and has teamed up with Men’s Health Network and Us TOO International, a prostate cancer education and support group network, to provide resources and  brochures to their members.

SCA launched its Core Wellness program for women in January. The program instructs them on exercise techniques for strengthening their pelvic floor muscles.