What Is Functional Incontinence? How To Help Functional Incontinence

Incontinence is a condition that can be difficult and embarrassing to talk about, and can greatly impact our quality of life and ability to navigate our day-to-day. But if you experience incontinence, you’re not alone. Incontinence is a condition that affects men and women across the country, and can become more prevalent as we grow older. 

But the good news is, we have options for men experiencing light urinary incontinence. Here at MDP (Male Drip Protection), we’ve made it our mission to provide men with the tools and information they need to navigate the world confidently. 

We’re sharing all you need to know about the root causes and common symptoms of incontinence, and best practices for managing it, so you can continue to focus on the important things in life. 

Functional Incontinence Explained 

There are four main types of incontinence, including stress incontinence, overflow incontinence, overactive bladder, and functional incontinence. It’s important to understand the root causes, so you can better address symptoms and try to reduce their impact. 

Functional incontinence is characterized by the need to urgently access the toilet. For individuals managing the effects of this condition, reaching the bathroom in time may be difficult, which can result in uncontrollable urinary leakage, discomfort, and embarrassment. 

Typically, even if the bladder is in full health, there may be physical or developmental limitations, making it difficult to move quickly or navigate the urination process. 

With a few simple steps and changes, we can adjust our day-to-day conditions to make managing the effects of functional incontinence easier, and then get back to enjoying our favorite activities. 

How Do I Manage Functional Incontinence? 

Most of the best practices for managing functional incontinence symptoms include changing the configuration of the space in your home to make reaching the bathroom easier. Functional incontinence is an external issue related to physical or mental limitations that make it difficult to reach and use the bathroom in time. 

This stands in contrast to other types of incontinence, which are related to bladder function, but here are a few simple steps you can take to make it easier to manage symptoms of functional incontinence. 

Understand the Cause 

It’s always useful to understand the cause of functional incontinence and why someone might struggle to reach the bathroom in time. In many cases, the root cause is something relatively easy to address, like a complex belt buckle or a hallway that is difficult to navigate. 

Of course, functional incontinence may also be related to cognitive and physical conditions, but those can also be addressed in their own ways when understood properly. For instance, mobility aids and personalized communication methods can help those with conditions that limit bathroom access and use. 

The more you understand what is preventing someone from reaching the bathroom when needed, the easier it is to craft a solution tailored to their needs. This will help to reduce the symptoms of functional incontinence, keep them safe and healthy, and give them the confidence they need to navigate their daily lives a little more easily. 

Follow a Schedule 

There are benefits to following a schedule for all types of incontinence. A schedule helps strengthen the bladder muscles, which means you may be able to hold your urine more effectively. 

More importantly, individuals managing the effects of functional incontinence will be better able to prepare for trips to the bathroom. If they’re accustomed to urinating at specific times, they’ll be able to stand up earlier and move to the bathroom at a speed that feels safe and comfortable. 

They’ll also have more time to unclasp or unzip challenging clothing items, so they’re better prepared for the process of going to the bathroom. 

Scheduling bathroom trips can also be helpful for caretakers navigating a loved one’s functional incontinence. They’ll be able to provide greater support and help the individual experiencing symptoms better manage their urinary needs. This allows for greater independence and improved overall health and wellness. 

Prepare Your Home 

One of the most common causes of functional incontinence is a home or space that is difficult to navigate. For older individuals or those with cognitive conditions or who experience cognitive decline, a heavy door or cramped hallway can be challenging, if not impossible, to move through in time to reach the bathroom. 

That’s why it’s so important to create a safe space that is easy to walk through — if walking is an option — or easy to move through using a mobility aid. Ensure the floors are clear of debris that might be dangerous or difficult to walk over and that the doors open fully. Removing obstacles from the path to the bathroom is always important.

The more you know about the root cause of functional incontinence, such as difficulty walking quickly or turning door knobs, the easier it will be to customize this practice. You also want to regularly check and clear the commonly used areas to ensure that no obstacles have been added. 

Use Mobility Tools

It’s also useful to consider and utilize mobility tools inside your home to effectively minimize the time it takes to reach the bathroom. While many individuals can navigate just fine without using mobility tools and aids, having mobility tools for those immediate needs can make a big difference. These may include tools like walkers or canes, making it easier for individuals to reach the bathroom in time to urinate. 

Mobility tools may also include things like hand-railing, guide-bars and handles to assist with sitting on the toilet without worrying about potential injury. 

It’s best for an individual or their caretaker to look at the space and root cause of functional incontinence. Customize and personalize the right mobility tools so they best fit the particular space and the needs of that person. 

Update the Wardrobe 

Another common factor contributing to functional incontinence is the type of clothing someone wears. For some people, reaching the bathroom is relatively easy. But for those with conditions like arthritis or other types of inflammation, nerve damage, or other conditions that affect fine motor skills, it may be difficult or impossible to unbutton pants or unhook a belt. 

It’s important to consider where the difficulty lies when it comes to your needs or the needs of a loved one experiencing functional incontinence. Simple changes to a wardrobe, such as adding drawstrings or Velcro, can significantly improve capability and mobility, and reduce the symptoms of functional incontinence. 

Use Incontinence Tools 

One of the best ways to reduce discomfort and embarrassment associated with functional incontinence, and to reduce potential leaks is using tools like Male Drip Protection sleeves, commonly called MDP. Our products are specifically designed for any man looking to reach the toilet while experiencing some leakage, as MDP has a light absorbency capacity, holding up to two ounces, and will provide some protection from leakage when trying to reach the bathroom. 

For any man struggling to reach the bathroom before experiencing loss of containment, MDP provides a secure, customized fit directly onto the male anatomy, utilizing our exclusive two-strap design to provide confidence and peace of mind. If there are no leaks on the way to the bathroom, MDP sleeves can easily be taken off and put back on after urination. 

And since MDPis available in boxes of 15, 30, or 90, you can always be prepared to manage light incontinence any where you go, without limitations on your choice of activities. 


Urinary incontinence may feel like a difficult condition to manage and one that can cause isolation and discomfort. But the truth is, there are many ways to manage the effects of incontinence, whether the root cause is an overactive bladder or functional incontinence. 

Functional incontinence will be managed slightly differently than the other types of incontinence because the issues tend to be environmental rather than medical — something external stands in the way of an individual reaching the bathroom in time to urinate. 

That’s why some simple solutions for managing functional incontinence include adapting your living space, making clothing changes, and employing mobility aids and tools. You’ll also want to include products like MDP incontinence sleeves as part of your overall plan to manage functional incontinence. 

With Male Drip Protection, you’ll have peace of mind on the journey to the bathroom. MDP has the ideal absorbency for leaks, up to two ounces, and their effective, customizable configuration ensures they stay in place every time. 

With the right tools and a few simple changes, you’ll be able to adapt your lifestyle, or that of a loved one, to manage the effects of functional incontinence better. Get started today by adding MDP to your strategy for managing and overcoming functional incontinence, and getting back to living life the way you always have.


Functional Incontinence | HealthLink BC

Types of urinary incontinence | Harvard Health

Assistive Equipment for the Home | Johns Hopkins Medicine