Recovering from an illness or surgery can leave you with a lot to manage. You may be in pain or discomfort and navigating even basic, day-to-day tasks can be problematic. Recovery can be particularly challenging if your physical condition makes it difficult to get out of bed and into the bathroom. Not to worry - you’re not alone. This is something millions of people struggle with every day.
When you’re not feeling 100 percent and getting around presents an issue, it’s common for doctors and nurses to recommend the use of a urinal. Here are a few instances when a medical urinal could be a good solution for you:
- If you’ve sustained an injury like a broken bone or torn ligament in your leg, ankle, or foot and you are not supposed to put weight on your lower extremities.
- If you suffer from dizziness or vertigo, tend to get light-headed when you stand up, or have another condition that places you at high risk for falling when using the toilet.
- If walking safely to the bathroom is an issue because you are physically weak or extremely deconditioned from a prolonged illness.
But there are also other far more common reasons that people use urinals. While often thought of as a solution of last resort, something you’d only utilize if you were hospitalized or completely bed-ridden, many people use a bedside urinal to avoid the trouble of walking to the bathroom at night. Nighttime trips to the bathroom are nothing unusual. In fact, one in three adults over the age of 30 wakes up two or more times during the night because they have to urinate. These trips to the toilet are not only inconvenient, they are extremely disruptive, undermining what might otherwise be a solid night of rest.
Clearly, there are a lot of situations in which urinals can help. But, not all urinals are the same, just as not all of us are the same. Fortunately, there are different types of urinals made for different types of situations and different types of people. We’ve put together an overview to help familiarize you with some of the options.
“Female” urinals are designed to make it easier for women, or anyone with a vulva, to use them ( we researched a list of the best urinals here ). They typically have a large, oval-shaped mouth, around 5 or 6 inches long and 4 inches wide, and a well or reservoir that usually holds between 25 and 35 ounces of urine. Frequently, the neck of the urinal will be angled slightly (the neck being the part of the urinal that connects the mouth and the reservoir), making the urinal more comfortable to use when lying completely flat. Most female urinals have a fixed handle to ensure they can be held securely while being used, although on some urinals handles are detachable. Female urinals are traditionally made of plastic that is see-through or semi-opaque and labeled so that urine can be measured and urine output monitored.
Features of “male” urinals, on the other hand, make them ideal for men, or anyone who uses a penis to pee, to use. They typically have a rounded (rather than oval) mouth that is two to three inches wide, an angled neck, a large reservoir (some as large as 65 or 70 ounces), and a fixed handle. Similar to “female” urinals, “male” urinals are usually made of clear or semi-opaque plastic. Consider these urinals for long road trips or even camping.
Bedpans serve as an alternative to urinals, although they are often less discreet and convenient. Bedpans are manufactured using a variety of different materials, plastic being the most popular. Although some people complain that they have sharp or rough edges, plastic urinals are lightweight and easy to maneuver and position – and not nearly as cold against the skin as their metal counterparts!
Bedpans are constructed similarly to toilet seats. The “seat” of the bedpant is about 4 or 5 inches wide and surrounds the entire pan, or reservoir, that collects urine. The reservoir itself ranges from four to eight inches in depth, depending on the size of the bedpan. Bedpans come in various lengths. Some are as small as 14 inches and others as large as 36 inches, in order to accomodate people of all sizes and ages.
Unlike urinals, bedpans can be used for both urine and stool (you can pee AND poop in them). Most people prefer to use a toilet to defecate whenever it’s feasible, but bedpans are a great option for individuals who are bedridden or for whom getting to the bathroom is simply too much work or unsafe.
A new kind of portable bedside urinal
When it comes to urinals, functionality is key. You obviously don’t want a urinal that will leak or spill or, worse yet, smell. But that doesn’t mean urinals need to look ugly by your bedside or be humiliating to use. Fortunately, there are new, innovative options on the market, like the Loona.
The Loona is a portable urinal for women, or anyone with a vulva. Loona’s contemporary design makes it look like it’s meant to be in your home. And, it’s features make it comfortable, convenient, and easy to use. Loona has a soft, contoured funnel that creates a comfortable and secure seal against your body, a snap close lid that prevents spills and leaks, and a broad, stable base to ensure that it stays upright on your bedside table. So, when going in to the bathroom gets tough, find a urinal that checks all the boxes – one that not only works well but one that gives you a feeling of dignity and self-respect as you recover.
This article was written by Dr. Shani Saks