MALE INCONTINENCE DEVICE
This is a continuation of application Ser. No. 08/315,380, filed Sep. 30, 1994, now abandoned.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to an absorbent product useful as a male incontinence device which is convertible between a substantially planar structure for storage and a three-dimensional structure for use.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
It is estimated that some 3% of community-dwelling men under 60 and around 12% of those over 60 suffer from urinary incontinence. A. R. Herzog et aL, "Prevalence and Incidence of Urinary Incontinence in Community-Dwelling Populations", Journal American Geriatric Society, Vol. 38, pp.273-281 (1990). Of these men, the largest group comprises those whose incontinence is associated with hardening of die prostate (benign prostatic hypertrophy) or associated with the aftermath of surgery for mis condition. Such people generally leak quantities of urine which are small, but without protection, are large enough to produce wet patches in their undergarment and often in their outer clothes. Prostate problems most commonly occur in elderly men. However, the first signs of urinary incontinence may appear in men in their fifties, and symptoms generally get worse over time.
Urinary leakage generally occurs under two circumstances. First, it often occurs in the period following micturition. The section of the urethra distal to the prostate fails to empty during micturition, and the urine dribbles out slowly soon after. This phenomenon is known as post micturition dribble. Second, leakage may occur on coughing, sneezing and the like. This is analogous to stress incontinence in women. Either way, sufferers will rarely leak more than 50 ml over a period of several hours.
There are several incontinence products which are described in patent and marketing literature. One category of male incontinence devices is the external catheter type. This type generally comprises a rubber condom which empties into a drainage bag. The drainage bag is usually strapped onto the leg. However, for most active men with small urinary leakage quantities, this type of incontinence device is unnecessarily restrictive and provides excessive protection. It prevents the wearer from emptying his bladder normally, interferes with intimate relations and presents a real risk of skin damage by constantly bathing the skin of the penis in urine. In addition, the drainage bag is bulky beneath clothing and needs to be washed or replaced frequently.
A second category of male incontinence devices is a disposable pouch which is designed to contain at least the end of the penis. Examples of this type of device are disclosed in Larko, U.S. Pat No. Des. 263,169, which illustrates such a pouch and Smith, U.S. Pat No. 4,601,716, which discloses a disposable sheath which is closable about the distal end of the penis. These products are difficult to position, tend to migrate with movement and require an unretracted penile shaft
Recently, modifications of the disposable pouch have been developed which enclose bom the penis and scrotum of the wearer. An example of such a device is disclosed in Rooyakkers, U.S. Pat. No. 4,675,012. This patent discloses a deep absorbent pouch for male genitalia having a generally triangular opening wherein one side of the triangle is adapted to be worn flat against the upper genital region and
the other two portions of the triangular opening extend into the crotch and meet behind the scrotum The pouch may be formed by folding and securing portions of a sheet of absorbent material, or it may be formed by molding or
s deforming a soft foam sheet.
Therefore, what is needed is an easily manufactured, male incontinence device capable of coping reliably with small quantities of urine and imposing minimal restrictions on the normal life of the user. Such a product is preferably very
to thin, and is convertible between a substantially planar structure for storage and a three-dimensional structure for use.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
I have devised a new male incontinence product which is 13 useful for lightly incontinent men which has a fluidpermeable body-facing surface, a fluid-impermeable garment-facing surface and an absorbent structure between the two surfaces. The product has a periphery and an interior, the periphery is secured to prevent substantial expansion, 20 and the interior has pleats to allow the product to be articulated between a substantially planar structure and a three-dimensional, cup-like structure for use. The product may also include means for securing the product to a user's clothing.
25 Products such as those described above can be formed by pleating a continuous web of a composite absorbent structure which has an absorbent layer disposed between and in fluid communication with a liquid-impervious barrier layer and a liquid-pervious cover layer. The continuous web
30 preferably has a length dimension substantially greater than a width dimension. The periphery of the absorbent product can be defined in the continuous web and treated where pleated to resist substantial expansion of the pleats at the periphery. The finished absorbent product can then be
35 removed from the continuous web. In an alternative embodiment, the individual cover, barrier and absorbent layers can be pleated before being combined into a composite structure.
40 BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING
FIG. 1 is a plan view of the body-facing side of an incontinence product in a substantially planar configuration. FIG. 2 is a plan view of the garment-facing side of the 45 incontinence product of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a sectional view along line HI—m of FIG. 2. FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the incontinence product of FIGS. 1-3 in an expanded configuration. FIG. 5 is a plan view of an absorbent structure prior to 50 pleating useful in the incontinence product of FIGS. 1-3. FIGS. 6a and 6b are sectional views, similar to FIG. 3, of alternative embodiments of the incontinence product of FIGS. 1-3.
FIG. 7 is a plan view of the body-facing side of an 55 alternative embodiment of an incontinence product in a substantially planar configuration. FIG. 8 is a sectional view along line VUI—VHI of FIG.
go FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the incontinence product of FIGS. 7-8 in an expanded configuration.
FIG. 10 is a plan view of the body-facing side of an alternative embodiment of an incontinence product in a substantially planar configuration. 65 FIG. 11 is a sectional view along line XI—XI of FIG. 10. FIG. 12 is a perspective view of the incontinence product of FIGS. 10-11 in an expanded configuration.