Brave New World for Leg Bag Wearers

By Lisa Wells,

Wear a leg bag? If you run into challenges with managing it while going about your day, read on for some tips on making leg bag use easier and more discreet. Up to 2 million people in the US can benefit from leg bag use, either temporarily or long term. If you're one of the many people who use a leg bag as part of your continence care regimen, rest assured—you're not alone.

MelioUrinary leg bags are commonly used by people who have neurogenic bladder due to stroke, paralysis, multiple sclerosis or another condition.

Like you, scores of people wrestle with the challenges that come with wearing a leg bag. Those include unexpected leaks, complications in emptying the bag when you are on the road and not at home, and other surprises that may literally "pop" up.

You Should Be the Star of the Show, Not Your Leg Bag

Quadriplegic and Paralympian Bert Burns personally understands the challenges that can come with wearing a leg bag. As a past Abilities Expo workshop presenter and the founder of Life After Spinal Cord Injury, Burns has used a leg bag for more than 33 years.

Melio Leg Bag

"Right after I got home from rehab for my spinal cord injury, I had a date with a young lady who offered to pick me up in her brand-new car," Burns shares. "Mind you, this was over 30 years ago before I was married, well before we had the advancements available today in leg bag use."

When he rolled up to the passenger side of his date's car, Burns explains, "I was confident I could transfer into her car all by myself. I certainly didn't want my date's help to do that! So as I began to swing my leg over into the car, and lift myself up to transfer over, the last thing on my mind was my leg bag resting low around my ankle. Somehow, I grazed the bag as I pulled my leg into the car, and it burst on the spot. I sat there horrified, in the front seat of my date's new car, as my leg bag emptied out onto her floorboard."

Fortunately for Bert, his date was forgiving even if his leg bag wasn't. However, the memory of that unpleasant experience has stayed with him for a lifetime.

Stories abound about leg bags going awry, with fellow wheelchair users sharing a laugh over leaving a trail on the dance floor, or losing a shoe in the toilet as they prop their leg up to empty their system. Most people take it in stride, chalking up those moments as being part of the ongoing dues for this club that no one asked to join—the fraternity of wheelchair users worldwide.

Your leg bag experience doesn't have to be like that, though. There's a better way to wear your leg bag, a way that focuses on you as the star of the show while keeping your leg bag where it belongs—discreetly hidden away.

Taking Control of Your Leg Bag with Melio

While many people choose to increase their independence and mobility with discreet, convenient leg bags, most don't realize that new technology exists that can help empty your leg bag in an easier fashion.

The new Melio Self-Emptying Leg Bag System empties your leg bag with a push of a button—and it tells you when it's time! Besides increasing independence the Melio is also designed to:

  • Eliminate embarrassing drips or leaks: By the push of a button, you can empty this leg bag. This way you don't have to move your leg or get your hands wet.
  • Eliminate backflow: The built-in sensor alerts you when the bag is full. With this reminder, you can avoid backflows.
  • Help reduce the risk of a UTI: Without the hassle of emptying your leg bag, it helps to encourage proper hydration, which in return can reduce the risk of catheter-associated urinary tract infections.
  • Keep it simple: The Melio Self-Emptying Leg Bag System not only relieves individuals of the everyday struggle of emptying their leg bag, but it helps to improve their quality of life by being discrete and easy to use.

New Jersey native and C5 quadriplegic Joe Digiorgio discovered Melio during a recent Abilities Expo event.

"As a tetraplegic I was unable to manage my own bladder care (emptying my leg bag) which made me nervous to go out in public alone for fear of Autonomic Dysreflexia," Digiorgio explains. "The Melio leg bag system gave me confidence to go out alone without causing harm by not drinking water. It has also given me independence at home being able to empty the bag myself instead of asking for help, the system greatly improves quality of life for people in my situation."

Get In and Go with Melio

How many times have you found the handicap stall occupied in a public restroom? Get in and go without the wait!

"Melio answers one of the biggest inconveniences of using the bathroom when you're away from home. It never fails—every time I visit a public restroom, the handicap stall is occupied by someone who is not a wheelchair user," Burns adds. "With Melio, I don't have to wait for that stall to free up. I can just roll up to the urinal like any other person and empty the leg bag system straight into the urinal. No mess, no clean up."

How does Melio Work?

The integrated sensor in the Melio Self-Emptying Leg Bag System monitors the urine bag level, sending a signal to the controller when the leg bag is approximately two thirds full.

The controller on your waistband alerts you when the leg bag is approximately two thirds full via a flashing amber light and discreet vibration. You can also turn on an audio alarm. When you're ready to empty the urine bag, simply push the buttons on the top or bottom of the controller to activate the pump. If you have limited dexterity, simply hold the magnetic bracelet against the front of the controller to activate the pump.

Melio Leg Bag

Melio lets you empty your leg bag with a push of a button—and tells you when it's time!

You can empty the urine bag without raising your leg using the extended Discharge Tube. Place the tube under your clothing and tuck it into your waistband for easy access. Different lengths are available to meet your needs. The Leg Bag, Pump and Discharge Tube are an integrated, disposable unit. The controller is rechargeable and is designed to last for years with reasonable care.

Caregivers also benefit from the freedom and flexibility that Melio provides.

Experience the Melio Difference

Want to know more about the Melio Self-Emptying Leg Bag System or would you like to try it for yourself? Visit their user-friendly website at or call (800) 482-2907. You can purchase and track your order online. Or, you can inquire about Melio with your local urological supplies provider.

Contact these dealers for more information about Melio or to place your order along with your other continence care supplies:

About the Author:

Lisa Wells has helped create several online social communities (Wheel:Life, Life After Spinal Cord Injury & iPush Foundation) to assist wheelchair users in discovering new relationships, lifestyle resources and web-based support groups.

Lisa also leads Get Social Consulting, a consulting practice that guides healthcare providers in creating online communication resources for people who have disabilities. An acclaimed speaker and guest columnist, you will find her presenting at healthcare conferences nationwide. Follow her articles at

About Melio:

The Melio Self-Emptying Leg Bag System is engineered and manufactured to the highest quality standards. Registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a urine collection device, Melio is designed for use by individuals who use indwelling, sheath or suprapubic catheters. Ask your doctor about issues related to your health and neurogenic bladder and if Melio is a good fit for your continence care needs.

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