Choosing the right incontinence product often comes with many questions: What products are out there? What do they do? How do I know if they’ll work for me? It may be frustrating to try to answer these alone. Luckily, there’s an approach you can take that will make the process a lot easier. It’s 5 simple steps, and following them will get you into a product that’s best suited for your needs.
1. Identify Your Leakage Type
The first step to finding the right incontinence product is identifying the kind of leakage you experience. Different products are made for different levels of output, so it’s important to know yours before you choose a product. In medical terms, the types of leakage are broken down and defined as follows:
Light – Light output consists of small dribbles of urine, usually no more than a few drops or very short spurts at a time.
Medium/Moderate – Medium output is characterized by longer streams or heavy dripping of urine, resulting in larger outputs.
Heavy – Heavy output is when there are larger gushes or steady flows of urine, which could occur more frequently throughout the day.
Fecal – Fecal output is any kind of leakage from a bowel movement, regardless of volume.
Keep in mind that your output may not fall into just one category. It’s very possible to experience multiple types of output. If this is the case, then keep track of how often you experience each kind. This will help determine which product (or combination of products) is right for you.
2. Identify Your Frequency
Another important factor in choosing the right incontinence product is knowing how often leakage occurs. Greater frequency may require a more absorbent incontinence product, even if the leakage type is light. There are no specific categories for frequency, so a good way to determine it is to record the number of times per day that leakage is experienced.
A helpful way to do this is to keep a daily bladder diary. This will help to accurately track the type of output, how frequently it occurs, and when it was experienced. This information will also help your doctor and your medical supply company understand the situation.
3. Understand the Products
With a good understanding of both leakage and frequency, it’s possible to pick the right incontinence product. There’s many different types, and each serves a specific need. Understanding the products and their use will help determine which one is the best choice.
Bladder Control Pads – Bladder Control Pads are long, absorbent pads designed for lighter outputs of urine. They attach directly to the underwear with an adhesive strip. The polymer inside the pad absorbs liquid and locks it in, keeping the skin clean and dry. Because of their size, Bladder Control Pads are very discreet, but offer protection for lighter output volumes.
Male Guards – Male guards are a special type of Bladder Control Pad designed uniquely to fit the male anatomy. They offer the same protection as a regular pad, but come with a tapered end for better collection of urine. And like regular pads, they are the most discreet option, but can only handle lighter output.
Protective Underwear/Pull-Ons – Protective Underwear, also known as Pull-Ons, are wearable protection that can replace underwear and fit beneath clothing. They protect against moderate or medium outputs of leakage. The absorbency area is larger than a pad, protecting against greater volumes of output. Like Bladder Control Pads, Protective Underwear is designed to be discreet and comfortable. When fitted properly, they also help prevent leakage from traveling down the leg and dampening clothing.
Adult Briefs – Like protective underwear, Adult Briefs are wearable protection made to fit underneath the clothing. They offer the highest protection of any absorbent product and have the largest coverage area. Unlike other absorbent incontinence products, Adult Briefs can handle both urinary and fecal leakage.
Booster Pads – Booster Pads are a supplemental item designed to be used with another absorbent product. As the name suggests, they “boost” absorbency by providing an extra layer of protection with Bladder Control Pads, Male Guards, or Protective Underwear. Booster Pads do not have a waterproof side, so they cannot replace the use of another incontinence products.
4. Selecting the Right Incontinence Product
Now comes the trickier part: choosing the right product. The key to finding the right one is matching the leakage and frequency with a product designed to accommodate it. For example, if the leakage type is light, and the frequency is 1-3 times a day, the bladder control pad would be a good choice, as it is made for light leakage. Other products would provide unneeded levels of protection.
When making a decision, it’s important to be honest and really think about what’s best for your quality of life. Keep in mind that just one product type may not be enough. It’s very possible (and common) for different products to be needed in different situations. Some people, for example, experience more leakage during the night while sleeping than they do during the day. For them, the best solution may be a bladder control pad during the day, and an Adult Brief during the night. Every person’s experience will be different. If you have question about yours, contact us for help. Our care experts can help you determine what’s best for you.
5. Ask Questions
When it comes to incontinence products, there’s no such thing as a wrong question. Incontinence products can be confusing to sort through. There are a lot of different brands and models, each with their own unique features and designs. Trying to understand it all alone can be daunting. It’s better to ask an expert and get the right information so that you don’t put your health at risk.
A good place to start is with us. We’ve been working with these products for over 20 years, so we know what they’re best suited for. Our care experts can answer any questions you have, so don’t hesitate to call us at (800) 867-4412. You an also reach us through the contact form on our website. Let us know what you need, and we’ll be happy to help!