This post was reviewed by our Director of Clinical Excellence and Oversight.
Choosing the right incontinence product isn’t easy.
For many, the process is a labored struggle with questions that don’t seem to have an easy answer: What products are out there? What do they do? How do I know if they’ll work for me?
Luckily, you don’t have to answer these questions alone. We’ve put together a guide of 5 simple things that will lead you to the right product.
1. Identify Your Leakage Type
The first step towards the right incontinence product is identifying leakage. 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 leakage isn’t limited to one category. It’s very possible to experience multiple types of output.
2. Identify Your Frequency
You also need to understand how often leakage occurs. If leakage happens often, you may need a more absorbent product, even if the leakage 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.
3. Understand the Products
Knowing the products is absolutely crucial to good incontinence management. There are many different types, and each one serves a specific need.
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.
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. If you have question about yours, contact us for help. Our care experts can help you determine what’s best for you.