To determine which types of incontinence products are right for you, one must understand what type of incontinence you have. Let’s explore the four primary considerations when choosing products.
Start with the needed absorbency
Do you need a little or a lot of absorbency, or does the amount fall somewhere in between? Gauging the amount of absorbency is important because the product has to be able to handle (absorb) the volume of urine produced.
- With stress incontinence and post-void dribbling, you are likely to benefit from bladder control pads or male guards in order to contain occasional leakage or frequent dribbling.
- With urge, mixed, or functional incontinence, where you experience gushes of urine, you may benefit from using maximum absorbency pull-on/protective underwear or briefs (diapers).
- With total incontinence, you are likely to benefit from regular absorbency pull-on/protective underwear or large pant liners.
- With bowel (fecal) incontinence, you are likely to need maximum absorbency pull-on/protective underwear or briefs (diapers).
Ensure your best fit
Fit is extremely important. The most absorbent product available WILL leak and cause skin breakdown if it doesn’t fit properly. Each item below features a soft top-sheet and moisture-proof backing.
- Bladder control pads or male guards come in various lengths that adhere inside your underwear. The length provides the absorbency you need to stay comfortable, secure, and dry. The longer the pad, the more absorbent. The nice thing about pads/guards is that size has nothing to do with the size of the person. Whether you are a smaller or larger person, you can still benefit from the same size pad. Pad lengths can range anywhere from 6”-15” long.
- Pull-on/protective underwear must be roughly the same size as your regular underwear. Pull-on protective underwear feature stretchy side panels to hold the product snug to your body (in place of regular underwear). You don’t want the product to be either too tight or too loose – either one will increase the likelihood of leakage.
- Diapers (briefs) feature adhesive tabs that secure the front and back of the product to create the most precise fit available. While some tabs can include a bit of adhesive tape, most often they are more of a Velcro-style fastener so that a tab can be loosened from one area and reapplied to another area to achieve the best fit.
- Large pant liners are basically very large bladder control pads with adhesive tape and range in length from 18”-28” long. These can be a good alternative in states where pull-ups are not covered or bariatric sizes (XXL/XXXL) are not covered. They are as absorbent as regular pull-ups or diapers but with the features and fit of a bladder control pad.
Consider your lifestyle
Different products work better in different situations so be sure to consider your lifestyle after determining absorbency needed and proper fit.
- Bladder control pads and male guards work best for people who are active, out and about or away from home during the day, working, etc. They can be easily changed out in any bathroom stall and are easy to dispose of by wrapping in toilet paper and throwing away (never flush used pads down the toilet). Please note that pads work well for daytime use but are not well-suited to laying down/sleeping.
- Large pant liners are similar to bladder control pads/guards but because they are much larger they will take up more room in a bag when you need to carry spares. They also take up more space in a garbage receptacle when they are thrown away.
- Pull-on/protective underwear are best for those who are mobile and can change their underwear independently. Protective underwear feature “tear-away” sides for easy removal; however, putting on a fresh pair in a small, public bathroom stall can be a little bit trickier. Protective underwear moves with a person’s body movements so is suitable for either day or nighttime use.
- Briefs (diapers) are best for individuals who are confined to a bed or wheelchair and/or require assistance to change their product throughout the day and night. Diapers move with a person’s body movements so are suitable for either day or nighttime use. They tend to be roughly the size of a large pant liner, so they will take up more room in a bag when you need to carry spares, or in garbage receptacles when being thrown away.
Find the right product mix
Many people take a “mix and match” approach to incontinence products based on their needs.
- You might consider using pads/guards during the day and pull-on protective underwear at night while sleeping.
- You can also use booster pads to add absorbency to another product. Booster pads DO NOT have the moisture-proof backing that other products have and are intended to sit inside a large pant liner, pull-on protective underwear or diaper/brief.
- Disposable underpads (or reusable where permitted) may be added to your order. These thin, sheet-like pads come in chair or bed sizes and are designed to protect furniture from urinary or bowel leakage.
Speak with an Rely Medical Supply Product Expert for assistance with the best product options for you. Our Product Experts are available by calling toll-free at (888) 529-2308 • Weekdays 8:00 am - 5:00 pm CST. Our friendly and caring Product Experts will be happy to talk with you and answer any questions you may have about our products, services, or take your order over the phone.