Bladder control problems affect over 12 million people, and incontinence often becomes a problem for aging adults through the years. For some seniors, incontinence may not be a constant issue. It may simply be a problem that’s triggered by laughter or sneezing. Other seniors may deal with a full-time incontinence issue. No matter the severity of your problem or the type of urinary incontinence you experience, it’s important to select the best protection to meet your needs. Use this guide to learn more about your options, popular brands, and helpful tips and suggestions for selecting the right products.
Different Types of Incontinence Protection
Incontinence protection products come in many different varieties and styles and it’s essential to understand the different types of incontinence products available and their unique characteristics. The most common products include:
Incontinence Pads and Liners (Women) – Both pads and lines are used for light to moderate incontinence in women and they’re available in different levels of absorbency and different lengths. They can easily be worn with your regular underwear.
Incontinence Guards (Men) – Incontinence guards are usually gender-specific for men and can be secured to your normal underwear or reusable incontinence briefs. They offer light to moderate protection and are specially contoured to fit the male anatomy.
Belted Shields – Belted shields are simply liners, pads, or guards that have the additional feature of an adjustable belt. This offers better positioning and security. They come in different absorbencies, work well for light to moderate incontinence, and can easily be worn underneath your regular underwear.
Protective Pull-Up Underwear – Often referred to as pull-ups, pull-up underwear is a one-piece garment that uses elastic to make it easy to pull it on and off. They come in several different absorbency levels and work well for seniors with moderate to heavy incontinence. Working well for both daytime and nighttime use, many brands come with odor control elements as well.
Fitted Briefs – Fitted briefs are one-piece garments for moderate to heavy protection and they feature adhesive or adjustable closures. They may come with or without elasticized legs and may be available with outer materials of plastic or cloth for additional protection.
Popular Brand Names
Some of the most popular brand names in incontinence protection products include:
- Always (pads/liners, pull-ups)
- Attends (briefs, pull-ups, pads)
- Depends (pull-ups, briefs, guards, shields)
- Tena (liners/pads, guards, pull-ups, briefs)
- Tranquility (pull-ups, briefs, pads/liners)
- Prevail (pads/liners, guards, belted shields, pull-ups, briefs)
- Poise (pads/liners, pull-ups)
Factors to Consider When Choosing Incontinence Protection Products
Incontinence products come in many different styles and have different features, which can vary from brand to brand. When choosing your products, keeping the following factors in mind:
Absorbency – Absorbency refers to the amount of liquid a product can handle and ranges from light to heavy and the National Association for Continence notes that this is one of the most important factors to consider when making your choice. Consider your level of incontinence. Are you dealing with just occasional leaks? Do you have nighttime incontinence? Do you have daily incontinence? Answer these questions and then find the absorbency that best works for you.
Size – Purchasing products in the right size is essential – it’s essential to avoid buying products that are too small or too large. Sizes for pull-ups and fitted briefs are usually based on hip and waist measurements, but sizing can vary between products so you may need to try different options to figure out what fits you best.
Odor Control – Different protective products come with different technologies for controlling odor. National Incontinence recommends that you purchase products that have odor control to prevent any unwanted odors during the day. Products should also have moisture wicking technology that keeps moisture away from your body so you’re comfortable and dry.
Gender-Specific Design – Many products, such as Tena for Men, Tena for Women, Depend Underwear for Women, and Depend Underwear for Men are specifically designed to fit the body and needs of each gender.
Activity Level – Activity level is a factor when choosing incontinence products. If you’re very active, you’ll need something that’s well-fitted, flexible, and absorbent. If you have limited mobility, choosing products that provide easy removal is a priority.
One of the best things you can do when you’re trying to determine which products work for you is to contact different brands for sample kits. Many top brands offer samples to let you try different products, providing you with a cost-effective way to find the right solution for your incontinence needs.