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Understanding and Choosing Incontinence Products

If you are caring for someone with incontinence issues, we understand how difficult it can be to know which adult incontinence products to choose for each situation.   This buyers guide, provided by our friends at TENA, can be used by caregivers to understand each type of adult incontinence product and how they work best.

Caregivers Guide to Incontinence Products

 

Pull Up Briefs – Protective Underwear

Description:  Protective underwear are full fitted briefs that pull on and take the place of regular undergarments.

Best for:

  • People unable to manage their own incontinence
  • People who are ambulatory or able to bear weight
  • Bowel and bladder incontinence

Not so good for: Changing in bed

Pad Inserts – Pads & Shields

Description: Pads are designed to fit inside regular underwear to absorb accidental leakage.  May have adhesive strip to adhere to undergarment.

Best for: Added absorbency inside regular undergarments or inside pull up briefs.  This limits embarrassment when accidents occur.

Not so good for:

  • Complete bladder incontinence
  • Bowel incontinence

Belted Undergarments

Description: Sized between a pad insert and a full brief, these are designed to replace regular undergarments.  An elastic band with buttons or other type of attachment device connects to button holes in the brief.

Best for:

  • Occasional accidents
  • Changing in bed
  • Frequent changes without having to remove all clothing

Not so good for:

  • Bowel incontinence
  • Quick changes

Taped Pads – Adult Diapers

Description: Looks much like a diaper, also known as Adult Briefs.  Tape tabs adhere on each side to secure the garment around the individual.

Best for:

  • Use instead of regular undergarments
  • Bowel incontinence
  • Changing in bed

Not so good for: Changing when standing

Overnight Pads and Adult Nigthtime Diapers:

Description:  These may be in the form of fitted brief or taped brief, but have added absorbency to reduce changes and leakage through the night.  Most are also designed to wick moisture away from the skin to prevent skin breakdown.

Best for:

  • Overnight use when getting up or changing is not possible
  • Use instead of regular undergarments for someone difficult to change or transfer
  • For someone who is bedridden

Not so good for: Someone who may get frustrated and pull the garment off and/or apart. (There may be little  absorbency balls in the garment that spread if the cloth is ripped.)

Bed Pads and Underpads

Reusable Chair and Bed Pads: Washable pads with a water repellent fabric on one side and absorption layers on the other side.

Best for:

  • Placing on seats and furniture to protect against leakage
  • Placing underneath a person in bed to protect mattress against leakage.
  • Use as a draw sheet to move someone in bed

Not so good for:

  • Use when leakage occurs frequently unless extras are readily available
  • Use when laundry is not able to be done frequently

Disposable Chair and Bed Underpads: Often referred to as Chux pads – these are designed with a plastic backing on one side and absorbency layers on the other side.

Best for:

  • Placing on car seats and furniture to protect against leakage
  • Placing underneath a person in bed to protect mattress against leaking

Not so good for:

  • The environment
  • Using as a draw sheet to move someone in bed

I hope this guide helps you avoid the overwhelming feeling of choosing the perfect incontinence product.  Please let us know if you would like us to carry a product that you don’t see.

Shop all incontinence products in our Incontinence Products Category or Incontinence Condition Category

Valerie Paxton is a co-founder of AllegroMedical.com and lives in Phoenix, AZ. In 1997 she set out with her business partner, Craig Hood to form Allegro Medical - a company dedicated to helping people lead more independent and healthy lives. They poured their knowledge and experience into AllegroMedical.com and now have more than 1 million customers nationwide. Valerie has a degree in Journalism from the University of Nebraska and has spent most of her career in communications, marketing, PR, and investor relations. She enjoys giving advice, mentoring, volunteering, writing, reading, cooking, telling funny stories, healthy eating, her cocker spaniel Honey, her boyfriend Todd, hiking, kayaking, jokes and world travel. Follow Valerie on Twitter at http://twitter.com/vpaxton