Adult Diaper Sizing Guide: How to Select and Choose the Proper Fit.

If you suffer from temporary or chronic incontinence, there's a good chance you will need to invest in adult diapers. Finding the right incontinence solutions are imperative to your comfort, health, and hygiene. From style and fit to absorbency, the following guide will provide you with nearly everything you should consider about buying adult diapers.

The Right Size Matters

If your adult diapers are not the correct size, you’ll most definitely run into some issues. Loose-fitting diapers can leak and tight-fitting diapers can be uncomfortable. The right fit should be snug and contoured, but not feel restrictive. Wearing adult diapers all day can be uncomfortable, especially as you learn to live with incontinence; but wearing the right size will make that adjustment easier by increasing confidence, security, and personal hygiene. You may have to try a few different brands or styles, but in most instances, the size guide on the package will help you find the right fit.

Misconceptions About Adult Diapers

Many people think larger diapers are more absorbent, however, that isn’t true. Absorbency levels vary among adult diapers, regardless of the sizing. To ensure you get the right absorbency, you should read the label to see if they are light or heavy absorbency. Choosing a larger size to get more absorbency will result in uncomfortable wear and some leakage.

You may have also heard that adult diapers aren’t ideal for both sexes. This is also false. Adult diapers are made for men, women, and some are gender-neutral. There are various types and there is something for everyone. Anyone can suffer from temporary or chronic incontinence and there are diapers for every patient.

The third misconception about adult diapers is that they are thick and show through clothing. This may have been true at some point but this isn’t the case anymore. Today, adult diapers have marked improvement in design, odor control, and absorbency technology. They can be simultaneously very thin and hyper-absorbent while essentially disappearing under clothing. Today's adult diapers can be worn very discreetly without having to make huge wardrobe adjustments.

Types of Adult Diapers

There are many different types of adult diapers starting with differences in absorbency levels. You can choose from heavy absorbency, moderate absorbency, or nighttime absorbency. The nighttime diapers are generally thicker and can absorb much more over a longer period so you won’t wet the bed or need to wake up in the middle of the night to change it. There are also different styles to choose from for maximum comfort, like briefs or super stretch. The stretch factor will allow the adult diapers to move with your body’s natural motions, feel less restrictive, and still absorb very well. Other options include pull-up, belted, snapped, or tabbed styles diapers, plastic or cloth-like top materials, gender-specific designs, and reusable or disposable alternatives.  

How to Measure Yourself for Adult Diapers

To measure yourself for diapers properly, you will need a flexible measuring tape. While in a standing position with your feet together, measure the circumference of your waist, hips, and thighs. Compare these measurements to your desired brand's size chart to find the most appropriate size for you. Every brand of adult diapers will list its unique size guidelines somewhere on the back of the package. Do not use your current underwear or pant size as an indicator as there may be discrepancies between the size guide and your current pant or underwear size. Measurements will provide the most accurate response.

It is very important to measure your thighs. You may think the waist and hips are sufficient but the thigh measurement is important for a proper fit around the leg hole; if the adult diaper is too tight on the thighs, it may cause discomfort, and if too loose, leakage can occur. To ensure a perfect fit, take all your measurements and write them down. You may need to try a few brands before you find the one that has the best fit for you.

Common Brand Size Charts

Here is a glance at some of the most common size charts you’ll see among most adult diaper brands:


Small, Medium, Large, X-Large

Waist/Hip (Inches)

24" to 32", 24" to 32", 45" to 58", 56" to 64"

Weight (Pounds)

85 to 100 lbs, 100 to 150 lbs, 150 to 200 lbs, 200 to 250 lbs

What Else Will I Need?

Choosing adult diapers is about finding a pair that solves your incontinence problem, feels comfortable and doesn’t cause irritation. You may need to try out a few different brands to find the right style for you, but starting with the right size can help you find your perfect fit much sooner. Be sure to change your adult diapers often to avoid bad odors. You can dispose of them in scented disposal bags to prevent odors from permeating through your garbage cans. An odor-eliminating spray can also be helpful to use when you are away from home. To maximize comfort and reduce skin irritation, you can also try a skin-protecting ointment.