When we’re asked “Which is the best incontinence product, our answer is (no pun intended), it depends.” And no, we do not mean Depend (the brand), although they are a great brand, and may be the best for you. There are many factors that play a part in the best product for YOU. It is an individual choice, and based on preference and need.
Is the product for you and if so, what issues are you having? There are a number of different products designed to meet specific needs. Using the right product is the first step.
Boxers- These are for men who want the look and feel of regular boxer style underwear with as much absorbency as a pull-on option.
Pull-on – These pull up and down like traditional underwear, but provide protection. They offer cloth-like stretch panels for superior comfort, and tear away sides for easy removal.
Adjustable underwear- These are designed for both men and women, have tabs to reposition and adjust for fit. They also offer tear away sides for easy changing.
Briefs/adult diapers- These are designed for men and women, with maximum protection. They are specifically for heavy to complete loss of bladder and bowel control. These offer tape tabs for removal by caregivers.
Undergarments- These are designed for more than a light leak, but not a full void. They are held in place with an elastic strap, and fasten with buttons and straps.
Booster pads and inserts- These are pads designed to offer extra protection to other incontinence products. You wear them with an adult diaper, for example, for even greater protection against leaks.
Pads and Guards- These are designed for light bladder leakage, the pad adheres to cloth underwear with an adhesive strip, and can be used with disposable underwear. For men, the same basic product is called a guard. It is designed to offer protection where men need it most.
What type of incontinence do you have? In addition to finding the right product type for your specific absorbency need, it is also important to get something that fits your type of incontinence. And this doesn’t just mean fecal or bladder. The first question to ask is” Is it bladder incontinence or is stool involved?” But then consider the following.
Types of Incontinence:
1. Stress incontinence- This is when urine leaks because the person is being active or puts stress or strain on the bladder. Coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercise, etc. can all lead to leaks. The leaks may be just a dribble in some, or a full void in others. Often the intensity of the stress produces the severity of the leak.
2. Urge incontinence- This is when leaking happens without warning. This is when an overactive bladder contracts without you wanting it to.
3. Overflow incontinence- This is when the bladder gets so full it overflows. Blockage of the bladder outlet may cause the overflow. Blockage or narrowing can be caused by cancer, scar tissue, or an enlarged prostate. This leads to frequent urination, or constant dribbling of urine, or both.
4. Functional incontinence- This is the most common type of incontinence among elderly with arthritis, parkinson’s, or Alzheimer’s disease. This is when individuals are unable to control their bladder before they get to a bathroom because of limitations to movement, thinking, or communication.
5. Mixed incontinence- Some people suffer from two types of incontinence at the same time, usually stress and urge incontinence. This is most common in women.
6. Anatomic or developmental abnormalities- This is when incontinence is caused by a physical or neurological abnormality, such as a fistula or nerve damage.
7. Temporary incontinence- This is when incontinence is temporary, and caused by something like constipation, a urinary tract or vaginal infection, or are on a medication that has incontinence as a side effect.
8. Bedwetting- One out of every nine children wets the bed. It is more common in boys than girls. Most outgrow it by age 11. This can be caused by underproduction of the hormone ADH, sleeping too soundly, or heredity.
How often do you need to void?
Getting the best incontinence products depends on your needs. What is the volume of your leakage? A Voiding Diary can help you and your doctor get a clear picture of your incontinence, and also your needed absorbency.
Are you taking care of someone with incontinence?
The questions above are the same whether it is for you or someone else, however, if you are a caregiver, you may want to ask yourself the following questions as well: How often can you change them? Changes should occur 3-5 times a day, but possibly more. Are they ambulatory? To what degree can they help you (such as rolling over)? If they can help with the change, pull on style might be a great option, but if not, briefs, adjustable underwear, and tabbed or taped are a better option. You want to maintain as much dignity as possible, so consider which products will help you do so.
The goal is to get the right product to meet your need without wasting money buying more than you need. You want to address absorbency and protection needs, fit, cost and dignity/normalcy. The best products offer you fit, comfort, absorbency, protection, and discretion in one. We wish we could say that the answer is XYZ product, but the truth is, it is a matter of preference and individual needs.
The average consumer wastes over $130 the first time they buy incontinence products. It is easy to get confused about products, brands, styles, and sizes, as well as absorbency. Once a package is opened, it can’t be returned, making mistakes costly. In order to avoid making this costly mistake, try samples before buying cases. Samples can be purchased in sets of 4 for just $3.49. Call 800-985-1353 M-F 9-4 CST to talk to one of our product specialists. These knowledgeable ladies can help you find the perfect product for your needs.
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We offer over 500 styles, sizes, absorbencies and brands, many more than even the big stores. You can quickly and easily sort through these product choices using our Incontinence Product Finder. .
The space of this article does not allow a full presentation of all the options. That’s why we suggest calling us at 1-800-985-1353 and talking to one of our highly knowledgeable ladies who are all current or former caregivers.
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About The CareGiver Partnership. The CareGiver Partnership helps caregivers and their loved ones with answers to their caregiving questions, including information about home health care products and supplies, from our Wisconsin-based team of Product Specialists who are all current or former caregivers. The company’s Web site provides the largest online library of resources on subjects most important to caregivers — from arthritis to assisted living, and Parkinson’s to prostate cancer — as well as access to more than 3,000 home care products for incontinence, skin care, mobility, home safety and daily living aids. The CareGiver Partnership was founded in 2004 by Lynn Wilson of Neenah, Wisc. Visithttp://www.caregiverpartnership.com to learn more or call 1-800-985-1353.