Understanding and Choosing Incontinence Products

Three steps to choosing the right incontinence products.
There are three basic steps to understanding and choosing incontinence products that will meet your needs and provide you with the protection you need.

First, identify what type of incontinence you have. Many products are designed for certain types of incontinence. They are specially designed to meet the unique needs and challenges that type of incontinence presents. The following are the types of possible incontinence:
  • Stress incontinence
  • Urge incontinence
  • Overflow incontinence
  • Functional incontinence
  • Mixed incontinence
  • Anatomic or developmental abnormalities
  • Temporary incontinence
  • Bedwetting

Learn more about these types of incontinence, as well as tips for changing, skin care, odor control and more.

Second, identify the absorbency you may need. While it sounds good in theory to just buy the most absorbent product, that way you are covered, this means added bulk and expense. It is best to simply find a product that works for your needs. Keeping a voiding diary can be very helpful in determining what your needs are.

Third, consider comfort, fit, and discretion. Are you active? Will you be changing the product yourself, or is a caregiver changing the product? Are you average size? Are you large? If looking to fit a large person, be sure to check waist sizes, some brands are available in waist sizes up to 100”. Some products are designed specifically for function, and are more for the home-bound, others are designed to look and feel like traditional underwear, but add the protection of an absorbent product. 

Watch this video: How to Choose the Right Incontinence Product

Situations and Suggestions:

The following is a look at some common situations where incontinence products are needed, and our recommendations.

Situation: Women with very light to light bladder control.

Suggestion: Choose pads - Poise, Prevail, TENA, Attends.

Situation: Men following prostate surgery.

Suggestion: Depending on severity, start with a pull on underwear and gradually move to a male guard and then to a light pad like Depend Shields.

Situation: Women with medium to heavy incontinence.

Suggestion: Heavy pads such as Poise Hourglass or pull on underwear.

Situation: Heavier women with a medium to heavy flow.

Suggestion: Poise Hourglass pads.

Situation: Men with medium to heavy incontinence.

Male guards or pull on underwear. Could also include a ‘booster’ pad with the pull on underwear.

Situation: Women or men with very heavy urinary incontinence.

Suggestion: The most absorbent pull on underwear like Abena or consider a brief which are sometimes referred to as adult diapers - they are the ones with tape tabs.

Situation: Fecal incontinence.

Suggestion: Use briefs, as they offer the most protection. The most absorbent brands are Abena, Tranquility and Wellness. Another option is to try refastenable pull on underwear, which are easier to change than traditional pull on underwear, or to try belted shields.

We know how confusing it can be to select the right incontinence product. Research has shown that those buying incontinence products for the first time waste $130 on average in trial and error before finding what works for them. Once a package is opened it can’t be returned, and what works for some doesn’t work as well for others. Since this is a very individual preference, we recommend samples before investing in a case. We have samples available for $3.49 per item set of 4 pads. Call us at 800-985-1353.

Avoid the costly mistake of wasting money on trial and error. Try our sample service.
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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.


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