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Incontinence occurs for a variety of reasons. Though not an inevitable part of aging, health issues that occur in both men and women as they get older can be causes of urinary incontinence and lead to conditions like urge incontinence or an overactive bladder. Incontinence products include disposable briefs and adult liners that absorb liquid as well as related products that protect skin and your environment.
To choose the best incontinence solutions for you, you’ll want identify your unique needs and then find the right combination of incontinence aids to provide the necessary level of absorbency—all to give you peace of mind.
There is a wide range of incontinence products to choose from. Some are designed to be worn within regular underwear; others are worn instead of it. Some products address incontinence in women while others are made for men. Within these categories, you’ll want to look at absorbency rates and choose a style based on your degree of incontinence and whether it is urinary and/or bowel related.
Putting Together Your Incontinence Supplies List
The most common incontinence products are in these categories:
Overnight diapers are extra absorbent diapers designed to function effectively through the night, without waking you up or wetting linens.
Disposable briefs, also called disposable adult diapers, are the incontinence product mainstay, available in a variety of price ranges. Reusable versions are available as well.
Belted undergarments provide absorbency with less bulk than a full incontinence undergarment; an absorbent pad is attached to a belt or straps that secure it in place. You can wear your own underwear over it or to layer it with incontinence underwear for added protection.
Incontinence pads, also called guards and liners, are worn within regular underwear and held in place with adhesive strips. Wearing a pad inside a disposable or reusable brief can double up your protection.
Other incontinence products protect your bedding. Waterproof mattress pads and protectors include disposable chux pads and reusable pads. Waterproof sheets and mattress covers offer additional protection.
Cleansing products are another important part of incontinence management. Protecting the skin from irritants is a must with a two-part system of no-rinse cleanser and a barrier product. Other helpful accessories include gloves, wipes and odor eliminators.
The choice of disposable briefs and similar incontinence supplies should be guided by the size requirements of the adult managing incontinence. Choosing by size goes along with meeting any needs for extra absorbency and features that will protect tender skin, like pH control.
Disposable briefs and other disposable products usually come by size and shape. It is important to realize that sizing specifics often vary from one manufacturer to another, and that differences in construction may result in products that do not fit in exactly the same way although they may be classified by size in the same category.
Most disposable briefs use the waist width when categorizing products by size, although some use a hip measurement. The smallest size available corresponds to a 20-inch waist, while the largest may go up to a 68-inch waist size. The proper fit should neither be too loose nor too tight—a snug fit is what ensures zero leakage during use.
For most people, the “medium” size provides a proper fit. Avoid going for a larger size in the mistaken notion that this will give you more capacity. Disposable briefs that are bigger than you need may be too cumbersome to put on securely and won’t fit as snugly and comfortably as you’d like.
A key feature of disposable briefs is extra absorbency. While absorbency is not directly influenced by size, the ability to wick urine away from the skin surface and absorb it can be affected by how the product is constructed. Compare absorbency rates when considering the right product for you. To help with all these variables, use our adult brief selector to find the perfect fit.