Everything Incontinence

6 Most Popular Types of Incontinence Products

Jump to: Adult Pull-Up Underwear   Adult Tabbed Brief   Incontinence Pads for Women   Incontinence Guards for Men   Unisex Booster Pads (Diaper Inserts)   Incontinence Underpads

Incontinence is a difficult topic to discuss. It’s estimated that close to 33 million men and women in the U.S. deal with some form of urinary incontinence but only a fraction of them actually discuss it with their healthcare provider.

Opening up about incontinence allows you to begin managing your symptoms and regain control of your life. One way to manage incontinence symptoms without medication is with absorbent incontinence products.

Almost all new users of incontinence products share a similar experience of being overwhelmed by the number of choices available to them. Which product do I choose? What level of absorbency will I need? Will the incontinence product I choose leak? Will it be noticeable under my clothes? These questions, among many others, create a stressful experience for any new user of incontinence products.

We’ve had the pleasure of improving this experience for our customers by making recommendations custom tailored for them. We’ve collected our most recommended products below so you too can benefit from decades of firsthand insight.

Types of Incontinence Products

1. Adult Pull-Up Underwear

Ideal Users: Mobile and active individuals who experience light to moderate incontinence
Absorbency: 700ml (3 cups) to 1000ml+ (5 cups)
Size Range: Small–XL
Incontinence Types: Functional Incontinence, Mixed Incontinence, Urge Incontinence, Overactive Bladder, Stress Incontinence
Main Benefits: Discreet, highly absorbent, similar to regular underwear

Adult pull-up Underwear

What Are Adult Pull-Ups & Who Are They For?

Adult pull-up underwear is a good option for any individual who is mobile and wants a product that feels more like underwear than a brief or a type of pad. It’s intended to move with the body and feel like regular underwear. For example, brands like Dry Direct offer popular adult pull-up underwear that’s discreet and available in both black and white. Most adult pull-up underwear is unisex, but increasingly, there is gender specific underwear made specifically for men and women. Adult pull-up underwear is a preferred garment style and one easily understood and adopted by users. This type of incontinence product is put on while standing, making it most commonly used by highly independent and mobile individuals. Most pull-up underwear features a tearable side seam that makes changing much easier. Adult pull-up underwear is not recommended for individuals who are bedridden or unable to stand.

How Does Adult Pull-Up Underwear Fit?

Pull-up underwear typically has both an elastic waistband and breathable material that make it more comfortable to wear, especially in hotter climates. All pull-up underwear also has a hydrophobic layer that absorbs and moves moisture away from your skin, preventing incontinence-related dermatitis. Because of its familiar silhouette, and its consumer adoption outside of healthcare settings, pull-up underwear styles are the fastest growing types of adult incontinence by far.

Pullup underwear fit

Adult Pull-Up Absorption & Sizing Guide

There are different styles, patterns, and colors available that make adult pull-up underwear look like regular underwear. This type of product also tends to be more effective when compared to pads that need to be changed at regular intervals because it is more absorbent.

They typically come in a wide variety of sizes from small to XL with different levels of absorption ranging from 700ml (3 cups) to 1000ml+ (5 cups).

When choosing adult pull-up diapers, make sure to consider sizing and absorption needs carefully. Adult pull-up underwear should fit snugly around both the waist area and leg openings which ensures better performance.

2. Adult Tabbed Briefs

Ideal Users: Less mobile or inactive individuals who are bed-bound or unable to change clothes regularly. Caregivers with disabled patients.
Absorbency: 700ml (3 cups) to 4000ml+ (16 cups)
Size Range: Small–XL
Incontinence Types: Urinary & fecal incontinence
Main Benefits: Ultimate absorbency, easy to wear, tailored to your body

Adult tabbed brief

What Are Adult Tabbed Briefs & Who Are They For?

Adult tabbed briefs (or adult diapers) are an incontinence product that is fastened onto you with a set of two or four tabs. They’re more absorbent than adult pull-ups and are ideal for incontinent individuals who are bedridden or have limited mobility. Their ease of use makes them a favorite for caregivers who care for disabled patients.

How Do Adult Tabbed Briefs Fit?

The main benefit of adult diapers with tabs is their adjustable fit. They are also supportive in the rear, belly, and crotch areas and contain more robust leak-prevention features such as wider leg guards.

They are breathable but odor resistant to prevent any unpleasant odors from being emitted after use.

Adult tabbed briefs are typically put on while in a lying position. The tabs are secured across the brief for a snug, leak-proof fit. Not only are they adjustable, but the tabs are also reusable so caregivers can ensure the fit remains snug.

Adult tabbed brief fits

Adult Tabbed Brief Absorption & Sizing Guide

Adult tabbed briefs are made for both regular daytime and overnight use. In the past, they are usually plastic-backed to prevent leakage from staining mattresses or furniture. However, plastic backed briefs are becoming increasingly rare since they don’t allow for 100% breathability and they need to be changed more often, which is why modern textile backed briefs are just as impermeable.

Each pair of adult briefs usually contains tiny beads made of polymers in its core that absorb moisture and turn it into gel to help keep skin dry. Both quality underwear and quality briefs use PH-balancing polymers to control odor. This is consistent across the entire Dry Direct line.

Due to the positioning flexibility, adult tabbed briefs are most commonly available in XXL and bariatric sizes. Adult diapers with tabs have two or four tabs. The four-tab variation is sturdier while the two-tab variation is easier to put on and take off. Some disposable tabbed briefs also have a wetness indicator on the outside which changes color when the brief needs to be changed.

3. Incontinence Pads for Women

Ideal User: Women transitioning from menstrual products to actual incontinence products
Absorbency: 300ml (~1.5 cups) to 700ml+ (3 cups)
Incontinence Types: Urge Incontinence, Stress Incontinence, Light Incontinence
Main Benefits: Very discreet, attach to regular underwear

Incontinece pads for women

What Are Incontinence Pads & Who Are They For?

Incontinence pads are a discreet absorption product created specifically for women who experience light to moderate bladder leakage.

Incontinence pads differ from feminine pads in their use and construction. Feminine pads are designed to absorb thicker menstrual fluid while incontinence pads are meant to absorb the thinner urinary fluid produced during an incontinence episode.

How Do Incontinence Pads Fit?

Female incontinence pads vary in thickness. The thicker they are, the more contact they have with the skin. Some incontinence pads with wings provide extra protection from leaks. Also, unlike previously mentioned wearable products, incontinence pads adhere to the base of regular panties with a thin adhesive strip.

Incontinece pads fits

Incontinence Pad Absorption & Sizing Guide

Like adult tabbed briefs, incontinence pads have a polymer layer in them. These beads absorb moisture and wick it away to keep you dry and rash-free. The quick absorption also helps prevent urinary tract infections. These incontinence products can accommodate more moisture compared to something like a pantyliner which is only meant for light use.

Most incontinence pads also have a waterproof back on them to prevent moisture from leaking onto the underwear. Again, sanitary napkins and pads with wings meant for menstrual use cannot prevent leakage in the same way for incontinence. It is better to use a female incontinence pad for both issues if that is a concern or postpartum pads.

4. Incontinence Pads (Guards) for Men

Ideal User: Men needing light to moderate protection from occasional incontinence
Absorbency: 300ml (~1.5 cups) to 700ml+ (3 cups)
Incontinence Types: Urge Incontinence, Stress Incontinence, Light Incontinence
Main Benefits: Very discreet, attach to regular underwear

Incontinece pads guards men

What Are Male Guards & Who Are They For?

Incontinence pads for men, or male guards, are wearable absorbent products made specifically for the male anatomy. They are used to manage light to moderate incontinence. Male guards are not ideal if you require heavier absorption.

How Do Incontinence Pads for Men Fit?

Incontinence pads for men have the absorbent material more forward versus female incontinence pads that orient downward. Male guards also contain an adhesive strip that adheres the pad to regular underwear. Male Guards work best in form-fitting underwear styles like bikinis, or boxer briefs but are not recommended for a more relaxed fit like boxers.

It is important to note that male guards should not be placed inside adult pull-ups or briefs to increase their absorption. They are most effective when used in conjunction with regular male underwear, not boxer briefs. The regular underwear provides a snug fit and brings the male guard closer to the body, preventing leaks.

Male guards have a plastic backing that does not allow fluid to flow through the product. Using a male guard as a booster pad or diaper insert can lead to the pooling of urine and incontinence-related dermatitis.

Incontinence Pad for Men Absorption & Sizing Guide

Male urinary incontinence pads are very similar to female incontinence pads. A notable difference is a taper that male guards feature at the front end of the pad to better fit the male anatomy. This product is capable of handling the same amount of moisture as a regular bladder leak pad.

When choosing a male guard, consider the width and thickness more than the absorbency. Typically, the larger pads offer more coverage and absorption.

5. Booster Pads (Diaper Inserts)

Ideal User: Individuals needing extra protection or absorbency in their adult diaper
Absorbency: 700ml (3 cups) to 1000ml+ (~4 cups)
Incontinence Types: All types
Main Benefits: Adds absorbency to adult pull-ups or tabbed briefs

Booster pads diaper inserts

What Are Booster Pads & Who Are They For?

Booster pads, sometimes called diaper doublers or diaper inserts, are an absorbent product placed inside an adult pull-up or tabbed brief to increase absorbency. A booster pad is not the same as an incontinence pad. An incontinence pad does not allow fluid to flow through while a booster pad does.

Booster pads are a good solution for individuals who need to add extra absorbency to another incontinence product. They allow a user to increase the amount of time they wear an adult pull-up or diaper. Booster pads are also a great way for wheelchair users and those confined to bed to avoid more frequent diaper changes.

Booster pads are very versatile and can be used for both urinary incontinence and fecal incontinence. People who have more than one type of incontinence find these diaper doublers helpful because they keep bed sheets clean overnight. Individuals who sleep on their side report more targeted protection from leaks when they use booster pads.

Booster pads fit

How Do Booster Pads Fit?

Unlike other incontinence pads, which have an impermeable backsheet, booster pads have a flow-through backing that passes excess liquid into the outer garment. The backsheet of a quality booster pad has an adhesive strip that will secure the pad to the outer garment for a uniform fit and feel. When you experience heavy incontinence, the moisture flows down to the second absorbent product, preventing leaks and increasing their comfort.

While most booster pads are rectangular in shape, some will come in a contour (hourglass) form, which means it’s important to size your booster pad to ensure it will fit properly in the outer garment. Dry Direct Booster Pads are designed to provide maximum absorbency with a universal fit that is narrower and longer.

6. Incontinence Underpads (Bed Pads)

Ideal User: Individuals experiencing overnight or severe daytime incontinence who would like an extra layer of protection over bedding or furniture
Absorbency: 170ml (6 ounces) to 4000ml+ (140oz)
Incontinence Type: Functional Incontinence, Overnight Incontinence
Main Benefits: Protect furniture and mattresses from damaging odor and discoloration due to leaks

Incontinence underpads bed pads

What Are Underpads & Who Are They For?

Underpads are absorption products placed on a bed or other furniture that act as a final layer of protection against incontinence-related leaks. Underpads are available in both disposable and reusable variations.

Disposable underpads are typically used in healthcare settings and are favored by professional caregivers specializing in home care. On the other hand, home caregivers (family or spouse) will use reusable underpads to save money and produce less landfill material. Reusable underpads have to be washed which adds to the caregiver's workload.

For most home caregivers, or those aging in place, we recommend a rotation of reusable underpads to be used in conjunction with a quality adult underwear or brief.

How Do Underpads Work?

One of the main features of a disposable underpad is that it is meant to stay in place and not slip. It has a durable diamond pattern on the top layer that will not tear easily, allowing it to be used longer.

Another feature of disposable underpads is their three layers. The first layer allows moisture to pass through it down to a second layer that absorbs it. The final layer keeps moisture from getting onto the surface underneath. While they have anti-slip measures, bed pads may not stay in place with excessive movement.

Underpad Absorption & Sizing Guide

Underpads absorb moisture if positioned correctly. If they are used in conjunction with other bed products, an incontinence pad or guard, adult pull-up underwear, or tabbed briefs, the bed pad will last longer. The type you purchase and the level of absorbency required for your situation will ultimately determine the longevity of the pad.

Disposable bed pads are available in different sizes. The most popular size is 23x36 which are more popular for mattresses.

Still Not Sure What Incontinence Product to Choose?

Reach out to one of our caregiving experts at 1-888-746-2107. We’ve helped countless customers manage their incontinence and reclaim their lives.