Everything Incontinence

The History of Adult Diapers

Diapers; super absorbent, super helpful, and vastly underrated. While most people associate diapers with babies, adults make excellent use of them too. It’s common to think adult diapers would just be for the eldery, but they serve many different kinds of people. Adult diapers are not what they used to be. Check out some examples of everyday people who use them and the history of adult diapers.

Adult Diapers Solve Problems for a Lot of People

All sorts of people need adult diapers or bariatric briefs. For instance, a woman who has just given birth would find adult diapers very convenient, because she needs to wear something that absorbs fluids while she is healing. She may find herself stuck in the same position for several hours feeding or taking care of her baby. Adult diapers can give her the assurance she won’t need to rush to the bathroom to change a menstrual pad several times throughout the day.

Another example is a disabled person who is in a wheelchair or finds it difficult to quickly get to a restroom. Let’s face it, accessible bathrooms can be really difficult to find, and the comfort of knowing they won’t have an embarrassing accident due to an adult diaper is invaluable.

Finally, adult diapers would be nothing without astronauts. Space is the final frontier, and there are certainly no bathrooms. The technology advancement with liquid absorption is definitely a reason we have the adult diapers we do today. Keep reading to learn the amazing history of our modern-day adult diapers.

The 1800’s Kept It Simple with Adult Diapers

Diapering elements were being mass-produced by the end of the 1800’s, Things like cloth and safety pins were the norm for babies and adults alike. However, the cloth being used was great for a baby, but could nowhere near absorb enough for adults. Not to mention, they didn’t fit very well and you needed to wash them by hand.

Getting a Little Closer to Something Better in the 1940’s

Luckily, the 1940’s brought little more interest in diapering. Tissue paper was inserted into rubber pants, but as you can imagine, they were very hot and uncomfortable.

The 1960’s Hit Warp Speed towards Better Adult Diapers

Space exploration in the 1960’s really sent the advancement of adult diapers into hyperspeed. Female astronauts first started to wear something called a “disposable absorption containment trunk” that was held together by a zipper. However, their male counterparts were strapped with a very uncomfortable and poorly fitted collection pouch.

After hearing how great the disposable diapers were for females, male astronauts ditched their collection pouches and opted for something way more comfortable. Today, astronauts depend on adult diapers for every launch and reentry they make.

This didn’t just help astronauts complete important missions like spacewalks, it took a lot of stigma away from people who wear adult diapers.

Small Strides with Convenience in the 1970’s

By the 1970’s disposable adult diapers started to include reusable tape and more absorbent materials. However, they were made with plastic lining and were still very ill-fitting.

The 1980’s Brought Something Different to Adult Diapers

In the 1980’s, one of the most popular brands of adult diapers was launched, Depend. This brand is now a leader in the adult diaper industry and continues to aggressively campaign against the negative stigma for adults who wear diapers.

The 1990’s Provided Better Absorption for Longer Wear

There was a big technological leap in the absorption materials used in adult diapers, in the 1990’s. A chemical called sodium polychromate proved to be exceptional at absorbing large amounts of liquid. In fact, this chemical enables the production of the best adult diaper, the  NASA super-diaper, that is worn by astronauts for very long periods of time.

Adult Diaper Sales Are Skyrocketing Today

The sale of adult diapers has really taken off recently. The world’s aging population and less stigma for adult diapers have helped more people have access to them than ever before. In fact, adult diapers are a billion dollar industry, and it’s only expected to grow.

Adult Diapers in Other Countries

Japan holds a very strong hold on the adult diaper market. They are said to be a very effective way to avoid extremely long lines for bathrooms that are usually too dirty to use anyway. In fact, Japanese adult diaper manufacturers put together an all adult diaper fashion show to spur positivity and body acceptance.

In China, diapers are said to be excellent on a packed train, because restrooms are usually impossible to get to.

It’s recommended that people use adult diapers instead of public restrooms in some parts of Mumbai. Conditions are very unsanitary, and it is believed using an adult diaper is much safer than using a public toilet.

Fighting the Stigma

The stigma against adult diapers is constantly being explored. Often a person feels embarrassed and ashamed when he or she needs to wear one. However, many scientists and brands are working hard to fight this stigma. Many people need to wear adult diapers for a variety of reasons, and the best adult diaper brands are here to help people look and feel their best. 

Most importantly, adult diapers offer freedom. Adults like the disabled and the elderly no longer need to depend on someone else for their trips to the bathroom. They get to keep a little more independence, and be confident they are protected from any accidents with a full adult diaper. That’s why brands are working hard to provide people with styles they need to live a full and happy life.

Adult Diapers Look Amazing

In today’s culture, it’s no longer taboo to talk about your problems. Especially, health problems that don’t allow you to live a full life, including incontinence. Whether it’s child-birth, a disability, or just aging, today’s adult diaper options have something for everyone. The best diapers for adults are offering many different sizes, colors, and styles to suit your lifestyle. There are even styles meant for swimming! Say “so long!” to the stigma of wearing an adult diaper, because they are only here to make your life easier, in the most comfortable way possible.

- Written By

Sarah Johnson

Aging in Place Expert
Sarah Johnson is an Aging in Place Expert with extensive experience helping seniors remain independent and comfortable in their homes. She has specialized knowledge of how to help elderly individuals stay healthy, safe, and happy as they age. Sarah is passionate about providing quality care for aging adults, allowing them to remain in their homes and enjoy the highest quality of life.