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Incontinence Pads: Taking the Stress out of Stress Incontinence

If you're experiencing the minor leaks of stress incontinence—such as a few drops or dribbles—when you inadvertently put stress on your bladder (as you laugh, exert yourself or just simply sneeze), you have options for correcting the problem. Start by reading the article, The Treatment of Urinary Incontinence: It's Not "One Size Fits All" to understand available treatments and lifestyle changes that may help.

Then, as you wait for treatment to work or to better contain the leaks, investigate the choices of incontinence pads. Better than panty liners, these incontinence supplies are made to trap and hold leaks, letting you feel secure while protecting your clothes. When you have only light to moderate leakage, chances are a slimfit pad, rather than a full coverage brief, is all you need.

Incontinence pads are also called liners and, when designed just for men, guards. They're backed with adhesive so you simply press them against the inside of your regular underwear, and then peel them off when they need to be changed.

To find the right pad for your needs, consider these important features:

Absorbency. High-tech fibers enable very thin pads to offer excellent protection, but choose the pad that matches the degree of leakage you're experiencing. Usually choices are light, moderate, heavy and overnight (the heaviest). The more absorbent the fibers, the more liquid they can trap.

Design. You can find incontinence supplies shaped specifically for women or for men. These designs match the natural shape of the female and male anatomy and should feel as well as fit better. But unisex designs may work just as well for you and could be less expensive.

Dimensions. You want a pad that covers the length and width of your underwear. You may be most comfortable in pads marked "long," which give better front to back coverage. The best pads also have contoured sides for added comfort.

Materials. More high-tech advances mean a more comfortable feel, even when a leak has occurred. Look for pads with a soft top sheet that draws liquid to the layers below and keeps you feeling dry.

Adhesive strip. Incontinence pads are held in place in your underwear with adhesive. The adhesive should be wide enough to keep the pad flat when you move unlike panty liners that tend to bunch up.

Odor control. Look for words like "odor protection." Odors will be locked in along with liquid for embarrassment-free security. There are many manufacturers of incontinence pads. The following styles offer many of the best features:

Prevail® Bladder Control Pads are soft yet able to pull away liquid fast and effectively thanks to a super absorbent polymer that wicks away and traps it. An adhesive strip keeps the pad in place, and styles include long and regular size in moderate or heavy absorbency.

MoliForm Extra Soft Incontinence Underwear Liners feature a three-part core with specially treated curly fibers that keep skin dry and help control odor. They're available in various sizes and absorbency levels—plus, extra and overnight.

Dignity Super Duty Adult Pads are made for moderate absorbency protection and can be doubled and used with regular undergarments. They feature wide adhesive strips for added stability and protection and a 4" wide x 12" long unisex design.

Click here to see a more comprehensive selection of incontinence pads.