Top 10 Products To Solve Your Biggest Incontinence Problems
Urinary incontinence is a medical condition that, for various reasons, causes you to lose control of your bladder unexpectedly.
You may have had a baby, which strained your pelvic floor. You may have nerve damage that prevents your body from telling the brain that it needs to use the bathroom. You may have had your prostate removed. You may have suffered a spinal cord injury. You may be bed-bound because of your age.
Regardless of the cause, most men and women will, at some point, probably experience urinary incontinence. Aside from knowing you're not alone, the good news is that incontinence supplies have become rather advanced, so you don't have to suffer a lot of the indignity that people did decades ago.
Here are our Top 10 Products to Solve Your Biggest Incontinence Problems:
1. Bladder Pads
A quality bladder bad will be made differently than a sanitary napkin for women. (Please don't use a sanitary napkin like Kotex for urine. The absorbency levels and consistencies are different, and it will leave you with a mess.) If you only have temporary bladder leaks — like from sneezes, laughing, or post-partum — a quality bladder pad will get you through the day and night.
These bladder pads come in a variety of thicknesses, from the thinnest (panty-liner) to the thickest (booster pad). The thinner the pad, the less urine it will hold. A bladder pad will get you through for a short period of time, but usually they don’t have as much odor protection and are a pad between your legs. You will need to change them frequently, and they could be uncomfortable. They are the most discreet item to carry on your person or in a bag.
2. Adult Disposable Underwear
Often called adult pull-ups or pull-ons, these are the incontinence products for men and women that are the most discreet in looks. They are worn under clothes in place of actual underwear. The absorbency levels vary, but pull-ups are a great product for people who probably will make it to the bathroom in time, but want the strong level of protection if they don’t. Also since the pull-up is designed to look like underwear, it will not make bulk between the legs and gives more comfort than a thick bladder pad.
You must be able to pull underwear up and down, so many people with arthritis, or in the charge of a caregiver, cannot wear these.
3. Adult Disposable Diapers
Adult diapers are usually the most absorbent product in the incontinence market. They are designed for people with a complete lack of bladder or bowel control, so usually they are designed with adjustable tabs, more absorbent materials (instead of simply being thicker), and with more skin-friendly materials. Adult diapers are exactly the same in design as baby diapers.
They are better for someone who is lying down and cannot change themselves, as a diaper is very difficult to change yourself. Caregivers usually prefer diapers because any voided materials are easier to clean off the body.
4. Adult Washcloths
Just as new parents use baby wipes to remove and clean the bottoms of their newborns, so can you use an adult-sized washcloth to clean your bottom area. The adult-sized washcloths are generally large enough to cover the entire hand of an adult, keeping the change more sanitary. They should be soft and designed to be no-rinse, and disposable. Some companies even make flushable wipes.
Adult washcloths are an essential element of the incontinence supply chain.
5. Perineal Skin Wash
Many incontinence companies have their own brand of skin wash designed for the genital area. These washes are gentle to the sensitive skin, yet tough enough to clean off urine and feces. Many of them are designed to need no rinsing, making it much easier to wash someone who cannot wash themselves or get into a tub or shower. Some of the washes are a cleanser and lotion in one, and some come pre-absorbed into a mitt or washcloth that a caregiver can use.
6. Incontinence Products for Women and Men
While many incontinence products are unisex in use, there are occasions when specific genders use specific supplies, such as with incontinence pads. There are pads designed for women, naturally, that are longer and designed to curve with the body. There are also incontinence pads for men that are called "male guards" that are more triangular shaped leaving very little to fit between the legs. This is more comfortable for the male anatomy and increases levels of dignity. If it is available, look for gender specific incontinence products. They will keep you feeling confident while being discreet.
7. Incontinence Supplies for the Bed-Bound
If you take care of someone who is completely bed-bound, there are many lines of incontinence products designed to help you, as the caregiver, and for the person. Many bed-bound or bed-ridden products have the ultimate level of absorbency along with the easiest designs for application. Diapers are longer which make it easier for a caregiver to ensure proper coverage. The leg elastics are usually multi-tiered which makes them more secure and comfortable. The bedpads, or chux, have thicker plastic backings.
Incontinence products for the bed-bound are usually more expensive than traditional incontinence supplies, but they are top-tier, as they have to keep the person's skin healthy.
8. Bariatric Supplies for Incontinence
If you weigh 300 pounds or more and have incontinence issues, you will need bariatric-specific incontinence products. Not only are these products designed to fit a larger body, they are more absorbent, more odor absorbing, and usually more flexible to the shape of your body. There are also products such as booster pads (sometimes called "diaper stuffers") that aid in absorbency.
Bariatric supplies come in all forms. Find what fits your needs best. Don't be afraid to test out different styles until you find one that fits the best and most comfortably. People are not one-size-fits-all.
9. Bath Safety Supplies for the Incontinent
If you have incontinence issues, you may want to look at some bath safety products that make getting to the toilet easier. There are bedside commodes (that can go in any room of the house), along with the accessories such as commode liners and deodorizers. There are toilet seat risers and hand rails for safety while getting onto and off of the toilet. There are also items such as grippers and wipers that help you with your intimate needs.
10. Incontinence Supplies meant for the Caregiver
Sanitary practices are necessary if you take care of someone and especially if they need help toileting. Gloves, urine stain remover spray, odor removing spray, adult wipes and washcloths, no-rinse body washes, and bedpads or chux for changes are but a few products that make your life as a caregiver cleaner and easier. Don't think that just because you are the caregiver that you don't need these types of supplies.
Insist on a sanitary care practice in the beginning and provide a list of products that will make caregiving easier in the long run.
We hope that we have provided a thoughtful list to help solve your problems. Did we forget anything? Leave your tips in the comments below.
SuLauren Wilson is the founder of Finnegan Medical Supply, an online medical supply store based in Little Rock, Ark. She blogs regularly on issues affecting the company’s patients. Although, she has many years of experience in the healthcare industry, she is not a licensed medical professional, and the content of her posts should not be considered medical advice.