What Bariatric Patients Need to Know about Bladder Control Protection


Being obese is not just inconvenient for Americans anymore. Being obese to the point of having a BMI of 30+ causes medical problems not limited to high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. When a person has a BMI of 35+, that is the point at which they start needing specialty bariatric equipment designed to hold their increased body size and mass.

If you weigh 400 pounds or more — or have a BMI of 35+ (these numbers are approximate, as everyone is unique and different in their needs) — you have probably encountered issues around supporting your weight. While no person’s identity is defined by their weight, living a happy and dignified life is everyone’s right, and this is made easier for an obese person if they use the right equipment and supplies in their home to support themselves comfortably.

A major, and potentially embarrassing, problem the obese person can encounter is a loss of bladder control. 

This loss of control does not have to be complete; it can be a slight leak or accident. The medical term is incontinence, and it comes in a number of types. 

  • Stress incontinence is an accidental leak, due to muscle weakness, caused by laughing or sneezing. These types of leaks are accidental and unpredictable. Stress incontinence is what most obese people experience.
  • Urge incontinence is the sudden feeling that you need to urinate, without feeling any of the typical warnings like the “full-bladder” feeling. This is usually the result of nerve damage that blocks the message between the bladder and the brain.
  • Overflow incontinence usually occurs when people have a blockage that prevents their bladder from emptying fully when they use the bathroom. This causes urine to continuously leak. This happens most frequently to men with an enlarged prostate or people with severe constipation.

For severely obese people, the pressure of the body’s weight on the bladder and bowel regularly causes loss of control. The lack of abdominal and pelvic (or groin) muscle strength is also a cause of losing bladder and bowel control. In order to prevent embarrassing leaks, odors, and ruined clothes, it is recommended you wear bariatric diapers or similar incontinence products.


Adult diapers have advanced to the point where they are slim, rustle-free and quiet, odor absorbent, and better designed to fit your body. This is especially true for bariatric diapers. If your waist is above 64 inches, you will need to look at bariatric diapers for your needs. A 64-inch waist translates roughly to a 2X or 3X size. These sizes are readily available in our Bariatric Supplies section.

Additionally, you might not need a full diaper or disposable underwear product. There are many forms of incontinence pads that hold large capacities of urine, but you must check the ounce capacity. Buying incontinence pads from our Bariatric Supplies section will ensure you get the right pad for your needs. 

This article is not intended to embarrass anyone who is looking to buy bariatric supplies. It’s purpose is to show you that these products exist and are made especially for you and to fit you well. If you suffer from bladder leaks or worse, you don’t want to put your faith in a product not designed for you. They just won’t work as well as you will want them to. Just as you wouldn’t put a baby diaper on an adult, you wouldn’t put a “Large” sized diaper on someone who needs a 4XL.

Needing bariatric equipment doesn’t mean you don’t deserve choice, dignity, and comfortable options. If you have more questions, give us a call at 855-879-2366.

If you found this article helpful, please check out our other posts on the topic:

How to Outfit Your Clinic for Safe, Effective Bariatric Care

What Every Bariatric Patient Should Know About Living at Home

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.

POSTED ON: September 23 2014
Posted by:Su-Lauren Wilson owner,CFO
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