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Understanding The Differences In Incontinence Products

A recent study found that up to 80 percent of people who experience incontinence wear the wrong products, and it’s understandable– from the absorbency level to the brands and sizing, it can be overwhelming to know what’s right for you.

While it may not seem significant to be wearing the wrong incontinence product, it can end up costing you money and causing leakage or other physical discomforts. Let this guide help you understand the difference in incontinence products so that the next time you shop for them, you’ll know exactly what you need.

Knowing Your Incontinence Level

One of the most important things to be aware of when choosing your incontinence product is your level of incontinence (leakage).

Leakage refers to the urine or fecal matter that may leak from your bladder or bowels. When you experience leakage, a high-quality incontinence product like the ones Aeroflow Urology carries should catch all leaks and keep you dry. The right product for you will depend on the level of incontinence (leakage) you’re experiencing. For example, if you leak about 1 cup of urine per day, you’d probably do best with a lighter product, such as a male guard or bladder pad. On the other hand, if you leak around 4 cups a day, you’d be better off with a disposable adult brief.

When deciding which product is right for you, use this incontinence levels guide.

  • Minimal to Light Incontinence: You may leak urine when you sneeze or cough if you have light leakage.

  • Moderate Incontinence: If you feel the sudden need to void your bladder but have trouble making it to a restroom in time and leak before getting to the toilet, you may have moderate incontinence.

  • Heavy Incontinence: If you have heavy incontinence, you may leak because you don’t feel the need to void. You may also need heavy incontinence products if you are immobile and can’t get to a restroom.

Getting the Size Right

When it comes to sizing, it’s important to note that your pants or underwear size won’t be related to your incontinence product size. The way you find your size might also be different depending on which incontinence product you are interested in using.

  • Adult Pull-Ons: Measure your height and weight for the correct sizing.

  • Adult Briefs: Measure the circumference of your waist for the correct size.

  • Bladder Control Pads: Measure the length of your undergarments and consider your level of incontinence. It’s recommended to start with a pad that can handle moderate absorbency and the average length size of about 11 inches.

  • Underpads: Take into account your level of incontinence for sizing. It’s recommended that you start with an underpad that can handle light to moderate absorbency levels and increase as needed.

Use this sizing guide to measure your height and weight to see which incontinence product sizes are suitable.

Understanding Incontinence Products 

When choosing incontinence products, understanding each type of product is crucial. For example, some products protect against light leakage, while others help you increase the absorbency and wear-time of your main incontinence product.

Disposable Adult Briefs (Adult Diapers)

Disposable briefs (adult diapers) are usually meant for individuals with moderate to heavy urinary incontinence or bowel incontinence. Adult briefs are perfect if you experience heavier levels of leakage (3.75 cups/day or more). Adult briefs offer maximum absorbency and protection, so even if you have heavy incontinence, you stay comfortable all day. Disposable briefs work for people who have functional incontinence, bowel incontinence, or overflow incontinence.

Key Features:

  • Highest level of absorbency.

  • Tab closures allow you to change without totally undressing.

  • Leak guards to prevent leakage.

  • Helpful for those with limited mobility.

  • Long-lasting dryness and anti-odor technology.

Pull-On Disposable Underwear

Pull-on disposable underwear (protective underwear) is made for moderate incontinence individuals. If you have overactive bladder (OAB), urge incontinence, or mixed incontinence, disposable underwear may be the right choice. Pull-on underwear come on and off like real underwear, and the cloth-like fabric makes it feel even more similar to underwear.

Key Features:

  • Moderate levels of absorbency,

  • Elastic waistband and leg openings for comfort.

  • Breathable material to reduce heat and humidity.

  • Great for mobile adults.

  • Comes in a unisex style and styles for women and men to look like real underwear.

  • No fasteners or tabs.

Male Guards

Male guards are a type of bladder control pad specifically designed for the male anatomy and are suitable for men with light levels of incontinence. Male guards have a high ridge in the front to trap urinary leakage as soon as it happens and an adhesive bottom for attaching to undergarments. Male guards are a discreet way of managing your incontinence.

Key Features:

  • Light levels of absorbency.

  • Attaches to undergarments.

  • Discreet carrying and wearing.

  • Designed for the male anatomy.

  • Traps leaks and odor quickly.

Bladder Control Pads

Bladder control pads are an excellent product for women experiencing light bladder incontinence. Bladder control pads are a discreet option and make it convenient to manage your leakage while engaging in everyday activities. Similar to the male guard, these pads attach to the inside of your undergarments with an adhesive bottom layer.

Key Features:

  • Specialized absorbency polymers that absorb urine.

  • Keeps you odor-free and leak-free.

  • Different levels of absorbency as well as different sizes.

  • Discreet enough to carry in a purse.

  • Easy changing in public places.

  • Designed for the female anatomy.

Booster Pads

Booster pads are meant for moderate to heavy incontinence and bowel incontinence for both men and women. Booster pads act as an extra layer of absorbency for your main incontinence product, such as an adult brief or pull-on. They can be placed inside your incontinence product to soak up anywhere from 5-27 ounces of leakage, depending on the style you have. In addition, booster pads add to the wear time of your incontinence products and are easy to change.

Key Features:

  • Extra absorbency increases the absorbency of your main incontinence product.

  • Can increase the wear-time of your adult brief or pull-on.

  • Easy to change.

  • Designed for the male and female anatomy.

  • Can be placed in different areas to target leaks.

Underpads (Chux)

Underpads (chux) are absorbent pads that can be placed anywhere in your home or car to protect furniture and bedding from soaking up leaks. For example, you can put underpads on your bed, couch, or car seat. Underpads are made with disposable, ultra-absorbent materials so you can use them and clean up messes easily. Underpads can be used for multiple levels of incontinence for both men and women.

Key Features:

  • Fabric or cloth backing allows for grip, so the underpad doesn’t move while on fabric.

  • Ultra-absorbent, disposable material for easy clean-up and single-use.

  • Protects against leakage on furniture.

  • Comes in different levels of absorbency.

  • Some come with adhesive strips to hold the underpad onto furniture.

  • Range of sizes for different needs.

  • Breathable backing to allow for less heat and humidity.

  • Suitable for someone healing from wounds, using a feeding tube, or changing ostomy bags.

How to Know Which Product is Right for You

When determining which product is a good fit for your needs, consider what level of leakage you have, what size you are, and which product will fit your lifestyle. Here are some examples.

Person 1

Incontinence level: Light incontinence with urinary leakage.

Lifestyle: Exercises frequently, is very mobile, and doesn’t like the feeling of adult briefs with tabs. Prefers incontinence products that feel like underwear.

Recommended products:

  • Adult pull-on designed to look like women’s underwear (brand name? Or link to store?)

  • Bladder control pad (brand name? Or link to store?)

Person 2

Incontinence level: Moderate to heavy incontinence with some urinary and bowel leakage.

Lifestyle: Recovering from surgery and isn’t mobile. Prefers incontinence products that are single-use and easy to clean up.

Recommended products:

  • Unisex adult brief (brand name or link to our store?)

  • Large underpad (name or link to store?)

  • Unisex booster pad (brand or link to store?)

How Aeroflow Urology May be Able to Help You

If you’re having trouble determining which incontinence product is right for you, Aeroflow Urology may be able to help.

Aeroflow Urology offers free adult and pediatric incontinence products and catheters through Medicaid and some other private insurance plans, and it’s all done through your mobile device or computer.

If you qualify, one of our Continence Care Specialists will work with you to answer any questions you may have about sizing, incontinence levels, and products. We give you a curated shopping list so you can choose which products will fit and help you manage incontinence, and the best part is that you don’t even need to leave your home!

Once you’ve chosen your products, they’ll be shipped to you every month in discreet packaging. We also send text or email reminders when it’s time to resupply so you won’t have to worry about running out of incontinence supplies.




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