If you have incontinence, chances are that at some point, you’ve worn an absorbent product. Even if you’ve learned to manage your bladder leaks with other treatment options, absorbent products are often a constant in the management arsenal of an incontinence sufferer. Leaks happen, and when they do it’s nice to know that you have something in place to catch them.
And, while most people turn to a disposable absorbent product or incontinence underwear, we’re here to tell you that it’s not your only option. More and more companies are developing reusable products that are not only stylish and comfortable but help reduce the strain on the environment too. Read our FAQ on reusable washable incontinence underwear to learn if this is a trend you’d like to try.
What Is Washable Incontinence Underwear?
Reusable incontinence underwear is just what it sounds like – underwear that can absorb bladder leaks, and after going through the wash, can be used again, just like normal underwear. The main difference is that reusable underwear typically has a pad built into them that is able to wick away and absorb leaks.
Who Is Reusable Washable Incontinence Underwear For?
Anyone can use reusable incontinence underwear. However, those who experience light-to-medium leaks are probably best suited for the product.
What Are The Benefits of Washable Incontinence Underwear?
There’s a lot to like about reusable incontinent underwear. Some of the main benefits are:
Cost. Yes, some brands seem a bit pricey at first. But given the cost of disposables, and the fact that you have to continue to buy them again and again, reusables are probably cheaper in the long run. And, keep in mind what you’re paying for – these aren’t just regular underwear.
Many brands have incorporated lots of features into these products – absorbent and wicking technology to keep you dry, special fabrics that help to eliminate odor and stylish designs that are hard to find with disposable products.
Reusable incontinence underwear feels more like real underwear. Many brands of reusable incontinence underwear come in many styles and cuts (even thongs!) and the materials and patterns are more like normal underwear than disposable absorbent products. Because they use softer, stretchier materials (typically natural or non-toxic materials), they usually feel a bit more comfortable than a disposable might.
They’re machine washable. The beauty of a reusable is that you can simply throw it in the laundry and wash it as you would a normal pair of underwear.
They’re not just for bladder leaks. Some reusable products are designed not just for bladder leaks: they can be used for incontinence, menstruation, or even sweat, making the decision of what to wear when a no-brainer.
They’re more eco-friendly. Worried about the environment? Same. Using reusable incontinence underwear can at least give you a little peace of mind that you’re not contributing to a landfill.
They’re more discreet than disposable products. Because they really do look like normal underwear, it’s likely many people won’t suspect you’re wearing an absorbent product.
What Are the Drawbacks Of Washable Incontinence Underwear?
While there are certainly lots of benefits to reusable underwear, there are some drawbacks:
They may not hold big leaks as well. If you are someone who leaks a large amount, throughout the day, reusables may not be for you. Many products will vary in their absorbency level by brand or even by style. But even super absorbent brands typically only hold about 8 tsps of urine at most before needing to be changed.
Changing them when out may be a hassle. It’s not impossible, of course, but, unlike using a disposable that you can just throw in the garbage can at work, if you do experience a heavy leak that requires a change, it may be more complicated to find a place to stash your used undies until you get home.
You have to clean them. One of the biggest obstacles to using a reusable product is that you actually have to clean it. And while you might feel like this is a hassle or even a little gross, it’s really not as big of a deal as you’re thinking, especially if your leaks are on the lighter side. Most products don’t really require any special treatment and you can simply toss them into the wash with the rest of your clothing. Easy.
Over time their effectiveness may wane. Just as normal underwear doesn’t last forever, reusable absorbent underwear can experience general wear with use and regular washing. Over time you may find that you have to replace them. Proper care can help them last longer so be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when washing.
There aren’t quite as many options available for men. While several brands are making strides in this area, some brands have more women’s styles than men.
Where Can I Find Reusable Incontinence Underwear?
There are lots of reusable products available these days – each with different styles and fits. Some of the popular brands include (* indicates styles for both men and women):
Just as not every disposable product (or even a normal pair of underwear) fits people the same, not all brands will work well for everyone. The good news is that many of the companies listed above have online or phone support to help you choose the product that’s best for you.
So, will you give reusable absorbent underwear a try? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!