Choosing Incontinence Products for Your Bladder Problems

There are currently millions of people who use an adult brief, commonly known as an adult diaper, as a daily necessity. Many of these users suffer from urinary or bowel incontinence, which is the inability to control one’s bladder or bowel movements. When we think of adult diapers, we typically imagine a more elderly adult; however, adult diaper users can be as young as 20, or even younger.

If this is your first time choosing incontinence products, it can be overwhelming. Here are a few features to look for when choosing the right incontinence product:



Due to the difference in gender anatomy, incontinence brands such as Tena and Depend are offering gender-specific incontinence products designed specifically for men and women. A gender-specific product can help provide a better fit and more comfort for your incontinence needs.


Note that one size does NOT fit all when it comes to incontinence supplies. Measure your waist, hips, and thighs before selecting a product. Choosing an adult diaper or incontinence pad that is too small or too large can result in improper protection and leakage. What good is an incontinence product if it fails to protect you from wetting yourself? Size plays a role in comfort level, too.


There are many types of incontinence products to choose from. The three most common ones are: incontinence pads and male guards; pull on underwear or protective underwear; and adult diapers or adult briefs.

Incontinence pads and guards for men are worn on your own underwear and are best for light incontinence. Women who experience stress incontinence after pregnancy may choose to wear Poise pads for their light bladder leakage, and men who experience dribbling after prostate surgery may only need male guards.

Pull on underwear look and feel just like regular underwear. You even pull them up and down like regular underwear, so it helps maintain your dignity. This style is best for those who are still mobile enough to change themselves. Some incontinence underwear, however, have tear away sides that caregivers can use for easy changing.

Lastly, adult diapers offer the most absorbency of all types of incontinence products. They feature refastenable tabs that can be adjusted and easily removed. Adult diapers are good for those with caregivers and for public outings as they can be easily removed without having to take off any clothing.

Absorbency level

The degree of incontinence is important when choosing the right diaper. If you lose a few drops or experience dribbling, pads or male guards may be sufficient enough to get you through the day. For those with heavy incontinence or frequent urination, consider adult briefs or protective underwear. Incontinence products made specifically for nighttime incontinence, such as Abena diapers, provide the most absorbency protection.


This might be one of the most important features when looking for incontinence supplies. You might want to consider a product with breathable cloth-like material or an elastic waistband. Choosing an incontinence product is a matter of trial-and-error – it’s all based on personal preference and individual needs. So you might have to try out a few different styles and brands before you find the right product for you.

Fecal incontinent?

Some people are urinary incontinent while some experience fecal incontinence. Others experience both types. For those with bowel incontinence, it’s best to choose a protective undergarment with standing cuff guards or side barriers for maximum containment and protection against leakage.

Washable vs. disposable

Depending on your severity of incontinence and the number of products used daily, you may want to consider disposable or reusable products. Washable underwear is great for the environment and could save you more money, while disposable briefs are great for those on-the-go. Also, note that disposable briefs with moisture-wicking capabilities may protect the skin better than washable undergarments.

Amount of changes

How often you change your product depends on the severity of your bladder control problems and the absorbency level of the product you’re using. If you know that you won’t be able to change for a while (maybe because you’re on a long plane ride), then consider wearing a more absorbent product. Booster pads, which are used with the product you’re already wearing, increase the fluid capacity of any disposable brief or undergarment.


Products for incontinence can get costly, but this doesn’t mean you should settle for the cheapest adult diaper. This product probably won’t give you effective bladder protection and will most likely fail on you. Instead, look for quality brands such as Tena, Attends, and Tranquility. Opt to shop from online medical suppliers; they usually offer discount savings, free shipping deals, and bulk purchases.

Wetness indicator

Diapers with a wetness indicator allow the wearer or caregiver to know when the product is soiled and needs to be changed. Since it’s best to change a soiled product as soon as possible to prevent painful bedsores and skin infections, this feature might be something to look for – especially if you’re caring for a wheelchair user or a bedridden individual.

Odor control

Don’t get stuck with a smelly diaper – look for an incontinence product with odor control. There are plenty of adult briefs and protective underwear that offer complete odor control against urinary incontinence and stool incontinence. Many products also feature polymer fibers that quickly absorb urine, while keeping odors at bay.

If you’re still confused on which incontinence product is best for you, consider purchasing sample packs. Many home delivery companies offer adult diapers, guards for men, and pull on underwear sample packs in various sizes and absorbencies. You should also note that you may need more than one type of incontinence product depending on your daily activities. You might even need a different diaper for day and another one for nighttime incontinence.

Lastly, before you decide on a product on your own, remember to talk to your doctor about your bladder problems in case the issue is due to a larger, underlying cause that is damaging to your body. Who knows, you might not even need to wear an adult diaper!

Nancy Pham

Nancy Pham is a passionate health blogger who focuses on urinary incontinence issues. She is a blogger at National Incontinence, a major supplier of incontinence products.

One thought on “Choosing Incontinence Products for Your Bladder Problems

  • January 7, 2013 at 11:43 am

    Try anion pads, same technogy as air-renu to control cat urine odors.


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