With so many different disposable incontinence pads available in the marketplace choosing the best pad for the needs of you or your loved one can become onerous and confusing. Here are some tips to consider that may simplify the choices you make;

  • Does the pad hold all the urine loss?
  • Is it cost effective long term?
  • Is it easy to apply correctly?
  • Is it too bulky?
  • Will it protect my skin?
  • Will I feel confident going about my daily activities knowing all the leakage will be contained in the pad.

Much research has gone into the development of disposable urinary incontinence pads. These waterproof pads are designed to draw the urine away from the outer layer of the pad sitting next to your skin so that your skin remains dry and the pad is free of odour.

The capacity of an incontinence pad commonly refers to how much urine the pad can effectively absorb without any leakage and may be displayed on the packaging as drops or millilitres(mls). Pad sizing varies from extra small to extra-large and usually refers to waist measurement. Within a pad range the same size pad can have several capacity options, for example an extra small nappy style pad may have a small, medium and large capacity.

Within the disposable incontinence pad ranges available, there is also a variety of styles to choose from;

  • Pads with a sticky strip that goes inside your underpants
  • Underpants style products (pull ups)
  • Two piece systems- large pads without a sticky strip designed to be worn inside firm fitting pants
  • Nappy style pads (all in one products)
  • Booster pads without a sticky strip and designed to increase the capacity of a pull up or all in one product

Pads with sticky strip are designed for light –moderate urinary incontinence and their capacity ranges extensively from 25mls -700 mls

Pull up style products look similar to regular underpants and come in male and female ranges and colours. They are designed for moderate to heavy urinary incontinence. Their capacity ranges are variable.

Two-piece pad and pants systems without sticky strips are designed for moderate to heavy urinary incontinence. These pads need to be worn with firm fitting pants to hold them securely in place and these specially designed pants are available to be purchased with these pads (often known as net or stretch pants-they are able to be used more than once).

Nappy style products are more suited to less mobile people with moderate to heavy urinary incontinence.

Booster pads are not waterproof and are designed to be worn inside another continence product. The urine passes through the booster into the product below increasing the capacity of either the all in one or pull up product because it fills more slowly and may be worn for longer before it requires changing. However, booster pads are not designed to draw the urine away from the skin like waterproof incontinence pads and must be changed regularly to prevent skin excoriation and or skin breakdown.

For more information visit www.continencevictoria.org.au or call us on 1300 220 871

Written by Kerry Poole, Continence Nurse Consultant.

This article has also appeared in Independence Australia’s Health and Self Newsletter in March.