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    Incontinence & Overactive Bladder Health Center

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    Bladder Control Products for Urinary Incontinence

    Choosing Your Product Style continued...

    Disposable protection is the most costly, but it can be the most sanitary and the easiest to use, especially when you're not at home. When at home, many people use washable and reusable pads, liners, and garments. They’re less expensive, and the garments feel more like typical underwear.

    Whatever you wear, you’ll need to maintain a schedule for changing it based on your urinary habits. You don't have to change products as soon as you leak. But you should change them if your skin feels wet.

    Urinary Incontinence and Odor Control

    Most incontinence pads, liners, and disposable underwear feature some type of odor control. Often, the materials are treated with a natural odor-absorbing compound such as baking soda. Sometimes, though, manufacturers add fragrance to the pad, liner, or garment. Some people find this pleasant, but for others it causes skin irritation. If you have sensitive skin, odor control compounds may cause you problems. If so, look for products that are fragrance-free and contain no chemicals for odor control.

    If you accidentally leak urine onto clothing or furniture, there are several products -- sprays and special detergents -- that remove urine stains and odors. Most are sold in pharmacies. Some can be found in mail order health catalogs or online.

    Barrier Devices for Urinary Incontinence

    Some devices control the flow of urine.

    Women can choose devices that go inside the vagina, like tampons or vaginal sponges. They provide temporary control by putting pressure on the tissues of the bladder. This helps keep urine from escaping and is particularly good for stress incontinence, where exercise, laughing, and sneezing causes urine to leak.

    For 24-hour protection, many women find a pessary helpful. This is a plastic device that's inserted into the vagina. It increases pressure on the urethra muscles and adds support to the pelvic region. These devices are fitted to your pelvis size, so you’ll need to visit your doctor. You can remove them for cleaning. They should be replaced each year -- and that means another trip to the doctor. Ask your doctor if a pessary is a good option for you. In some cases they can make urinary incontinence worse.

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