There's no way around it: Loss of bladder control is no fun. But urinary incontinence is manageable. There are dozens of incontinence products designed to help you control mild, moderate, and severe symptoms. Could one of them help you get out and active again?
Pads and Protective Garments for Urinary Incontinence
Protective pads and garments are by far the most common urinary incontinence and overactive bladder products out there, and they include a broad range of sizes, absorbencies, styles, and colors. The most common urinary incontinence products include:
- Absorbent pads. They're disposable and fit inside your underwear. Designed for women and men, incontinence pads are kept in place with adhesive strips. They trap 8 or more ounces of urine and keep it away from the skin, while also blocking odor. They can be changed throughout the day.
- Adult panties and briefs are much like everyday cloth underwear for women and men, but include a waterproof liner and built-in cloth pad that can absorb 10 or more ounces of urine. Reusable, washable, and typically available in a range of colors, adult panties and briefs come in day styles, as well as overnight styles, which are designed to contain more urine. Like absorbent pads, adult underwear for urinary incontinence is designed to be absorbent, keep moisture from your skin, and control odor.
- Adult diapers are a very common incontinence product and come in lots of styles. Some look similar to (and pull on and off like) elastic-banded underwear, but are designed to be disposable; others tape on at the sides like conventional diapers. Adult diapers come in a range of colors and absorbencies, including those for day (lighter protection) and overnight (heavier protection).
- Protective underpads are disposable or reusable flat pads with an absorbent layer on one side and a moisture barrier on the other. In sizes designed to cover mattresses, chairs, or other furniture, these incontinence products help protect furnishings against urine leaks. Some pads offer anti-bacterial and anti-fungal finishes and adhesive strips to keep the pads secure. They also come available in a range of absorbencies.
- Plastic pants fit over your regular undergarments and help protect against mild to moderate urinary incontinence leaks.
Self-Training Devices for Urinary Incontinence (Pelvic Muscle Training Devices)
Pelvic floor training devices can help enhance pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegels. Pelvic floor training devices are designed to help you strengthen and control your sphincter muscles -- the muscles you clench when you're trying to hold in urine. While you don't need external devices to perform Kegels, you may find they help enhance your workout.
There's an array of Kegel training devices on the Internet -- and they can look pretty confusing! Some devices are geared to men and women, including appliances you squeeze between your thighs. Vaginal weights, rods, and cones of various sizes are intended for women.
Because it can be hard to know at a glance which self-training devices might help your urinary incontinence -- or even how some items work -- it's a good idea to do research before buying, and to talk to your physician to narrow down which device might help you manage your urinary incontinence.