Get out and be active again with the right product to manage your urinary incontinence. There are dozens of items to help you manage mild, moderate, and even severe symptoms. Get to know the options.
Pads and Protective Garments
Protective pads and garments are by far the most common products available. They come in a broad range of sizes, absorbencies, styles, and colors. The most common ones include:
- Absorbent pads. They're disposable and designed for women and men. Adhesive strips hold them inside your underwear. They trap 8 or more ounces of urine and keep it away from your skin. They also block odor and can be changed throughout the day.
- Incontinence panties and briefs look a lot like everyday underwear for women and men. But they include a waterproof liner and built-in cloth pad that can absorb 10 or more ounces of urine. They are reusable, washable, and typically available in a range of colors. You can get day styles as well as overnight ones, which are designed to hold more urine. Like pads, this underwear is designed to be absorbent, to keep moisture from your skin, and to control odor.
- Disposable underwear comes in lots of styles. Some look similar to (and pull on and off like) elastic-banded underwear but are designed to be disposable. Others have tape on the sides so they are adjustable and can be easily removed. They come in a range of colors as well as day and overnight versions.
- Protective underpads are disposable or reusable flat pads with an absorbent layer on one side and a moisture barrier on the other. They protect mattresses, chairs, or other furniture from urine leaks. Some have antibacterial and antifungal finishes and adhesive strips to keep them in place. They also come in a range of absorbencies.
- Plastic pants fit over your regular undergarments and help protect against mild to moderate leaks.
Pelvic Muscle Training Devices
You can use these products when you do Kegel exercises, which help strengthen and control the muscles you clench when you try to hold in urine. While you don't need external devices to perform Kegels, you may find they help enhance your workout.
There are different kinds of Kegel training devices. Some are aimed at men and women, including appliances you squeeze between your thighs. Vaginal weights, rods, and cones of various sizes are intended for women.
It’s hard to tell at a glance which items might help you -- or how some of them work. So do research and talk to your doctor before you buy any of them. Your doctor can help you narrow down the choices.
Pessaries go into the vagina to support the bladder or compress the urethra. They come in an array of sizes and shapes. Your doctor will fit you, but it may take some trial and error to figure out which one works best. The pessary must be removed and cleaned with soap and water periodically. Many women can learn to do this on their own and are advised to remove it overnight once every week or two. For those women who cannot remove the device, the pessary can be monitored, cleaned, and replaced by a health care provider every three to six months.
Penile clamps which squeezes the penis to keep the urethra closed for mild to moderate leaks. This can be used only for a certain amount of time.
Male guards are small absorbent pads that fit like a sleeve over the tip of the penis to contain light moisture.
Condom catheters fit around the penis. They end in a tube that leads to a collection bag strapped to your body.
Portable toilet. If you have difficulty walking, talk to your health care clinician. You may benefit from a portable toilet that can be placed close to your bed or living area. In addition, move electrical cords, throw rugs, or furniture out of hallways and walkways so that you do not trip or fall on the way to the bathroom.
Your doctor can recommend the type of products that will help you take control.