What Is Incontinence?
If you have never needed to look for incontinence products before the unfamiliar terminology and all the different variants of products can seem a little overwhelming and may seem like trial and error until you find the perfect fit for you.
Incontinence products are designed to absorb wetness and protect the skin. As well as this, they are there to help you relax at work, while you’re out or while you sleep without worrying about leaking onto furniture, bed sheets or clothing.
We hope that this article will make it just that little bit easier for you to decide what product suits you best.
Urinary incontinence is linked to the unintentional leakage of urine, it is a common problem and thought to affect between 3 and 6 million people in the UK.
There are several types of incontinence including:
When urine leaks when you put pressure onto your bladder, this could be through coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercising or lifting something heavy.
You may have a sudden, intense urge to pee followed by the leakage of urine.
Otherwise known as chronic urinary retention, this is when you are unable to fully empty your bladder, which can cause frequent leakage.
This is when your bladder cannot store any urine at all, which causes you to pass urine constantly or have frequent leakages.
Bowel incontinence or faecal incontinence is when you struggle to control your bowels and is thought to affect around 1 in 10 people in the UK.
There are many different aids to help with both urinary and bowel incontinence, however, if your incontinence is severe you may wish to get in touch with your GP.
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Pads are a popular choice for people living with light incontinence issues, they are made from an absorbent material which means they soak up leaks that may occur. They tend to have an adhesive strip to hold the pad securely in your underwear. Pads can be used for both men and women. They come in a variety of sizes, from liners and thinner discreet pads to thicker, larger pads and tend to be a more cost-effective option.
Pads are not suitable for heavy bowel incontinence. They are also single-use and disposable meaning new packs will have to be bought frequently depending on how often they are needed.
Pull Ons are a disposable incontinence solution designed to be discreet pants that feel like underwear. The highly absorbent core protects against leakage and odour leaving you feeling fully protected and secure. Their elasticated waistband allows for a snug fit around your body and are available in many different waist sizes and absorbency levels to best suit your body and your needs. You are protected from both urinary and bowel incontinence with a pull on meaning no matter how active your lifestyle is you can continue as normal. Suitable for men and women. As they can be used in place of your underwear, pull ons are perfect for nighttime as they won’t move around and stay in place.
Due to the fact that a pull on has to be pulled up and down, they may not be suitable for someone who has limited mobility. They also tend to be more expensive than a pad and still need to be replaced as required.
These are shield-shaped inserts designed for men who have light to moderate bladder leakage. Designed for the male anatomy, the insert is thin and discreet. Shields are anatomically shaped for a comfortable fit and improved leakage protection. Many shields have fixation tape which allows the shields to be worn with close-fitting underwear to help reduce the risk of leakage.
Shields are not designed for heavy incontinence so if you have heavy incontinence a shield may not be the best option for you. As shields have been designed for the male anatomy, they are not suitable for females.
Slips are all in one product similar to pull ons, but instead of being elasticated, they have adjustable tabs that fasten and come apart so you can feel confident, secure and protected in just 4 adjustable tabs. These incontinence products are for both men and women with little or no bladder/bowel control. Similar to Pull ons, slips are great for nighttime bedwetting and incontinence. These all in ones have been designed to accommodate to heavy urinary and faecal incontinence and are available in different sizes to fit snuggly on your body reducing the risk of leaks.
If you have a quite active lifestyle, all in ones may not be convenient or practical for you as they require to be adjusted by the tabs. If you have light incontinence then pads may be the better option for you.
Stretch pants are elasticated fixation pants with short legs. The highly elastic material provides comfort and close fit to secure your pad in place. The short leg improves comfort and a better fit and leakage protection. This product is washable and reusable so you don’t have to throw them away after one use or wash and work great for both men and women.
If you have heavier incontinence then stretch pants may not be the right solution as they only allow to keep your incontinence pad in place. If you have heavier urinary incontinence or bowel incontinence then a all in one slip or a pull ons may suit you best.
A faecal pad is an economically shaped body pad designed for bowel incontinence only. These pads tend to have an anatomically shaped core for a closer more comfortable fit.
One of these pads is intended to be used for only faecal incontinence which means if you suffer from both urinary and faecal incontinence this product wouldn’t work for you. The pad must be changed immediately once soiled for good hygiene so may need to be bought often dependent on how often you would use it.
Bed and chair pads are affordable ways of keeping your mattress clean from accidental spillages or leaks. Washable bed pads can come in a range of sizes to suit all bed sizes so you will be sure to find a cover that works for you. They can either be washable or disposable meaning you have the option to reuse them or throw them away after they have been used.
Some bed pads are plastic lined and may be uncomfortable to sleep the night on. The plastic may feel odd or make a noise if you shuffle or move throughout the night. Some sheets may not provide enough protection for those with heavier incontinence, if you have heavier incontinence it is best to use pull ons, slip all in ones or pads combined with a bed pad for maximum protection.
Bed Pans + Portable Urinals
If you find yourself fighting with the urge to use the toilet a lot, but don’t feel confident you will make it every time a bed pad or a portable urinal might just be the perfect solution. These aids are a great option for people with incontinence issues, especially for travelling long distances and are conveniently designed to fit the shape of the user making it more secure. Bedpans are ideal for users who may be confined to their bed and are easy to clean and reuse.
These incontinence products have to be stored and cleaned properly, although they are genuinely secure, some leaks may occur so storing them properly can prevent them from accidentally being knocked or spilled.
How Often Should You Change Your Incontinence Product?
Some incontinence products have wetness indicators that show when the product needs changing, when this shows up on the product this means it’s full and requires changing. Products such as all in one slip and pull ons will have this feature. However other products such a pad may not be as easy to monitor when it needs changing, it is recommended that you change the product every 3-4 hours or 4-6 times a day, when your product is damp it should be changed to avoid skin irritation. If you are prone to bowel movements your product should be changed as soon as it has happened. During the night it may be a good idea to wear a higher level of absorbency to avoid sleep disturbance.
Light, Moderate Or Heavy Incontinence?
Light incontinence tends to occur when you cough, sneeze, laugh or exercise. You may experience a few drops or dribbling of urine leaking and can be confined to your underwear but may spread as far as to outer clothing. Pads are great products to combat light levels of incontinence.
Moderate incontinence is described as losing urine from your bladder gradually throughout the day. You may or may not have some control over this and tends to spread beyond your underwear onto your outer clothing. To help with moderate incontinence pull ons are a great option
Heavy incontinence is when you have little or no control over your bladder and bowels which can empty gradually or all at once, if you deal with heavy incontinence you probably need a high level of protection especially at night. Products for this type of incontinence are all-in-one slips.
We hope that this guide has provided you with additional information to help you decide what product is best for you you can order incontinence products from the comfort of your own home and get them delivered directly to your house or if you would like any further information, feel free to visit us instore and talk to an expert