Adult diapers; Disposable urinary collection devices
A wide variety of products are available for managing the leakage of urine associated with urinary incontinence. Your choice of a specific product depends on several factors, including the amount of urine loss, the pattern of urine loss, ease of use, cost, comfort, odor control ability, and durability.
INSERTS AND PADS
Some men and women try to use sanitary napkins or mini pads to manage urine leakage. However, these products do not handle urine very well. Disposable inserts are available that resemble a sanitary napkin or mini pad, but they are much more absorbent and have a waterproof backing. These inserts are meant to be worn inside your underwear. Some companies make reusable, washable cloth liners or pads that are held in place by waterproof pants.
ADULT DIAPERS AND UNDERWEAR
People who leak large amounts of urine may need to use adult diapers to contain the urine. Adult diapers are available in both disposable and reusable forms. The disposable diaper should fit snugly. They are usually available in small, medium, large and extra large sizes. Some of these diapers have elastic leg gathers to improve the fit and prevent urine leakage.
Reusable incontinence undergarments may help save money. These resemble underpants with a waterproof crotch. They are designed to hold a reusable panty liner in place.
There is also a newer line of reusable incontinence undergarments that resemble normal underwear, but have the absorbency of disposable diapers. These undergarments require no additional pads, but instead have a unique crotch design that quickly wicks moisture away from the skin. They are available in a variety of leakage control levels.
Other reusable incontinence products include washable, adult cloth diapers or contoured cloth diapers with a plastic cover. Additionally, some people wear waterproof outer pants made of nylon, vinyl or rubber over their undergarments as an additional level of protection.
PRODUCTS FOR MEN
Men who have problems with a constant leakage of small amounts of urine may find that a drip collector may be sufficient. A drip collector is a small pocket of absorbent padding with a waterproof back side. The drip collector is worn over the penis and is held in place by close fitting underwear.
Men can also use a condom catheter device. This product is placed over the penis similar to a condom. It has a tube on the end and connects with a collection bag tied to the leg. This device can handle small or large volumes of urine with little odor, minimal skin irritation, and easy use.
BED AND CHAIR PROTECTION
Underpads are flat absorbent pads used to protect bed linen and chairs. These underpads, sometimes called Chux, are made of absorbent material with a waterproof backing. They may be disposable or reusable. Some new products have the ability to wick the moisture away from the surface, thus protecting the person’s skin from breakdown. Underpads are available from a medical supply company or some larger department stores.
Some people create their own reusable underpads from vinyl table cloths with flannel backing, or shower curtain liners covered with a flannel sheet. Others place a rubber pad between layers of bed linen.
KEEP YOUR SKIN DRY
The most important consideration for any product is to contain the urine while protecting your skin from breakdown. A saturated pad should not remain in contact with the skin for extended periods of time. The skin should be thoroughly cleansed and dried, and all saturated clothing and linen should be removed.
WHERE TO BUY THEM
Most of these products are available at your local drug store, supermarket, or medical supply store. An urology nurse or enterostomal therapy nurse can provide you with a list of incontinence care products.
Also, the National Association for Continence may be able to help you locate products. Call toll-free at 1-800-BLADDER or visit the website at http://www.nafc.org.
by Janet G. Derge, M.D.