Finding Incontinence Wear which suits us

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Finding Incontinence Wear which suits us

Post by Barry » 9 months ago

Many people are reticent to talk about incontinence. Finding the best kind of protection is a big concern. Brand names are often used instead of generic names; even generic names are not always precisely used with the same meaning. I am often left confused about what kind of incontinence wear is being referred to.
The sex of the intended user is not always specified on the packet. Maybe there is no need: perhaps it should be left to the user to choose whether they feel it would be suitable for them.
There are several types of incontinence with different amounts and regimes of leakage (Urinary incontinence - NHS (; Bowel incontinence - NHS ( which partly accounts for the variety of protection. A good way to start the search for suitable protection is the Internet. Typing 'How to choose incontinence wear' into your search engine will reveal much useful advice but it will be as well to remember that most of it is posted by firms who sell incontinence products. A click on incontinence pants - Google Search or incontinence knickers - Google Search reveals some of the enormous variety. This can be followed by choosing a few of what look the closest to your needs; then a click on these sites to follow through with your requirements - size, level of absorption, appearance, cost ....

There is some imprecision in defining what is incontinence. Long before an accident in 2013 made me doubly incontinent, I wore paper towels in my underwear to soak up any dribbles. I did not think of myself as being incontinent. How much dribbling makes someone incontinent? How often must a considerable accident have to occur for someone to be incontinent?
Many kinds of normal underwear, both male and female, have a double layer or gusset where there is likely to be a small amount of leakage.
For those who are more heavily incontinent, protective wear is often thought of as being in two groups: pull-ups and diapers. Pull-ups are those which are held in place by a continuous waistband like normal underwear; diapers are those which open at the waist. Each of these two main groups have many varieties. Some of those with a continuous waistband are sometimes referred to as 'diapers'. Perhaps whether they open at the waist or pull up is not important - but it does make some difference to how they are put on and changed and to their appearance: pull-ups are perhaps closer in appearance to normal underwear, a significant consideration to some users. It is also related to their capacity and level of protection: low capacity pants are usually pull-ups whereas high capacities c
an be accommodated by either pull-ups or diapers.

There are many kinds of adapted pants and knickers on the market for light incontinence. There are many brands of washable or disposable pants and knickers adapted to take pads or with absorbent areas. Some are intended to be single-sex. The pads when sold separately can be single- or unisex. Fixation pants and knickers are non-absorbent; it is the incontinence pad that they 'fix' (hold in place) that is absorbent. Many are unisex - no front exit. The manufacturers often just refer to them by their brand name chosen to give a hint of what they are.
They are more stretchy than is usual for ordinary underwear and so take a pad more readily. The pad can be unisex or female according to the length at the front. Ladies who have fairly heavy incontinence might prefer a longer front as for unisex pads.
Most kinds of pants or knickers for light incontinence are pull-ups but some can be used for much heavier leakages.
Whether the pad is fixed to the pants, such as in a pocket, or just covered by them might be significant for those who have an active lifestyle. Some fixation pants allow the pad to be moved a little in them.
My own choices are unisex fixation knickers. When choosing, the thoughts going through my mind are protection of my outer clothes, arousal and appearance. In 2013 I had an accident resulting in spinal injury at the base of my neck with paralysis from there down, spasticity (muscle contractions and spasms) and double incontinence. Both my anus and my urethra have been left closed except with manual intervention: I rarely pass urine via the usual route (I have a suprapubic catheter); nurses visit on alternate days to give me a bowel evacuation. Sometimes I do have faecal leakage such as when I have a stomach upset: my pad is an insurance against such leakage. My knickers, (Abena Abri Fix large ref:9251 or Allanda iD Expert Ultra Large ref: 5400300250) are made of lightweight lycra netting. I wear an Abri San Premium 5 pad, big enough to extend from an inch or so below my navel to the top of my bum crevice; capacity 1,200 ml. (Other pads with larger capacities are available). Their stretchiness makes them suitable for urinating by the 'over the top' or the sitting down position. I find that briefs such as these tend to be tight around my groin, the boundary between the top of my leg and my pubic triangle and cheeks, so I buy a size larger than my waist measurement indicates (I am about 37-33-39). After being given some by a lady friend, I have been buying cuff leg knickers (Abri Fix pants super Large ref: 90693). These reduce the issue of tightness. Like the nets, they are made of polyester and elastane but the thicker material makes the pad hardly visible.
Some kinds of incontinence wear consist of a waistband to which a pad with adhesive patches fixes to it. I am unsure whether these are pull-ups or diapers or neither; they are just pads with a means of holding them in place but not covering them. I was issued with some on a recent hospital stay: on returning home I got rid of them as soon as possible.

These open out flat. A large absorbent pad to covers the area likely to be affected by urine or faeces. Usually they have plastic sides with one or two adhesive tabs, or in some kinds of diaper, 3 or 4 studs on each side to hold them securely around the body between the groin and the waist. Diapers can be bulky: some users would feel that they would not like to wear close-fitting trousers or other outer wear which would reveal the outline. They can also make a crinkling sound as the wearer moves.
Cloth diapers (USA)/nappies (UK) are made of square, absorbent, washable material held in place by safety pins or something more modern. There are many brands of cloth diapers/nappies shaped like plastic ones with fastening studs at each side. Occasionally they are referred to as 'napkins' but in the UK, this is more usual for smaller squares of lighter material used at the dinner table to clear up stray bits of food from around the mouth or fingers or to prevent the soiling of clothes - similar in purpose to nappies but at the other end of the alimentary canal. In the UK, 'nappies' usually refer to babies: some adults would be offended if their incontinence wear were referred to in this way.
Pants made of plastic, rubber or other waterproof material can be worn over any of these types of incontinence wear for extra protection.
Diapers, pull-ups, fixation pants, nets or knickers with many brand names are really all variations of ways to hold a pad of absorbent material in place and to be able to get access to it as needed. The differences between the variety of incontinence wear amount to a few features: amount of absorbency; whether they open with tapes or studs (diapers), usually at the sides or whether they are sufficiently stretchy so that no opening is needed (pull-ups or fixation pants); material used: waterproof (usually plastic or rubber) or textile; washable or disposable. This is likely to affect cost. My washable fixation pants cost very little. I use only about six per year. The last pack I bought cost £6 for 25. I use one disposable pad per day costing around 30-35p.
Are Washable Incontinence Knickers Suitable for You?
Clothes washing and incontinence | Mumsnet

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