In December 2010, the National Association For Continence (NAFC) formed a Council of experts with the objective of establishing national, independent quality performance standards for disposable adult absorbent products. In July 2012, the council released a draft of recommendations for publicly vetting and commentary for a 60-day period ending early September 2012. The full recommendations were published in September 2013's Ostomy Wound Management journal. For the detailed descriptions of recommended test methodologies, please view the appendices. An abstract and poster of the recommendations were both accepted into the program at the International Continence Society (ICS) meeting held in Barcelona, Spain August 26th-30th, 2013.
Pads and other adult absorbent products can be helpful in situations when loss of urine and bowel control is unpredictable. Pads, briefs, and absorbent underwear should be chosen for absorbency, comfort, and fit. Look for absorbents that wick moisture away from the body and those that have cloth-like outer layers for the quietest product available. Specifically select products designed for urinary incontinence because they have super absorbent polymers that absorb urine and expand by as much as 20 times for maximum absorbency. Fit is more important that absorbency, so look for a size that accommodates your body type. Otherwise, there is waste, misfit, and potential leakage. There is a wide range of new closure designs, such as re-closeable tapes and hook-and-loop fasteners, to insure flexibility and economic practicality, as well as fit. Many medical suppliers give out samples at no cost so that you may find what works best for you.
Liners—held in place by absorbent briefs or protective underwear. Available with or without adhesive strips to hold insert in place. Soft & discreet, regular & extra coverage, with a stay dry liner to help protect skin, individually wrapped. One size fits all. Generally used for light to moderate incontinence.
Pads—designed to provide comfort, fit, and discretion. Can be worn with regular underwear or reusable briefs. Available with or without adhesive strips to hold insert in place. Available in several thicknesses and absorbency levels, but generally used for light to moderate leakage. May have soft cloth-like outer cover for gentleness against skin. Pads designed for heavy incontinence are to be worn with specialty designed mesh or knit pants.
Male Drip Collector—shield slips over and around penis to absorb small amounts of urine. Waterproof backing. Designed for use with stretch mesh brief or close-fitting underwear. Used for light to moderate incontinence.
Male Guard—designed especially for men to provide comfort, fit, and discretion, with an elasticized pouch providing a cup-like fit for protection and comfort. Held in place by adhesive strip and worn with close-fitting underwear. May have foam backing for extra protection. Thin countour shape & special cup design ensure a comfortable, natural fit. For light to moderate incontinence.
Collector Undergarment--The term "undergarment" originally referred to an absorbent product held in place by reusable, sometimes washable straps. The straps are usually held in place with buttons, snaps, or Velcro.
Fitted Brief with Elastic Legs--One-piece garment with elastic at the waist and legs for a close fit and prevention of leakage. Self-adhesive refastenable tape tabs at each hip and an absorbent core to keep you dry. For moderate to heavy incontinence. Most have a cloth-like outer cover that is gentle on the skin; however, a few have plastic outer covers. For use day & night.
Fitted Brief without Elastic Legs--Elastic at the waist for a close fit. Self-adhesive refastenable tape tabs at each hip and an absorbent core to keep you dry. For moderate to heavy incontinence. Most have a cloth-like outer cover that is gentle on the skin; however, a few have plastic outer covers.
Protective Underwear--Pull-on, one-piece, underwear-like design that pulls up and down easily; or for added convenience, some designs come with tear away sides. Manufactured with cloth-like material and features soft elastics. May include odor controlling additives. For moderate to heavy incontinence with different absorbency levels. For use day & night.
Pad and Pants System--Some products combine a disposable pad with washable, reusable underwear made of cotton or a cotton/polyester blend. For moderate to heavy incontinence. The pads are designed to be worn only with specialty mesh or knit pants.
Liner--Absorbent washable cloth liner or pad. Must be held in place by protective pants. Some may have leak resistant backing.
Stretch Mesh Brief--Highly elastic, soft, form-fitting, cool, comfortable mesh stretch pants to hold any size liner or pad in place. The pant is not waterproof, so it is recommended that the reusable liner or pad have leak resistant backing or that a disposable absorbent liner or pad be inserted. Washable and reusable.
Contoured Flat Cloth--Washable, reusable cloth sized for adults held in place by tabs, elastic, snaps, or Velcro. May have elastic at leg openings to help prevent leakage.
Leak Resistant Pants--Pant of leak resistant material designed for extra protection for those with heavy to total incontinence who wear a full brief or undergarment for absorption. Usually made of cotton, nylon, vinyl, or polyester. Elastic legs for close-fit. Non-breathable fabrics are not recommended to be worn for an extended length of time because of the risk of skin irritation.
Female-Style Panties--Fitted panty tailored especially for women. May be made of 100% cotton with multiple layers in the crotch for absorption. Feminine in styling, they are particularly well suited for those who suffer from mild to moderate loss of urine.
Men’s Protective Support--Resembles jockstrap (athletic supporter) with waterproof cup. Used with disposable or reusable cup inserts.
Men’s Fitted Brief--Tailored with a fly front for men. Some have a zipper. Some have a leak protective panel. Used with disposable or reusable pads or liners.
Men’s Boxer-Style Shorts--Boxer style shorts with absorbent fabric in the crotch. Fully washable.