Learn About Female Products For Incontinence | NAFC
Learn about the products created specifically for women that can help manage your incontinence issues, including absorbents and external devices.
As incontinence issues become better known, many innovative and improved products have become widely available. See which ones might make sense to best manage your condition so you can get out of the house and on with your life.
- Liners. Generally used for light to moderate incontinence, these one-size-fits-all items are held in place by absorbent briefs or protective underwear.
- Pads. Heavy incontinence. Designed to provide comfort, fit, and discretion, pads are available in a variety of thicknesses and absorbency levels. Can be worn with regular underwear or reusable briefs.
- 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. For moderate to heavy incontinence. This one-piece garment is designed with elastic at the waist and legs for a close fit and prevention of leakage. For day and night use.
- Fitted Brief without Elastic Legs. For moderate to heavy incontinence. Most have a cloth-like outer cover that is gentle on the skin.
- Protective Underwear. For moderate to heavy incontinence. Convenience is the name of the game with this one-piece, underwear-like design that pulls up and down easily. Made with cloth-like material and features soft elastics.
- 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. Often made of 100% cotton with multiple layers in the crotch for absorption. They are particularly well suited for those who suffer from mild to moderate loss of urine.
In addition to absorbent products, female external urinary devices may be an option to manage bladder control problems.
- Urethral Inserts. These inserts are designed to prevent urine leakage in women. They consist of a narrow silicone tube entirely encased in a soft, thin, silicone sleeve. A disposable applicator is used for insertion.
- Female Urinals. Urinals are useful for those who have restricted mobility including post-stroke limitations. Urinals of various designs exist and are sold primarily through home health stores and mail order catalogs.
- Pessaries. Pessaries come in various shapes and sizes and are placed in a woman's vagina to support the bladder and/or to compress the urethra. Pessaries are selected and fitted by gynecologists and some nurse specialists and are available by prescription only. Often they are changed and cleaned by a health provider, but most women learn how to do this themselves. Sometimes several pessary shapes may need to be tried before the one that is most comfortable and most effective is found. Even the most experienced healthcare provider takes a trial and error approach to fitting and sizing a pessary.