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Incontinence product buying guide

Compare pads, liners and absorbent underwear.

Updated

An estimated 13 million Americans struggle with incontinence each year, with many ignoring their symptoms. The right incontinence products can offer you the confidence to comfortably go about your daily life. Compare the wide range of incontinence products available to find the right one for your needs.

Compare some of the best incontinence products

Name Avg. price
(USD)
Type Pack size Absorbency level claim Purchase
Poise Incontinence Pads $35.86 Pads 90 6/6 Buy now
Depend Incontinence Guards for Men $22.78 Pads 104 Maximum Buy now
Tena Incontinence Liners for Women $18.89 Liners 176 1/6 Buy now
Prevail Extra Absorbency Incontinence Underwear $36.88 Underwear 56 Extra Buy now
RMS Ultra Soft 4-Layer Washable Incontinence Bed Underpads $19.97 Bed pads 3 4 layers of protection Buy now
Attends Advanced Briefs $42.41 Diapers 96 2/4 Buy now
Data obtained April 2019. Prices are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

What are incontinence products?

Incontinence products can help you manage accidental or involuntary bladder or bowel problems. They can protect your clothing, furniture or bedding and come in numerous forms, including liners, pads, underwear and diapers.

Incontinence product costs

Individual incontinence products are relatively cheap — around 10 cents to $3 per product — but the costs add up quickly if you wear multiple products per day for an extended period of time. Discounted and subsidized products may be available, and some incontinence products are covered by insurance. Medicaid covers incontinence products in most states, but check with your state Medicaid office to make sure.

What types are available?

The right type of incontinence product will often depend on comfort and how much absorption is required. Some products are for short-term use to help people recovering from medical procedures, while others are for long-term use.

There are three main types of wearable incontinence products:

  • Pads. Pads are available in disposable and reusable styles and come in a large range of sizes. Larger pads tend to be more absorbent, but need to fit snugly in order to avoid leakage. While disposable pads offer convenience, they can be expensive if used often over a long period of time.
  • Liners. Liners are best suited to those with a light flow or leakage. The main benefit of wearing liners is that they tend to be discreet and thin and are not visible under clothing.
  • Undergarments. These can come in the form of adult diapers, underwear or underpants. Undergarments are geared toward heavy leakage and can be disposable or washable. They’re also ideal for sleeping when bladder control is often reduced.

How to compare incontinence products

The right incontinence product will depend on how much absorption is needed, as well as your individual preferences and needs. When comparing incontinence products, consider the following:

  • Size and fit. The fit is essential. If it’s too small, your garment might ride up and leave cracks for leakage. If it’s too big and baggy, it may not create a tight seal. Sizes like “small”, “medium” or “large” are not consistent across different brands, so make sure you read the packaging for specific measurements. You may have to try a few brands to find the perfect product for you.
  • Absorbency. Products with greater absorbency tend to cost more. If you know you need maximum absorption, look for a brand’s most absorbent product. Brands typically have their own systems of defining leakage rates and flows, making it hard to compare products across brands. It may be a case of trial and error, but you can start by reading customer reviews and listening to the advice of medical practitioners.
  • Odor control. Typically, products with greater absorbency offer more odor control. Some manufacturers claim to negate smells by drying out leakages, balancing pH measurements or adding fragrance. Note that products with added fragrance could cause irritation if you have sensitive skin.
  • Appearance. This often comes down to thickness. The thicker a product is, the less discreet it tends to feel. But thicker products offer more absorbency. You may have to try a few brands before you find the right balance.

Additional factors to think about:

Non-wearable incontinence products to use at home

Incontinence can be an around-the-clock issue. There are several non-wearable products that can help combat incontinence during times of inactivity.

Non-wearable incontinence products include the following:

  • Bed pads. You can use pads just about anywhere, including on chairs, couches, beds or the floor. They’re absorbent mats that come in a variety of sizes and you can place them in convenient locations around the home.
  • Mattress cover. Mattress covers wrap around your entire mattress and are typically waterproof, hypoallergenic and odor-resistant.
  • Bedpans. Bedpans are typically for people who are immobile or bedridden and are often used in hospitals or care homes.

3 tips for using incontinence products

  • See a doctor. If you have continence issues, discuss it with your doctor. He or she can provide you with advice regarding the suitability of different incontinence products and may be able to give you some free sample products.
  • Try new products at home. It can be hard to tell if a product will work for you or if it’s the right size until you try it. If you’re concerned about leaking, try the product at home first.
  • Combine wearable and non-wearable products. If you don’t like wearing wearable products all the time, consider using a mix of protective pads on furniture at home and wearables when you leave the house.

Bottom line

There are a variety of incontinence products available, so it can take some trial and error to find the best fit for you and your specific needs.

How did we choose these products?

We compared some of the most popular products currently available, factoring in our own online research and third-party product reviews to create our list of products.

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