How to Choose the Right Incontinence Products

Incontinence affects over 5 million Australians and can be confusing and difficult to manage for the individual sufferers as well as families and carers. There are a wide range of incontinence products and incontinence aids available so discovering which ones suit your individual needs best is key to effectively managing the condition.

Types of Incontinence Aids  

The amount or degree of involuntary urine loss that occurs in a sufferer of incontinence is an important factor when choosing continence aids. For instance, a liner or pad will usually be sufficient for light incontinence, whereas moderate to heavy urine loss will require a pull up pant (also known as a brief or slip).

Different incontinence products are specifically designed to manage particular types of incontinence so understanding which products will work best for what type is crucial.

Liners and Pads

Liners and pads are a popular form of continence aids and come in a wide range of sizes, styles, and absorbency levels. All these factors work together to minimise the risk of leakage, odours and maximise user comfort.

They can also come in either disposable form (single use) or reusable (washable) and are good continence aids to manage the different forms of urinary incontinence (such as stress incontinence, urge incontinence or drip incontinence.)  

Pull Up Pants

These continence aids are specifically designed to help manage moderate to heavy incontinence or double incontinence (the simultaneous loss of urine and faeces). The design of the pull up pant incontinence aid is ideal for preventing leakage due to the high barriers and elastic threads that provide a better fit for the wearer.

Pull up pants (also known as briefs or slips) will usually feature an anatomical design for individual comfort, as well as incorporate extra padding to prevent any strong odours from leaking. They are a discreet option that can be comfortably worn underneath clothing.

For those who may not be able to change themselves or require assistance from a home carer, there are also ranges of pull up pants that feature panels on either side to make changing them easier.

Different Absorbency Levels

Once you identify which style of continence aid you require, figuring out which absorbency level works best is the next step. Absorbency level is a method incontinence aids use to describe the amount of urine the product can absorb without leaking. So, when are low, medium, or heavy absorbency products required?

The amount or degree of urine loss is important when it comes to choosing the right continence aids. A lot of incontinence products will feature packaging with absorbency labelling systems like a drop system or specific colour coded packaging to help you find the right product. Different continence aids within the same brand will also vary on absorbency levels so be certain to check individual products.

For examples, if you’re looking at Abena continence aids you can use the below table to understand their colour packaging system:

Product Name

Pack Colour Code

Total Absorbency

Incontinence Flow

Abri-San Premium 1

Yellow

200 ml

Light 

Abri-Flex Zero L0

Green

900 ml

Light to Moderate

Abri-Form Premium M1

Blue

2000 ml

Moderate to Heavy

Abri-Flex S/M2

Blue

1700 ml

Light to Moderate

Abri-Flex L3

Green

2400 ml

Moderate to Heavy

Abri-Form Premium M2

Blue

2600 ml

Moderate to Heavy

Abri-Form Comfort L2

Green

2800ml

Moderate to Heavy

Abri-Form Premium XL2

Orange

3400 ml

Moderate to Heavy

Abri-Flex Premium M3

Blue

2400 ml

Moderate to Heavy

Abri-Form Premium S4

Yellow

2200ml

Moderate to Heavy

Abri-Form Premium M4

Blue

3600 ml

Moderate to Heavy

Abri-Form Premium L4

Green

4000ml

Moderate to Heavy

Abri-Flex Premium XL2

Orange

1400ml

Light to Moderate

 

All the above incontinence products come in varying absorbency levels within those ranges so be sure to look at a specific brand indicators when looking for incontinence aids.

Identifying the amount of leakage you are dealing with, matching it to the correct absorbency level and then finding the best product that can comfortably manage the flow is key to perfect incontinence management.

Identifying Product Size

Alongside the style of the continence product and the absorbency required, you also need to be able to find the right size. When it comes to sizing, remember that absorbency level has nothing to do with the product size. In fact, if a product is too large it actually increases the risk of leakage as it will not fit the body correctly. On the opposite end of this, if an incontinence product is too small or ill-fitting it will be uncomfortable for the wearer and potentially cause possible skin irritation or even Incontinence Associated Dermatitis (IAD).

The best fit of an incontinence aid can be determined by measuring the hip circumference of the user. With a measuring tape, stretch it around the widest part of the hips and roughly 10 centimetres from below the navel. Once you’ve found the correct measurements, use the size guides on the incontinence product packaging to find the perfect fit.

Mobility and Lifestyle Considerations

Mobility and lifestyle factors are one of the most important things to consider when choosing the correct continence products. Elderly, disabled or bedridden users will often need help changing themselves, so their continence products should allow for a worker or carer to assist through the use of adhesive strips on either side.

For people with a more active lifestyle, pads or liners may be a better choice as they’re discreet and easy to change without help. When deciding which of the three will work best, think about how the user will be spending most of their time as well as the level of incontinence they are dealing with.

Finding the Right Products

Continence aids range from the products mentioned above to the addition of things like mattress and bed protectors as well as fixation pants to secure pads and pull up pants. Choosing the best combination of continence products and applying them correctly in a continence care routine is how you can effectively manage incontinence and maintain a high quality of life.

General Tips for Carers of People with Incontinence

Remember, it is also essential to change incontinence products often as prolonged exposure of skin to urine can cause irritation or Incontinence Associated Dermatitis (IAD).

If caring for someone with incontinence, they may be deeply distressed or ashamed about the situation so carers should always remain calm and patient to make the process as easy as possible. Finding the best products for your individual needs is an essential part of proper incontinence management.

Explore our wide range of continence aids HERE.

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