Are you someone who lives with an overactive bladder, weakened pelvic floor muscles, prostate issues or any other concerns leading to bladder control problems? If so, you have no doubt struggled with the often distressing challenges these conditions represent.
Fear of embarrassing urine leakage, the inability to make it to the bathroom on time or simply not wanting to go out in case there are no facilities nearby. These are all concerns that can see you missing out on a full, happy social life with friends and family.
While adult diapers or bulky pads were previously the only options available, in recent years, incontinence underwear has become increasingly popular.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at how incontinence underwear is delivering positive change to those living with urinary incontinence.
Different Causes For Incontinence
According to recent studies, urinary incontinence affects roughly one in three women and one in ten men in Australia. People of all ages, abilities and fitness levels can be affected.
There can be many reasons for urinary incontinence and not all of these can be treated successfully with medication or pelvic floor exercises such as kegel exercises.
Possible causes include:
- An enlarged prostate or benign prostate hyperplasia
- Recurrent urinary tract infections affecting the bladder and urethra
- Weakened pelvic floor muscles following surgery, childbirth or injury
- Stress incontinence, which is brought on by physical movement such as exercise, sneezing, jumping
- Overflow incontinence due to weakened bladder muscles or a blockage
- Urge incontinence due to bladder irritants or incomplete bladder emptying
- Functional incontinence whereby physical disability makes it difficult to toilet on time
- Medical conditions including cancer, stroke, Alzheimer’s, neurogenic bladder dysfunction and others
Incontinence can be a short-term or long-term concern. If you are suddenly experiencing incontinence or a change in your toileting habits, you should book a time to talk to your doctor.
Your doctor will check that there is no underlying cause that needs to be dealt with such as infection or disease and can best guide you on any available treatment options. It is important to rule out anything serious and access appropriate medical care as necessary.
The Importance Of Managing Incontinence
No matter the cause of urinary incontinence, it is important that those living with this condition are given support and the tools to manage it. Improper management of urinary incontinence can severely impact an individual’s quality of life and cause unnecessary distress.
Urinary incontinence is nothing to be ashamed of and with proper management in place, enjoyment of life and the ability to engage in everyday activities is possible.
What Is Incontinence Underwear?
Incontinence underwear is a disposable or reusable type of undergarment that is designed to absorb urine. Unlike adult diapers or incontinence pads, they look and feel much like regular underwear, which is a large part of their appeal.
Reusable incontinence underwear can also be washed and re-worn time and time again.
Depending on the style of underwear chosen, it is capable of absorbing and trapping large amounts of liquid without leaking. The materials used quickly wick moisture away from the wearer so they remain feeling dry and comfortable.
The Benefits Of Incontinence Underwear
Wondering why you should choose incontinence underwear over other incontinence products? There are several reasons why they are an ideal option.
Promotes Independence & Dignity
Individuals living with bladder issues often feel ashamed and embarrassed. Wearing an adult diaper or large absorbent pads can further exacerbate these feelings.
As incontinence underwear looks and feels like regular underwear, wearers can feel more dignified and confident in everyday life.
Reduces Embarrassment & Anxiety
No adult wants to experience bladder leakage publicly. This can mean individuals miss out on living a full, productive life due to anxiety and embarrassment surrounding their bladder issues.
Incontinence underwear allows wearers to participate in life normally without having to worry about leakages. Everyday activities can be performed with reduced anxiety and embarrassment felt over bladder issues can be avoided.
Improves Hygiene & Skin Health
One of the major benefits of incontinence underwear compared with other incontinence products is that they are more breathable.
Where pads and diapers are made with synthetic fibres and plastic, incontinence underwear more often uses natural fibres such as cotton, bamboo and wool. This allows for better air circulation and temperature regulation for enhanced skin health and hygiene.
Provides Comfort & Discretion
Incontinence underwear is one of the most discreet options for those with bladder issues. They do not have thick paddings like diapers or pads and look just like regular underwear under clothing.
This also makes it more comfortable and ensures you can wear the clothing you like without worrying that anyone can see your incontinence support.
Offers Different Levels Of Absorbency
Incontinence underwear offers different levels of absorbency to ensure you can find the right fit for your specific needs.
From supporting those with small, occasional leaks, to more frequent larger leaks, incontinence underwear is well suited to both.
Incontinence Underwear Types
Disposable incontinence underwear is ideal for use when travelling and washing items is not possible or when more frequent changes are required. They are available in both pull-up styles akin to traditional underwear as well as diaper styles for ease of use by all ages and abilities.
This option is made using synthetic materials and may be bulkier than reusable alternatives. Disposable incontinence underwear is also less cost-effective than reusable options.
Reusable incontinence underwear is able to be washed and re-worn for reduced environmental impact and better cost-effectiveness.
Reusable options are primarily made using natural, breathable materials which can aid in better skin health and hygiene.
They differ from adult diapers in that they look the same as traditional underwear.
Some reusable systems will also allow for additional inserts to be used for added absorbency and ease of changing while out and about.
Did you know there are also options for managing incontinence during water sports and swimming? This specially designed incontinence underwear stops pool, ocean or river water from being absorbed while still being able to absorb urine.
Looking just like a regular swimming costume, this option ensures you never miss out on joining in water-based activities.
Factors To Consider When Choosing Incontinence Underwear
To figure out if incontinence underwear is right for you, we recommend reviewing the following.
Level Of Incontinence
Unfortunately, incontinence underwear is not usually suited for large volumes of liquid such as complete bladder emptying or for fecal incontinence issues.
In these instances, an adult incontinence diaper/diaper pants are still recommended. It is important to check the absorption rate of your chosen underwear to ensure it is suitable for your needs.
Absorption will depend on the brand of incontinence underwear and whether it is a reusable or disposable style. Some reusable styles can accommodate up to 250 ml of fluid when used with an added washable insert and disposable styles upwards of 400 ml of fluid.
Size & Fit
Incontinence underwear, whether disposable or reusable, must be the right size and fit. Poorly fitted underwear or underwear in the wrong size can lead to leaks of urine as well as discomfort while wearing them.
The underwear should be firm fitting, without cutting in. Many brands of reusable incontinence underwear follow standard clothing sizing to help this process easier. Disposable options usually offer some stretch and will be more forgiving size-wise as a result.
Material & Comfort
As disposable and reusable incontinence underwear comes in different types of materials, it is important to choose based on your preferred feel for optimal comfort.
Synthetic materials such as those used in disposable options breathe less and may cause the wearer to feel hot, sweaty and uncomfortable. Some individuals may also experience skin reactions to these materials and the perfumes/chemicals they contain.
Reusable underwear may also be made using synthetic materials, however, they are primarily made using cotton, bamboo, wool or other natural, breathable materials. For this reason, they are often preferred by those with sensitive skin as the more comfortable choice.
Cost & Budget
Reusable incontinence underwear represents a larger investment than disposable initially, however, over time is more cost-effective.
If you prefer reusable but do not have the budget for this up-front, you may like to gradually build your collection while also using disposable options.
Able Medilink – Here To Support Better Quality Of Life
At Able Medlink, we offer compassionate and judgement-free support for our clients with incontinence. Our goal is to ensure everyone feels comfortable seeking support in managing their incontinence issues so they can live confidently and enjoy life to its fullest.
Just as with any aspect of healthcare, there is no shame in living with incontinence and help is readily available.
We stock a wide range of incontinence underwear for both men and women in reusable and disposable forms. Available both in-store at our Benleigh showroom and online, our team are happy to discuss all options with you to ensure you are as comfortable as possible.
Sold alongside other incontinence aids including bedding, chair pads, toileting aids and more, we are sure to have what you need to regain your confidence and independence.
To speak with our team of caring professionals, call 03 9557 9038.