Disposable continence products:
Some people with incontinence may find that it gets worse if they rely on pads rather than getting treatment. Incontinence should never be thought of as normal and needs to be investigated. It can often be cured or better managed with the right assessment and treatment from a continence nurse advisor, general practitioner (GP) or disability-specific nurse who knows how to manage incontinence.
Continence products can help people who have incontinence to stay dry, comfortable and lead a normal life. Pads and pants come in many shapes, sizes and absorbency. They can be disposable or reusable (washable). Disposable products are designed to be used once and then thrown away. A large variety of continence products can be bought at pharmacies and supermarkets, or from companies that supply medical equipment. Choosing the right product to meet the needs of the person you support is very important. They should have a continence assessment to find the best products for them.
Some people may be able to get some help to pay for these products through a subsidy scheme.
Many people think that continence and sanitary pads are the same and use sanitary pads for incontinence as they are cheaper, easier to find and less embarrassing to purchase. However, sanitary pads are designed to absorb blood not urine and can't absorb urine quickly enough causing them to leak. Watch this video for a demonstration on the difference in absorbency between sanitary and continence pads.
Continence products are made of absorbent materials that channel the liquid from the middle to the ends of the pad. Most products have a stay-dry cover to protect the skin from urine and faeces. Watch this video for a demonstration of SAPS powder which is found in many continence products.
Continence products come in a wide variety of absorbencies. A continence assessment can be helpful to work out the best products for the person you support. Everyone has their own preferences. Some people want a product with less absorbency during the day when they can get to a toilet more quickly and a higher absorbency at night.
Different product companies have different ways to show how much a product can absorb. It is important to read the packet carefully to find out the product's capacity and whether it has indicators which show when the product needs changing.
Watch this video for a demonstration of the capacity of a larger absorbency pad.
A continence nurse advisor can:
Other health care professionals, such as an occupational therapist, physiotherapist or GP, may be able to help or refer you to someone else.
Need more help? Call the National Continence Helpline on 18OO 33 OO 66 and talk to a continence nurse advisor.
Incontinence can be managed with continence products, however:
Pads and pants come in many shapes, sizes and absorbencies, therefore:
Disposable pads and pants:
Pad and pant system pads:
This information is not a substitute for independent professional advice.