Incontinence Products – Expert Tips for Finding the Right Fit

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posted by Ted Ryan on July 15, 2013

Nearly 25 million American’s are living with incontinence. Yet, many are unaware of the wide variety of products available to assist people of different sizes, conditions and needs.

As a home care provider, we at Seniors Home Care know that our goal is to allow seniors to remain active and vibrant in their community. Without proper incontinence products, seniors become ashamed, withdrawn and reclusive. With the right product, incontinence can be managed to fit any lifestyle and preference.

To learn more, I sat down with Helen Sanders and Jessica Vasser, Incontinence Specialists at Medical West. Experience has taught them that no two incontinence cases are exactly alike, so they shared their expertise and explained some of the basics of finding a well-suited incontinence product.

First, get an understanding of the cause and symptoms, including the kind of bladder loss occurring. Is it an occasional dribble? A large gush? What is the flow?

Using this information, they can make recommendations for products that will alleviate the issue most effectively. Their suggestions are based on a number of factors.


Not all people who live with incontinence are immobile. While a tape-on brief is best suited for someone who is wheelchair-bound or does a lot of sitting, someone who can stand or is more active might be better suited for a pull-up brief.

Individuals with light incontinence may prefer a pad during the day and pull-up overnight. Someone who is active throughout the day – say, spending an afternoon at the mall – may wear several pads so that once one has been used, they may simply remove and dispose of it and have another one ready. However, this is not to be misunderstood as suggesting that using two pads is a way for better absorption.ActiCuf

Men often encounter dribbling while being treated for prostate cancer. The ActiCuf Compression Pouch is an innovative product for men with light bladder loss. The ActiCuf is a small pouch that surrounds the penis, with the help of a soft built-in clamp to ensure no leakage. It is a popular solution that is undetectable under clothing and compact enough to carry extras on the go.

Fitting & Sizing Options

It’s important to have a properly fitting brief or pad to avoid leakage and maximize comfort. Specialty stores like Medical West offer a wide range of sizes to best fit a customer based on height, weight, waist size and weight distribution.

Helen and Jessica explained that it is common to mistake bigger as meaning more absorbent but this is not true. An effective brief will also have gatherers, or an inner standup cuff, to prevent leakage. These will be most effective if the brief is properly fitted.

In addition to widely varying sizes, stretch-band briefs are also available and can be a good choice for active people or unusual body types, due to swelling or an ostomy.


Absorbency is essential in an incontinence product. A good product will wick fluid away from the body and absorb it in a quick and healthy manor. The key to this process is polymer, a jelly-like substance that absorbs and holds fluid. Polymer is a leading reason why a brief from a medical supply store will be superior to a typical Depends brand brief, which uses very little polymer – making it is less effective in many incontinence cases.

At Medical West, they commonly encounter people who resort to home remedies because their current product is not effective enough. Often, these do not absorb fluid properly and lead to diminished skin integrity.

They also see frustrated customers who use a pad in addition to a brief, expecting more absorbency. This is useless and also harmful because the pad will absorb all of the fluid, without allowing any to reach the brief unless it is completely saturated, at which point it will cause discomfort and skin issues.

However, there is a specifically designed product that may be added to a brief for extra absorption. A flow-through product, or booster pad, is designed for liquid to go through to the brief. Once the brief is full, the booster pad continues to absorb.

Avoid using petroleum products, or only apply them lightly, while wearing a brief or pad. If applied too heavily, the petroleum rubs off and coats the brief or pad, clogging its absorbing features.

Using the wrong product or misusing a product can have dire consequences, including infection and fungus. Speaking with a specialist ensures that incontinence is dealt with properly and doesn’t affect the life you lead.

If you have questions about incontinence products or feel there may be a better product for you, the Medical West specialists may be reached at 314-993-7979 or online. They will provide samples to determine the best solution, and are offering $8.00 off of the first case order to anyone who mentions this SHC blog post.

As always, if you have any questions regarding senior needs or home health care, contact us. We’re here to help you.

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Advocacy and Education and Medical Equipment

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