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Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing an Adult Diaper

Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing an Adult Diaper

People with OAB (overactive bladder) or any other medical condition that necessitates the use of adult diapers can find life difficult if their adult diaper isn’t equipped with the features they need. Aside from being inconvenient, using the wrong incontinence products may lead to allergies or skin issues.

In terms of choices, disposable adult diapers are preferred by some, while washable incontinence products are preferred by others. If you need to change incontinence products often, washable ones can help you save money, but may eat up lots of your time. When you need to travel, are not at home, or prefer not to constantly have to wash your incontinence products, disposable ones sure do come in handy.

While several brands produce high-quality diapers that meet the needs of patients and their caregivers, it is important to be aware of a few common blunders that people can make when purchasing an adult diaper. To ensure the patient's comfort, bear in mind the proper size to absorbency ratio. If you're a caregiver, choosing adult diapers with flexible sides so that you can easily remove them could make life easier for both you and the person you are taking care of.

Incontinence is a difficult medical condition to deal with. Patients with this condition, however, can live a happier life with less complications if they are armed with the proper knowledge and advice regarding which product is best for their specific needs. 

What are adult diapers?

There are two main types of adult diapers:

  • Tabbed briefs — Diapers with tabs are easier to put on for those who have trouble standing or for individuals who are cared for by others; they're also more fitting at the leg, which aids in leak prevention
  • Pull-ups — If you want a less bulky absorbent undergarment with a more underwear-like fit, this model is a suitable choice

In institutional settings, such as hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities, tabbed briefs are the style used most regularly. Tabbed features generally include:

  • Making cleaning up after bowel incontinence easier
  • Adjustable tabs may allow for a better fit across narrower legs or broader bellies
  • For caregivers, it's simple to put on and take off
  • Used by people who have less mobility or who are bedridden

Pull-ups are worn like underwear, whereas diapers are inserted directly under the patient and then closed with tabs. Some features of pull-ups generally include:

  • Underwear with the appearance and feel of ordinary underwear (generally more acceptable for those new to incontinence)
  • A style that is more subtle and less noticeable when worn under clothing
  • For easy removal, the sides may be tear-away
  • Leg cuffs may be used to prevent leakage
  • Active users will find it more comfortable

The choice between adult diapers with tabs and pull-up underwear is mostly determined by the wearer's mobility. If the person is able to put it on himself, they will probably choose pull-up underwear, which is easy to change and looks like underwear.

If there is a caregiver present, an adult diaper with tabs will be far more practical, as the tabs open before usage, allowing the diaper to be easily put on without removing the patient's pants.

What to look for in an adult diaper

Adult diaper

Absorbency level

Decide how absorbent you need the adult diaper or pad to be to choose the best brief for your needs. You'll most likely want the most absorbent brief or pad you can find while still getting a good fit. However, if your requirements are minimal, a simple pad may suffice.

Choose diapers that wick moisture away from your skin

Adult diapers with a soft, permeable lining that tracks and wicks moisture away from the skin are recommended to reduce the likelihood of a diaper rash or infection.

Find the proper size

To minimize mishaps or leaks, make sure you buy the correct size of adult briefs. Adult diaper sizes are not standardized, so you'll need to measure yourself before buying. In fact, you should take measurements whenever you swap brands.

Use a trial-and-error method

When looking for an adult diaper, patience is essential. Finding a diaper that fits and performs to your expectations may take some trial and error.

Level of Incontinence Level of Activity Recommended Products
Light (typically up to 12 oz.) Active Shop Incontinence Pads & Guards
Moderate (typically up to 20 oz.) Inactive Shop Pull-Ups
Heavy (typically up to 34 oz.) Housebound/Bedridden Shop Tabbed Briefs

Quick facts about choosing the diaper that's best for you

  • It is suggested that you measure your waist at the belly button — then, to determine what size diaper to wear, consult the product's sizing chart
  • When full, the normal human bladder stores approximately sixteen fluid ounces
  • When it comes to adult diapers, the majority of leaking occurs in the leg openings
  • A pull-up is an adult diaper that pulls on and off similarly to regular underwear
  • A pull-up with tear-away sides may be pulled off in seconds
  • A booster pad is a supplementary pad that is added to a diaper or other incontinence product to increase its absorbency

Common mistakes people make when choosing an adult diaper

Failure to consider absorbency levels

Some people who have recently developed OAB make similarly common errors when purchasing their first set of adult diapers. One of the most common errors people make is misunderstanding the absorbency levels of the diapers offered. It is important to inspect the fluid ounce absorbency levels, and purchase a product that is in accordance with your needs. The amount of absorbency you need is determined by the severity of your incontinence issue. It may also be appropriate to purchase diapers with two different absorbency levels for day and night use. Since some people indicate that their incontinence is more serious in the evening, a higher absorbency level may be needed at night. Utilizing a higher absorbency level diaper at night can create a better overall sleep experience. If that’s what you need, Tranquility All-Through-The-Night Unisex Tabbed Brief may be a good fit for you.

Absorbency Level Absorbency Range Recommended Products
Light absorbency Typically up to 12 oz. Shop Light Active Pads
Moderate absorbency Typically up to 20 oz. Shop Moderate Active Underwear
Heavy absorbency Typically up to 34 oz.
Shop Heavy Underwear
Overnight absorbency
Typically up to 34 oz.
Shop Overnight Underwear

Cutting corners on quality to save money

Save money on adult incontinence diapers

Many consumers are on the lookout for the cheapest product available on the market. Even so, it has been shown that saving money on adult diapers and opting for low-cost rather than high-quality goods can be a costly mistake. The consistency of the raw materials used in adult diapers can make a big difference in their overall absorbency, durability and effectiveness. If you have any skin allergies, such as latex, be sure to choose a brand that creates latex free products. Notably, the Caroli Unisex Incontinence Pullup Underwear are always dermatologically tested by an independent third party to ensure they don’t cause any skin irritation on delicate skin.

Ignoring the importance of quality over quantity

Adult diapers are available in greater quantities for some brands than for others. People sometimes make the mistake of selecting certain brands solely due to quantity alone, rather than ensuring they are buying an effective, high quality product that gets the job done right. For example, if you need a heavy duty diaper with extremely high absorbency levels for peace of mind, the Abena Abri-Flex Unisex Pullup Underwear L3 is capable of absorbing up to 47 fluid ounces of incontinence.

Characteristics of a high-quality adult diaper

Comfort and utility are the most important features of a good adult diaper. It should be comfortable enough for a patient to be able to spend days and nights wearing it and live a reasonably normal life. Many modern adult diaper brands are able to manufacture products with a high absorbency level, and new built in features such as odor elimination. They are made from high-quality raw materials while adhering to strict hygiene guidelines. Additionally, they've been created to avoid skin allergies and other medical complications. Adult diapers with these features are needed for the patient's comfort and the caregiver's convenience.

What are some of the advantages of adult diapers?

Advantages of adult incontinence diapers

Adult diapers have long been used to treat incontinence and a variety of other medical conditions as well, and they are becoming increasingly popular. For patients, an adult diaper is a very useful innovation; providing comfort and solace to those who are suffering from urinal or fecal incontinence and allowing them to go about having a normal life again. It is also advantageous for the elderly as well, who may need more care, attention and assistance as they enter their twilight years.

How to deal with incontinence problems

Choosing the right adult diaper gives you more flexibility in your life. If you or a loved one suffers from a disease such as OAB, a bedridden disorder, dementia, or other, adult diapers can be an absolute lifesaver.

Remember that high absorbency diapers can prevent skin irritation and keep you comfortable. Some are made with airflow in mind to reduce the chance of bacterial infection. For example, the Prevail Per-Fit 360 Unisex Tabbed Briefs come equipped with 360 Breathable Zones to circulate air and keep you dry.

The size of a patient’s waist and hips is a significant consideration in ensuring you get the right diaper size that fits appropriately. Patients can sometimes make the mistake of purchasing a size that is either too small, causing severe discomfort, or too big, causing the diaper to leak. Be sure to check the size listed on the packaging to ensure a proper fit.

If you are an incontinence patient that has physical disabilities or developmental difficulties, it’s possible you may feel some sense of negativity related to the condition. Adult diapers of good quality can greatly assist you in getting back to normal, and having one less thing to worry about. With the proper knowledge, products and support around you, incontinence does not have to control your life.

Common questions about adult diapers and incontinence

What are the best overnight diapers for adults?

The Tranquility All-Through-The-Night Unisex Tabbed Brief, Heavy absorbency adult diaper is a great choice for overnight use. It's an affordable and absorbent option for both urine and fecal incontinence. They were designed as pull-ups, but they also have tear-away side seams for easy removal, converting them to a tab-style diaper for individuals who lack mobility.

Does Medicare cover adult diapers?

Traditional Medicare does not cover incontinence items such as diapers and pads, despite the fact that many people suffer from incontinence. The cost of incontinence basics may be repaid or at least be a tax-deductible expense, depending on your financial circumstances and the sort of medical insurance you choose. Additionally, the vast majority of products on Norton Hurley are FSA/HSA eligible in the United States.

How can one apply adult diapers and briefs in a standing position?

Medline Industries has a helpful short video that shows how to do this properly.

What should I do if I only get incontinence occasionally?

For the odd episode of incontinence, incontinence pads (for females) and guards (for males) for adult diapers are a suitable starting point. They can be worn within form-fitting underwear and removed and changed as needed without having to take off your clothes. Pads and guards are also less expensive than incontinence garments because they are smaller and utilize less material.

What is nocturia?

It is a medical condition that causes a person to wake up two or more times at night to pass urine. Waking up in the middle of the night to urinate is relatively common amongst all ages, but a problem arises when the need to urinate is persistent. More information about nocturia can be found here.

What causes nocturia?

There are three leading causes of nocturia amongst age groups, which are polyuria, nocturnal polyuria, and nocturnal urinary frequency. More details about this issue are located here

Should I use two diapers to avoid leaks?

No, never double-up diapers; it is ineffective and wastes a lot of your hard earned money. A much better solution is to find a product that is more absorbent, and if leaks persist, consider inserting a booster pad inside the diaper.

What is the best solution for diaper bulge?

Some users report that when using bulkier diapers, wearing a long t-shirt and relaxed fit jeans can help hide the bulge. Also, some adult diaper products from Prevail and Alyne provide a very discreet fit and look.

Is there a more discreet incontinence solution for when I'm on the go?

Women's incontinence pads and male guards are the most unobtrusive options, but they're usually only used for minor or infrequent incontinence. When using pull-up incontinence underwear, stay away from garments with a plastic backing because they can generate noise when you move. Almost all gender-specific underwear is designed with discretion in mind (no plastic, and slimmer profiles).

Which adult diaper is the most convenient for caregivers?

We recommend extremely absorbent diapers for caregivers, because they require fewer changes per day to ensure the comfort of the patient. Ultra-absorbent diapers are available in a range of brands, and can typically prevent nighttime leaks.

How many diapers will I require on a daily basis?

If you're using very absorbent diapers, approximately four changes each day (wake-up, lunchtime, dinnertime, before bed) can be optimal. If you're using less absorbent items, you may need 6 to 8 changes every day. Institutional settings recommend “check and change” every three hours, which includes waking the user in the middle of the night. The better the product you choose, the more you can remove the need to wake a loved one suffering from incontinence. 

How do I put a diaper on myself (pull-up)?

Begin by placing one of your legs inside the diaper's top and pulling it up a little. Pull the diaper up slowly and repeat the process on the other leg. This operates the same way it does with any other pair of jeans. It is simple to use for people who do not require assistance. The diaper's taller side should be worn toward the back. Make sure the diaper is comfy by moving it around. Make sure it's a good fit in the groin area. It's critical that the confinement zone comes into contact with the body. This activates the odor-controlling chemicals on the diaper and ensures that any liquids are effectively absorbed.

What can I do if I'm cleaning my bed linens too often because of leaks? 

Find a product that is extremely absorbent and fits nicely, with no gaps at the leg openings or waist. Booster pads can be put inside an adult diaper to increase void capacity by 6 to 12 ounces. 

Disclaimer: The information presented here is purely for educational purposes and should not be used in place of the advice of your doctor or physician.