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Absorbent Products for Urinary Incontinence

Treatment Overview

Absorbent products are items that absorb urine, such as adult diapers, plastic-coated underwear, pads, or panty liners that attach to underwear. Most commercially available items are disposable (such as Depend or Poise). Some absorbent cloths can be washed and reused. Drip collectors that fit over the penis are also available.

Absorbent products may be used to manage any form of incontinence.

What To Expect After Treatment

Absorbent products do not cure incontinence. But they may be used for any duration of time. Skin irritations may be a recurring problem if soiled or wet absorbent products have extended contact with the skin.

Why It Is Done

Absorbent products may be used if:

  • Your incontinence is not a significant disruption in your life.
  • You are waiting for another treatment for incontinence to take effect.
  • Your incontinence cannot be treated by other means.
  • You prefer to use absorbent products rather than medicines or surgery.

Absorbent products also may be used:

  • When you first begin exercises or behavioral treatment methods. Absorbent products can help manage incontinence until the treatment begins to take effect.
  • While you recover from surgery.
  • During other periods in which protection may be needed while you are pursuing other treatment.
  • If you are not a candidate for other forms of treatment.

How Well It Works

Absorbent products are an effective way to relieve the embarrassment and discomfort of urine leakage.

Risks

When using absorbent products:

What To Think About

Absorbent products are available in various forms. They can be found in many drugstores and markets.

Complete the special treatment information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this treatment.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Avery L. Seifert, MD - Urology
Last Revised September 11, 2012

Last Revised: September 11, 2012

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

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