Incontinence, or the accidental loss of urine, is a problem that affects nearly 13 million Americans each year*. Incontinence in women can occur at any age, but it is more common in women over 50.
The Four Major Types of Urinary Incontinence
Stress Incontinence: This type of urine leakage occurs while coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercising, lifting heavy objects, or doing anything that puts pressure on the bladder.
Urgency or Urge Incontinence: Described as the inability to hold urine long enough to reach a restroom, urgency incontinence can be associated with more frequent urination. It may be an indication that a separate disease or condition is present. Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are a common cause of frequent urination and are often easily treated. Always consult with a doctor to find out if there is a reason why you feel the need to urinate more frequently than usual.
Functional Incontinence: Urine leakage that is a result of an inability to reach a restroom in time because of a mobility issue is described as functional incontinence. This type of incontinence may happen because of an injury, arthritis, or any other condition that inhibits movement.
Overflow Incontinence: Overflow incontinence occurs when the volume of urine produced exceeds the bladder’s capacity to hold it, and it too can be a result of an underlying condition that you should discuss with your doctor.
How is Incontinence Treated?
A treatment plan should be determined only after consultation with your doctor. They will take your age, health, and medical history into consideration and discuss possible treatments based on your tolerance for different kinds of medications and the various therapies available.
Incontinence can be treated in many different ways, including dietary changes, behavioral therapies, medicine regiments, pelvic muscle re-education, in-office procedures, and surgery.
Dietary Changes: Your doctor may recommend eliminating bladder irritants, such as alcohol, caffeine, and citrus fruits.
Behavioral Therapies: Common therapies include bladder training and toileting assistance. Bladder training techniques teach you how to resist the urge to urinate and gradually lengthen the duration between urinating. Toileting assistance uses schedules and habits to prompt you to urinate regularly, thus preventing leakage.
Medicine Regiments: Your doctor may prescribe anticholinergic medications. These work by blocking the action of acetylcholine, a type of neurotransmitter. Blocking acetylcholine inhibits involuntary muscle movements, and may be prescribed for overactive bladder and incontinence. Be sure to discuss the side effects, particularly for elderly patients. Vaginal estrogen may also be considered to help ease stress incontinence in particular.
Pelvic Muscle Re-education: A variety of methods to help improve muscle tone may be recommended to help prevent leakage, including Kegel exercises, vaginal weight training, biofeedback, and pelvic floor electrical stimulation. These techniques cause the muscles to contract and can help strengthen pelvic muscles.
Kegel Exercises: Many things can weaken your pelvic floor muscles, including pregnancy and childbirth, obesity, chronic straining or coughing, and aging. Kegel exercises can be done anywhere, anytime, and help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which support the uterus, bladder, small intestine, and rectum.
In-Office Procedures: Botox injections into the bladder, urethral bulking agents, and peripheral nerve stimulation are all procedures that can usually be done in your doctor’s office and may help alleviate urinary incontinence in women.
Surgery: Bladder suspension, peripheral nerve stimulation, and slings are all surgeries that your doctor may consider depending on your age and overall health.
What Options Are Available to Help Manage Incontinence?
To help manage incontinence day-to-day, many women wear protective pads, absorbent underwear, fitted briefs, or diapers, depending on their age, level of need, and mobility.
The Top 5 Incontinence Underwear for Women
We have put together a list of the Top 5 Incontinence Underwear for Women**.
NEW- Because Quality Bladder Protection for Women
Partnering with urologists at Stanford Medical Center, the team at Because have developed cutting-edge new materials that make their products feel like underwear, not a diaper. Featuring premium quality cotton-like fabric that holds snugly in place without bulking up under pants or dresses and double-stitching in the leg area to provide exceptional protection and odor reduction. Both their pads and underwear are 25% more absorbent than leading brands* meaning fewer leaks, better protection, and more comfort. Because underwear is available in three absorbencies, Moderate and Maximum for during the day and Overnight for the nighttime and are shipped discreetly to your doorstep. Take their Proven Fit Quiz to find the perfect customized fit for you or your loved one.
* US Industry average is 1200mL absorbency for an overnight product. Because is over 1500ml.
Tena Women Protective Underwear
Tena Women Protective Underwear provides a more discreet style of disposable underwear that’s designed to look and feel like regular underwear, with a snug, body-close fit for moderate to heavy incontinence. It is made of a soft, cloth-like, cottony material and a soft, narrow comfort waistband that can be easily pulled on and off like regular underwear.
Prevail Protective Underwear for Women
The Prevail Protective Underwear for Women provides discreet absorbent protection. It has a comfortable waist panel that gives a discreet fit and has soft leg gathers that ensure a comfortable fit and dryness. Most importantly, these are super absorbent, dry quickly, and lock away wetness and odor.
Depend Underwear for Women – Maximum Absorbency
The Maximum absorbency product is the heaviest protection available from Depend. Its breathable stretch panels gently contour to the body for a close, comfortable fit. The cloth-like outer material is rustle-free underneath clothing, and the absorbency protection is designed specifically for women.
Tranquility Premium OverNight™ Incontinence Underwear
Tranquility’s Premium OverNight™ Disposable Absorbent Underwear is the top-rated overnight underwear for adults. It offers superior protection to ensure a restful sleep. Premium OverNight™ Disposable Absorbent Underwear is available in a range of sizes from XS to 2XL. The absorbent Peach Mat Core provides maximum protection by locking away liquid resulting in dryness, urine pH neutralization, and odor reduction while protecting delicate and sensitive skin from the damaging effects of moisture. The superior performance of the Peach Mat Core is why Tranquility’s Premium OverNight™ Disposable Absorbent Underwear is considered a top-rated overnight adult diaper among caregivers and medical professionals.
LivDry Overnight Protective Underwear
LivDry’s Overnight Protective Underwear is designed for maximum comfort, ultimate protection, and bedtime-to-rise reassurance. Their proprietary super absorbent gel core quickly locks fluid away, reduces odor, and can handle night bladder incontinence. LivDry Adult Overnights have a soft, cloth-like, latex-free material with a stretch panel that contours to your body for a comfortable fit with leakage barrier leg cuffs and tear-away sides that allow for easy removal.
Attends Incontinence Care Breathable Briefs for Adults
The briefs made by Attends
have breathable side panels and a soft inner liner that provides exceptional comfort. They also utilize a triple-tier moisture locking system that delivers superior performance and leakage protection while promoting skin wellness and managing odor. The soft and flexible Comfort Flex-Tabs fasten anywhere for a secure and tailored fit.
Wellness Absorbent Underwear
These award-winning pull-ons made by Unique Wellness are so innovative that they were featured on Discovery Channel’s How stuff works and are designed to last up to 8 hours using NASA inspired multi-layered InconTek® technology similar to designs used by astronauts in space for long missions. This is revolutionary because changes can actually be scheduled to only once in eight hours/ three in 24 hours putting the wearer or caregiver in control with no worry of any exposure to the effects of urine. Save up to 70% over other absorbent underwear due to fewer changes and rarely requires expensive creams or ointments.
Although there are a lot of choices for women in the incontinence underwear market, these products have received excellent reviews and feedback from those who have purchased and used them.
Tips & Advice for Choosing the Right Products
Keep in mind that your regular underwear size will not necessarily be the size you should purchase in incontinence underwear. Each product comes with its own sizing chart and recommendations based on your height, weight, level of activity, and current leakage. For some, an incontinence pad or liner may be all that is necessary. For others, their everyday activity level and need for comfort and discretion may mean that a pull-up style brief is the way to go. And for still others, a lack of mobility or overnight issues may make a tabbed diaper the best choice.
Other products that may help ease the amount of work required for caregivers of elderly patients or loved ones include personal care wipes, diaper covers, and underpads for beds.
- *The Illinois Department of Public Health
- **We filtered the results to those that had at least 30 product reviews.