Incontinence is a medical condition referring to the inability to control bladder or bowel movements. Someone with incontinence may urinate or defecate without meaning to, soiling their clothes, seat, and nearby objects. Incontinence can occur when you least expect it, whether in a store, during a work presentation, or during intimate moments with your loved ones. This medical issue may have an impact on your self-confidence, but there are tools you can use to mitigate the problem.
Various forms of incontinence underwear have existed for almost a century. However, for a long time, adults with incontinence only had the choice of uncomfortable, bulky underwear. These forms of underwear are often indiscreet, potentially adding to the negative stigma associated with them.
Comfortable incontinence underwear feels like regular underwear, blending in with any clothing. Such underwear is often highly absorbent, reducing the occurrence of rashes or blisters, and the number of trips you make to the bathroom throughout the day.
There are various brands of incontinence products on the market. Let’s see which is the most comfortable incontinence underwear in 2023 that you can make a staple in your medical journey.
Types of Incontinence
A. Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence affects your ability to control urine loss, causing slight or severe bladder release away from a toilet. Urinary incontinence is often associated with men and women over 50. However, the condition can affect any woman due to pelvic floor disorders caused by pregnancy and childbirth, diabetes, and obesity. Studies found that urinary incontinence in adults affects over 51% of women and more than 13% of men in the United States.
B. Fecal Incontinence
Fecal or bowel incontinence is the inability to control bowel movements, causing mild to severe stool leaks away from a toilet. Fecal incontinence can be caused by conditions such as nerve damage and rectal muscle impairment due to aging, diseases, or stomach issues that cause diarrhea and constipation. Over 8% of adults in the United States deal with fecal incontinence, with a higher percentage of women being affected than men.
People may experience urge or passive incontinence. The former is characterized by a sudden urge to pass stool, causing you to finish the act before getting to the toilet. Passive incontinence doesn’t have prior symptoms or warnings.
C. Mixed Incontinence
Mixed incontinence refers to experiencing different forms of incontinence simultaneously.
The two main forms of incontinence are urge and stress incontinence. While urge incontinence is characterized by a sudden desire to release the bladder or bowels, stress incontinence is triggered by an event such as sneezing, coughing, or laughing.
Many women experience mixed urine incontinence during pregnancy and after childbirth due to a weakened pelvic floor. You may also develop mixed incontinence if you have a UTI, diabetes, thyroid disease, or nerve damage due to neurological conditions.
If you have mixed incontinence, you may release some or a large amount of urine after waking up, drinking water, standing up, or lifting something. Mixed incontinence impacts your ability to walk, exercise and participate in simple activities such as lifting your child or having a relaxed conversation with loved ones.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Comfortable Incontinence Underwear
Choosing comfortable and effective underwear is key to keeping your life on track while managing incontinence. Here are a few things to consider when in the market for incontinence underwear.
Absorbency refers to how much incontinence underwear can hold before needing to be changed. Underwear with low absorbency may need to be changed with every use. Incontinence underwear with higher absorbency can hold urine for hours, allowing you to go about your day worry-free.
The best way to determine the absorbency of urine incontinence underwear is by looking at indicators of how much liquid it can hold. An average adult can release up to 2 cups of urine at one go after holding it in for 3 hours. Check the number of cups indicated on the packaging of incontinence underwear to see how long it can go without requiring a change.
The most absorbent urine incontinence underwear can comfortably hold stool, saving you from embarrassing accidents.
Ill-fitting incontinence underwear can make managing this medical condition difficult. You don’t want your underwear to dig into the soft flesh around your waist or at the top of your thighs. At the same time, you don’t want the underwear to be too big because it may allow urine or feces to leak around the edges.
Take the measurements of the widest areas of your waist and hips, comparing them to the sizing guide provided by the underwear manufacturer to determine which size of underwear will fit you.
Considering the material of your incontinence underwear helps you pick a type you’re not allergic to. Moreover, the material can determine the absorbency and comfort levels you get from your underwear.
The absorbent layer of incontinence underwear can be made from synthetic materials called polymers or natural materials such as cellulose made from cotton, wheat, or wood pulp. The material distributes liquid and solid waste, ensuring it doesn’t contact your skin.
Plastic has long been used to make the outer sheet of incontinence underwear because of its ability to prevent moisture or liquids from leaking. Underwear with a back sheet made with plastic is more commonly available and often affordable.
However, newer technology has introduced a new incontinence underwear back sheet made from fabric-like materials. Today, you can find highly protective incontinence underwear that feels just like regular underwear.
Breathable incontinence underwear releases any moisture formed under the covered portion of your skin into the environment. Breathability enhances comfort because your underwear doesn’t trap heat or sweat, reducing itchiness and smell when worn.
Always choose incontinence underwear equipped with breathable features. Materials such as cotton, wool, and polyester quickly wick moisture away from your skin, enhancing comfort, odorlessness, and skin health.
Incontinence underwear shouldn’t announce itself through your clothes, especially if you wear it daily.
For a long time, adults dealing with incontinence had to sacrifice discretion for absorbency. However, modern incontinence underwear compresses the absorbent material into a thin layer that doesn’t show through pants or skirts.
Underwear made from fabric-like material is more discreet since you simply have to pull it up. On the other hand, plastic underwear may be indiscreet if you have to tape it on the sides to secure it in place.
Rustling material, such as plastic, can be less discreet than underwear made from cotton and other fabrics.
Top Brands for Comfortable Incontinence Underwear
Nexwear offers incontinence underwear with a premium feel, maximum protection, and ultimate discretion.
The Nexwear Premium Protective Underwear is thin and soft with seamless edges that blend in with casual, official, and formal wear.
These underwear are reinforced to provide extra absorbency, eliminating the risk of leaks during use. They’re made from breathable materials that quickly whisk away urine and sweat from your skin to leave it dry and healthy. An odor neutralizer prevents mustiness, letting you feel fresh all day.
Depend provides incontinence underwear in a range of colors to suit different tastes. The brand uses shapewear material to make underwear that moves with your body and doesn't show over clothes.
You can purchase underwear based on absorbency, ensuring you have discreet underwear to use during the day and more absorbent underwear that allows you hours of uninterrupted sleep throughout the night.
You can purchase Depend incontinence underwear from different retailers. However, unlike Nexwear, the company doesn’t offer a subscription service that regularly delivers several pairs of underwear to your address.
TENA’s incontinence underwear options range from medium to highly absorbent designs, from nude or white to colorful designs, offering maximum overnight absorbency.
The brand uses polymers to hold liquid from urine and keep it away from your skin. The outer layer of the underwear feels like cloth, with elastics at the edges to prevent fluids from flowing down your legs.
Poise has a range of pads, panty liners, and bladder control devices for incontinence management. You can choose from thin pads offering moderate absorbency to thick, long pads and liners that provide enhanced leak protection for hours.
Unfortunately, unlike Nexwear, Pose currently doesn’t offer absorbent underwear in the U.S. market.
Alwaysstech’s incontinence underwear comes in plain and floral designs. You can also get underwear designed for sensitive skin, lowering the chance of developing allergies to the materials used to offer you comfort and absorbency.
The brand uses various technologies to adapt the underwear to the body’s shape, improving discreetness. LeakGuards technology reinforces the underwear’s grip around the leg, reducing the risk of leaks.
However, unlike Nexwear, Alwaysstech doesn’t offer free samples of its underwear.
Attends has multiple options of incontinence underwear and briefs. Its underwear offers moderate absorbency for women with mild to moderate urine incontinence. The material is absorbent and has breathable zones, preventing leaks and odors for hours.
Attends also offers briefs and underwear for people with active lifestyles, allowing you to exercise without worrying about leaks.
However, Attends incontinence underwear doesn’t have the feel or appearance of regular underwear, making them less discreet than other options, such as Nexwear.
The most comfortable incontinence underwear is a must-have for anyone dealing with urine and fecal incontinence. Finding underwear that offers maximum absorbency, breathability, and discretion allows you to go about your daily life without accidents or the embarrassment many people with incontinence feel.
Find the right incontinence management tool, including bladder pads and disposable briefs, to start your comfortable, worry-free life today.