What are the Different Kinds of Incontinence Supplies?

Jeri Sullivan
Jeri Sullivan
Some people experience urinary incontinence when they undergo physical stress, such as sneezing.
Some people experience urinary incontinence when they undergo physical stress, such as sneezing.

Incontinence, which is a person's inability to control bladder and bowel functions, often requires incontinence supplies such as pads, sheet, briefs, panties, and medication. There are several types of incontinence and the causes typically determine the type of incontinence supplies used. If the cause of the incontinence is anatomical abnormalities, the most common treatment is surgery.

Urge incontinence, which is the constant need to urinate, may be controlled with medication.
Urge incontinence, which is the constant need to urinate, may be controlled with medication.

Stress incontinence is caused when the pelvic floor muscles are weakened. The result is a lack of control when any strain such as coughing, sneezing, or lifting occurs, and for mild stress incontinence, pads or other disposable incontinence supplies are sufficient. The pads are similar to what women use during menstrual cycles and have adhesive which allows the pads to stick to the person's underwear. When the bladder or bowel muscles fail and leakage occurs, the pads contain the leak and prevent embarrassment or messes. The pad can then be removed and thrown away.

Functional incontinence is caused when a person cannot make it to the bathroom in time due to physical or mental limitations. This is often due to dementia, being wheelchair bound, or having severe arthritis. When functional incontinence is an issue, the most common type of incontinence supplies used are bed sheets.

Bed sheets designed for incontinence sufferers are backed with a rubberized leak-proof material to prevent the mattress from being soiled. When leakage soils the front of the bed sheet, it can be removed and thrown into the washer to clean. Disposable incontinence supplies usually have a thin plastic backing and absorbent front similar to a disposable diaper. Hospitals use disposable incontinence supplies for patients who have a hard time getting to the bathroom due to surgery or illness.

Longer term incontinence may require incontinence supplies such as briefs or panties. For overflow incontinence, which is a constant slow dribble or leak, briefs and panties work better than pads because they can hold more and provide coverage of the entire area. Briefs and panties are disposable so when leakage occurs, the wearer simply removes the soiled ones and replaces with a clean pair.

Urge incontinence, which is the constant need to urinate, may be controlled with medication. The medication acts as an anticholinergic for both overactive bladders and urge incontinence. Anticholinergics work by causing the muscles in the bladder to relax and reduces the number of spasms. Since the spasms are the main reason a person feels the urge to urinate, taking the medication will usually reduce the occurrence of incontinence and allow normal bladder function.

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    • Some people experience urinary incontinence when they undergo physical stress, such as sneezing.
      By: CandyBox Images
      Some people experience urinary incontinence when they undergo physical stress, such as sneezing.
    • Urge incontinence, which is the constant need to urinate, may be controlled with medication.
      By: Budimir Jevtic
      Urge incontinence, which is the constant need to urinate, may be controlled with medication.