Northshore diapers and measuring tapeNo one likes the feeling of something not fitting, especially when it comes to personal care products and other absorbent undergarments like adult diapers. When it comes to comfort, dignity, and lifestyle, finding an adult diaper with the right fit is essential. Whether you’re seeking adult bladder or bowel control products for yourself or for someone in your care, here are some things to know that can make all the difference—including tips on how to measure for the best fit.

Common Misconceptions of Adult Diaper Sizing

Does bigger mean better absorbency? The answer is no. A lot of people think that the bigger the diaper, the more absorbent it will be. Adult diapers, pull-ups, liners, and pads are designed to manage specific absorbency levels. No matter the size of the diaper – extra small or extra large – a product that features high absorbency can handle heavy voids while keeping the user dry and comfortable. Well made products have some technology that pulls liquid away from the skin, keeping it dry and helping to avoid the build-up of odor. These products also help prevent skin breakdowns and infections.

It’s common knowledge; the liquid will always find the path of least resistance. So if the leg area is not snug enough, the liquid will leak through the gaps. The best incontinence products pay close attention to the leg opening area. A simple way to ensure this is to run a finger lightly underneath the elastic around both legs. If the opening is snug – not overly tight – you will have a comfortable fit and less chance of leakage.

Tips on Absorbency with Bladder Leakage Pads

If you or the person in your care has experienced leakage, you might have decided to pile on the products for extra protection. This is not always the best solution. Using just a pad or liner is helpful for light incontinence or what some call “stress incontinence.” Liners and pads are designed with a waterproof backing that secures to regular underwear with an adhesive strip. But when liners or pads are inserted into an adult diaper, the plastic backing will prevent the diaper from absorbing efficiently. So, rather than having extra protection, the wearer gets the advantage of the liner only. In addition, a saturated liner can put pressure on the skin and cause irritation. For full protection and optimal absorption, an adult incontinence product that fits perfectly will deliver the best result. Booster pads are another type of product that can be inserted into the diaper to boost absorbency. These are typically going to be the same size as the diaper. For example, if a user is a size small in the diaper, he or she will most likely want to start off with a small in the booster for optimal fit.

It’s All How You Measure

Size is one of the most important things to consider. Many briefs are measured by the waist and hip but brands differ when you look at their sizing charts. For instance, a small NorthShore Supreme Brief fits waists 22” by 32”, whereas a small Tranquility ATN Brief fits waists 24” by 32” Be sure to measure before making a purchase. Here’s how.

Take a tape measure and first determine what is most comfortable: standing or lying down. Measure both the waist and hip areas to the nearest half inch. Remember, products that are too large tend to leak at the legs, so always start with a smaller size and work up. And we recommend that you re-measure a person whenever there is significant weight gain or loss.

 

Other Tips for Underwear and Adult Diaper Sizing 

  • Are the legs snug around the legs without cutting off circulation, or is there any kind of a gap? If you have any looseness or gaps around the legs, particularly when laying down, consider another product or size to avoid leakage through the legs, the most common source of leakage.
  • Are you able to sit without the sides splitting or tabs coming loose? If the sides split or tabs come undone, consider a larger size to avoid product failure. If your product has tabs, try readjusting the tabs to fit more comfortably. Note that plastic backed briefs are not refastenable more than once unless they have a landing zone, we can send you another sample if needed.
  • Is the stomach area sagging or too loose? Consider a smaller size or a snug fitting waterproof cover to contain leakage if a different size is not an option for you.
  • Can you move comfortably? If not, where are you uncomfortable? The waist or legs or both? Your undergarment should fit snug and close against the body without causing discomfort. Are you needing to change your undergarment frequently? Consider a higher absorbency product or add a booster pad to increase absorbency if changing products is not an option.

Adult diaper measuring tips


Remember these are just general guidelines, each body is unique. There are other factors that play a role in sizing for adult diapers such as weight, height, thigh and leg thickness, so if you have additional questions please call us at (800) 563-0161. We'll provide you with product suggestions based on your specific needs. 

We're always happy to help!