When Is it Time To Switch to More Absorbent Products Like Adult Diapers or Pull-on Underwear?

If you care for a parent who’s experiencing incontinence, you may be wondering about the best protection to help keep them not just dry and comfortable, but also confident.

Starting the conversation can be tough, but you aren’t alone. Incontinence is relatively common in older Americans — just over half of people over 65 years old experience urinary and/or bowel incontinence, according to WebMD.

Understanding the type and severity of incontinence can help you find the best protection for them ... and you. Explore if incontinence liners and pads, pull-on disposable underwear or briefs with tabs are a good choice.

Note: When discussing options with your parent, keep in mind that the term “adult diaper” can be jarring. Using phrases such as tab-style briefs, pull-on underwear or incontinence liners may help lower resistance and embarrassment about needing protection.

What’s the Difference Between Urge, Reflex & Mixed Incontinence?

The Simon Foundation for Continence discusses several types of incontinence on its website, and urge and stress incontinence are two common categories. Just as it sounds, urge incontinence symptoms include the sudden and sometimes uncontrollable urge to urinate. A bladder muscle contracts and spasms, causing the urgent need to go.

Reflex incontinence is also caused by bladder muscle spasms, but the message from the bladder doesn’t make it to the brain, meaning the individual doesn’t feel the need to go. This can cause unexpected urine loss with no warning.

Mixed incontinence is a combination of urge and stress incontinence (when pressure on the bladder causes the release of urine). While incontinence becomes more common as people age, there are still treatments available. It may also be caused by certain chronic illnesses or even medications. If your parent is experiencing incontinence, they should speak to a healthcare provider about it. If you’re involved in their day-to-day care, join the conversation as well.

A parent may be embarrassed about incontinence, but getting information and finding the proper leak protection can provide peace of mind to both of you. A doctor can discuss available treatments and management options that may help.

What Are the Symptoms & Signs of Serious Incontinence?

When people experience incontinence for the first time, they may turn to incontinence pads and liners. These feel familiar for women who’ve used menstrual pads, and a logical next step for men looking for discreet protection.

If your parent has been trying to manage incontinence with liners, how will you know when it’s time to discuss more protective options?

There are several reasons individuals may need to switch to products offering more coverage.  Multiple instances of leaks or strong odors are signs your parent may be experiencing serious incontinence. If you notice skin rashes caused by not changing products often enough, or that it’s becoming more difficult to change liners or pads in a timely manner, it could be time to choose longer-lasting protection. Attempting to hold urine, or wearing wet incontinence protection, can lead to urinary tract infections and other health concerns.

NorthShore Care Supply’s super-absorbent products are designed for moderate and heavy to total incontinence. Explore options for heavy to massive absorbency incontinence products beyond incontinence pads and liners below.

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Why Choose Pull-On Underwear?

Pull-up style incontinence underwear offers longer wear than incontinence pads and liners. They can be worn for many hours - up to 8, depending on the brand - and help minimize leaks around leg openings.

Because protective underwear can feel familiar, it may be easier to transition into them when managing adult incontinence for the first time. Typically, pull-on underwear provides a smoother profile as well as heavy absorbency.

For restless side sleepers, pull-on briefs may leak more through the night, and an adult diaper may be necessary.

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Why Choose Tab-Style Briefs?

Pull-on underwear works well for people who can change their own incontinence products, but even active people may find that tab-style briefs fit their lifestyle and needs better.

One reason is that they’re easier to change without getting fully undressed, whether your parent changes their own incontinence protection or you do it or them. Plus, the adjustable tape tabs commonly found in adult diapers can help create a snug fit, and offer more protection around the legs to minimize leaks.

If your parent is not getting the protection they need from incontinence liners or pull-up underwear, traditional adult diapers may help. Learn more about the 5 signs it’s time to transition to a tab-style brief.

Where Can I Buy Adult Diapers & Other Incontinence Products?

NorthShore offers a wide range of super-absorbent incontinence products to fit different body types and lifestyles. And, with convenient online shopping, you don’t need to spend time in store aisles guessing what's the most appropriate protection.

Many companies offer 'try before you buy' samples of products, NorthShore included. We also offer free samples and shipping on sample orders. Request a free sample today or call our Customer Care & Support Team at (800) 563-0161 for guidance on selecting the best incontinence product for you and your parent.

Shop Adult Diapers, Underwear, Pads and Liners

NorthShore MEGAMAX Tab-Style Briefs
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Starting At: $25.99 FSA/HSA Eligible

NorthShore GoSupreme Pull-On Underwear
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Starting At: $22.99 FSA/HSA Eligible

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Starting At: $9.99 FSA/HSA Eligible

NorthShore DynaDry Pads, Ultimate
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Starting At: $18.99 FSA/HSA Eligible

NorthShore DynaDry Supreme Liners
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Starting At: $20.99 FSA/HSA Eligible