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Living with Incontinence: A Buyer's Guide

For many older adults, incontinence can be something that holds them back from getting the most out of their lives. They feel constrained by their incontinence—worrying about how long they can be out, where they can go, and so on before an accident happens. These products can help you or your loved one regain control over their life. Don’t let incontinence issues stop you from living your life to the fullest!

Absorbent underwear

A few sanitary companies have versions of absorbent underwear for incontinence problems. These underwear lines can be a helpful addition to everyday life. They are discreet, and look and feel like ordinary underwear, so you don’t feel odd or out of place wearing them in public. Absorbent underwear is a great option for someone who experiences light to medium incontinence issues. Here are a few options that may work for you:

Picture of Depend® Absorbent Underwear

Picture of Depend® Absorbent Underwear


Absorbent pads are also a great option for light to medium incontinence control. Pads are discreet, thin, and cover a large surface area. However, they are not designed to hold a heavy amount of fluid or any solid excrement, and usually have to be changed somewhat frequently. With this in mind, they are a great back up option—insurance for a “just in case” situation. Here are a few products that might be a good fit for you:

Picture of Abri-Light Ultra Mini Bladder Control Pad

Picture of Always® Discreet Light Incontinence Liner

Mattress pads

Mattress pads help eliminate unnecessary worry over nightly leaks. Rather than laying out a towel and “hoping for the best,” with a mattress pad, you can sleep with peace of mind knowing that if you have an accident in the night, there’s something covering your entire bed to protect your mattress. Mattress pads also eliminate the need to constantly clean your mattress after every single leak. Of course, proper mattress maintenance would still require occasional cleaning, but with a mattress pad, these cleanings wouldn’t have to be nightly or weekly. Here are a couple options for mattress pads:

Picture of Air Dri® Breathables® Low Air Loss Underpad

Catheter supplies

For those who have more extreme incontinence issues, a catheter may be required. A catheter is a device that drains the fluid from your bladder to an external location.  There are a few different types of catheters, but the most common types feature a flexible tube that drains fluid into a urinary bag. Some male catheters do not feature a tube that goes into your body. The condom catheter, also known as the Texas catheter, fits over the penis and collects any fluid leakage into a urinary bag without the use of a tube. This is another, more disposable option for the condom catheter. Catheters are good fits for those who have limited mobility or little to no control over bladder function. You should consult with your doctor before deciding if a catheter is right for you.


Bedpans are small, portable toilet “seats” that you can use in leiu of a toilet. Bedpans are generally used by hospitals, but are also good options to keep beside your bed if you frequently get up in the night to use the bathroom. They are also good options for those with limited mobility. 

Final thoughts...

We hope this buyer’s guide helped you see a few of the products that can help with incontience issues! While this list is certainly not comprehensive, we hope it has served as a good overview of a few of the most common incontinence products. Happy shopping!