Products and tips on choosing them
Products are not a cure. They are used as part of a treatment or to control leaks so you can carry on as usual. It is important to get medical advice before buying any.
There is a wide range of types. Which will suit you will depend on your lifestyle - whether you do sport, travel a lot or have help with your personal care. Consider mixing and matching products, from day to night, according to your activities and if the leaks vary.
Most importantly, don't be put off if one product does not work well for you - be prepared to try others.
Some are easier to use than others. If you have difficulty using your hands, dressing and undressing, or your eyesight is not so good, think about how you are going to apply, use and remove the product.
Shopping around before buying large quantities can save money. Some companies sell trial packs of disposable pads, and you may be able to borrow some products through your continence advisor - things like urinals and enuresis alarms.
The following pages show what is available, how the products can be used, and give tips on choosing and using them. Here are the types briefly so you can turn to the products most likely to interest you.
If you need to pass urine in a hurry, cannot get to the lavatory easily, or are travelling, a hand-held urinal could be the answer. It's basically a bottle, but there are neat designs that can be carried in a toilet bag and used discreetly in a car, for example.
There are lots of covers and pads to minimise leaks and stains on bedding and seats. Some act as a back-up to body-worn products; others absorb large enough quantities of urine to be used by themselves.
Pads that you wear are widely available for leaks, either from bladder or bowel. There are disposable or washable pads, in many different shapes and sizes for men, women and children.
These should be used only on medical advice. They include catheters for insertion into the bladder for women, vaginal cones for strengthening muscles. For men, sheaths or body-worn urinals connected to a drainage bag and anal plugs for short-term control of leaks from the bowel. Finally there is brief information on enuresis alarms for children and adults who wet the bed.
To find out where to get these products see helpful organisations.