What are the criteria for use of absorbent products in the treatment of urinary incontinence?

Updated: Jan 22, 2021
  • Author: Sandip P Vasavada, MD; Chief Editor: Edward David Kim, MD, FACS  more...
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The criteria for use of these products are fairly clear-cut, and these products are beneficial for patients who meet the following conditions:

  • Persistent incontinence despite all appropriate treatments
  • Inability to participate in behavioral programs, due to illness or disability
  • Presence of an incontinence disorder that cannot be helped by medications
  • Presence of an incontinence disorder that cannot be corrected by surgery

Absorbent products may also be used temporarily until a definitive treatment has a chance to work, in patients awaiting surgery, or long-term if treatment has yielded less-than-perfect results. Absorbent products are helpful during the initial assessment and workup of urinary incontinence. As an adjunct to behavioral and pharmacologic therapies, they play an important role in the care of persons with intractable incontinence.

More than 50% of the members of the National Association for Continence (NAFC), a national support group for incontinent patients, use some form of protective garment to remain dry. In addition, 47% of all elderly men and women use some type of absorbent products. In nursing homes, disposable diapers or reusable pad and pant systems are used.

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