Incontinence pants are products designed to deal with urinary/bladder (and sometimes also fecal/bowel) incontinence. Although they resemble regular underwear at first glance, these pants feature a built-in absorbency layer that soaks up urine and fecal matter.
Incontinence pants have made life remarkably easier for people living with incontinence problems. Some wearers are also people with reduced mobility or those battling dementia and other neurodegenerative illnesses.
But despite incontinence underwear being incredibly useful, many wearers struggle with shopping for perfectly-sized pants. Some wonder whether they should consider bigger pants, smaller ones, or something in between.
In this guide, I walk you through the five primary factors to consider while choosing the correct size of incontinence pants. Hopefully, after reading this post, you’ll be able to shop for these products from a point of information.
1. Understand What Constitutes the Right Size
One of the great things to love about incontinent underwear is that they come in various sizes to suit different wearers. However, the first tip for choosing perfectly-sized incontinence pants is to understand what constitutes the right size.
Ideally, the best size of any incontinence product depends on three key parameters – comfort levels, leakage protection, and the effects it has on your skin.
Very large incontinence pants will feel bulky and not stay in place. Besides, such pants present higher risks of leakage.
On the other hand, very small incontinence underwear will feel too tight and uncomfortable. Such products can easily chafe the skin, making them particularly unsuitable for wearers with sensitive skin.
It’s also important to note that wearing bigger incontinence pants doesn’t necessarily translate to better leak protection. On the contrary, larger pants may actually increase the risks of leakage since these pants don’t snug too well around the leg area.
2. Measure Your Size
Now that you understand what constitutes the right incontinence pant size, the next step is to measure your waist size. That’s because incontinence products are usually labeled depending on waist sizes.
Here’s how to go about measuring your waist;
- Ask a close friend or family member (preferably a spouse) for help.
- Strip down to your hip.
- Using a tape measure, have your friend take your waist and hip measurements accurately.
The key measurements to take include the following;
- The width of your waist, right below the belly button
- The widest part of your hips
- The length of your thigh, between the knee and pelvis
Remember to relax your muscles as your friend takes the measurements. Flexing or tightening your muscles might increase the measurements by at least an inch and prevent you from buying properly sized-pants.
Also, note that most incontinence briefs come in size brackets. So, don’t fret if you don’t seem to find a product in your exact waist or hip size.
3. Know Your Gender
This is one area where many incontinence buyers often skimp on, but which might determine whether you get a comfortable product or not.
Incontinence pants can be unisex or gender-specific. The difference between male and female pants depends on the area of absorbency.
Incontinence pants for men usually have the absorbency layer set in front of the underwear. For women, the layer is at the bottom part of the underwear.
Many other factors may determine whether a pair of incontinence pants is ideal for males or females. For instance, warmer colors appeal more to women, while men are more into cooler colors.
4. Follow a Sizing Chart
Many incontinence products bear sizing charts on their labels. These charts are designed to help customers quickly hone in on the right product size.
The following is a sizing guide by CWI Medical. Although based on adult diapers in general, this chart can be an invaluable asset when shopping for specific incontinence products like pants.
|SIZE||WAIST/HIP (INCHES)||WEIGHT (POUNDS)||MEN’S SIZE||WOMEN’S SIZE|
|Youth||N/A||28 – 42||N/A||N/A|
|X-Small||18″ – 26″||42 – 90||18-26||0-3|
|Small||24″ – 32″||85 – 100||24-32||4-6|
|Medium||32″ – 44″||100 – 150||32-44||8-12|
|Large||45″ – 58″||150 – 200||44-58||14-18|
|X-Large||56″ – 64″||200 – 250||56-64||18-24|
|2X-Large||60″ – 80″||250+||60+||26-28|
|3X-Large||64″ – 96″||250+||64+||28+|
|4X-Large||70″ – 106″||250+||70+||28+|
5. Spare a Thought for Booster Pads
Despite your best efforts to buy a perfectly-sized pair of incontinence pants, you may not always find the most comfortable product. That’s especially if you have unique body features, such as legs that are disproportionately thinner than your waist.
Fortunately, there are solutions around these challenges in the form of booster pads.
Booster pads can enhance the absorbency properties of regular incontinence underwear. The pads are especially suitable for wearers who need larger pants to fit their waist but are experiencing leakages from the leg holes due to their thinner legs.
What makes booster pads so effective is that you can place them anywhere in your incontinence pants. That allows you to add extra padding right where you’re experiencing leakage.
Besides, booster pads are designed to be incredibly lightweight and won’t create discomfort in the areas they’re added to.
Incontinence pants can help you lead an active lifestyle even if battling with urinary or fecal incontinence. However, buying well-fitted incontinence underwear is key to making the most of these wearables.
Feel free to use this article as a guide the next time you go shopping for incontinence products.