Posted on 28/09/2017

How to fit incontinence pads and prevent leakage

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How to fit incontinence pads and prevent leakage

Thanks to the latest innovations, incontinence pads are now much more discreet and better designed to respond to the wearer's individual needs.

Some people believe that incontinence is part of the aging process or that it cannot be treated however this is not the case; over 70% of cases can be successfully treated or significantly improved with professional help and guidance.

There are lots of reasons why someone may need to use incontinence pads, which is why there are so many different types and absorbencies to choose from. It may be that:

  • A lifestyle change has prompted your urinary or faecal incontinence
  • A loved one has lost control of their bladder or bowel due to a health condition such as dementia or Alzheimer’s
  • You’re experiencing bladder weakness after giving birth
  • Damage has occurred to the muscle or nerves around your groin
  • You’ve had prostate cancer and are experiencing post-operative incontinence

The sheer range of incontinence pads available can often be mind-boggling to a new wearer, or to a family carer helping a loved one fit an incontinence product. But we’ve got some handy tips and information to help answer some of the more common questions you may have.

What are incontinence pads made up of?

The size and fit may vary but, generally speaking, incontinence pads include:

  • Top-Dry layer – this assists in providing a dry surface against the wearer's skin to aid good skin integrity and comfort
  • Fluff – this is the long fluff fibres which help to spread urine through the pad, to prevent it from lying in one concentrated spot and potentially causing damage to the skin
  • Super Absorbent Polymer (SAP) – an innovative material which absorbs 33 times its weight in urine, reducing the amount of fluff needed in the pad and making it thinner for discretion, without compromising on performance
  • Waterproof textile back sheet – it is often thought that due to the textile feel it is not waterproof, however the technology in the material ensures it is waterproof whilst also having a soft texture
  • A wetness indicator – designed to let you know when a pad needs changing

*TIP* If you see breaks in the lines of the wetness indicator, the incontinence pad has not been fitted properly and may explain any leakages.

How do I make sure my incontinence pads don’t leak?

One of the most common causes of incontinence pads leaking is failure to activate the leakage barriers on the insides of the pad. Adopting the “pinch, pinch, pull” method is the best way to ensure the leakage barriers are activated.

Pinch pinch pull
When opening the pad: pinch the top and bottom together before stretching lengthways

*IMPORTANT* do not shake the pad as this can disturb the core, affecting absorbance and performance.

If you’re fitting an incontinence pad on someone else, here are some instructions which may help make things easier. You can find more information about the Abena Abri-San Premium Pads the Abena Abri-Form Premium All-In-One Pads and the Abena Abri-Flex - Premium on our website.

Why are my incontinence pads leaking?

If your incontinence pads are leaking on a regular basis, ensure that you’re following the instructions above to activate the leakage barrier. If this doesn’t solve the leaking, you’ll need to review the size and absorbency of your incontinence pads. Remember that the size of the product relates to your waist and hip measurement (when choosing an all-in-one product or pull up) and the absorbency level relates to urine output.

If you choose an incontinence pad with an absorbency level that is too high for your needs, this may cause unnecessary damage to your skin. Similarly, if the capacity of your incontinence pads are too small then they won’t give you the absorbency you require and you risk potential leakages.

Additionally, when wearing a two-piece system (an incontinence pad and fixation pants) it is suggested that the legs on the fixation pants are pulled into the groin to support the pad further and provide a close fit to prevent leakages.

Barrier creams are a great way to take care of your skin, but must be used SPARINGLY – too much will cause the excess cream to be absorbed into the incontinence pad, significantly reducing its effectiveness and absorption. Moisture lesions in the UK are increasing year-on-year so using a good barrier cream properly should help to ensure your skin is well looked after. If you have not used a barrier cream before we would advise you to speak with a health care professional to find the one which is right for your needs.

Moisture lesion example

You can also take a look at the Abena Scented Washing Foam, which contains allantoin to help reduce inflammation and the Abena Intimate Care Sensitive Wash which is particularly great for new mothers who are looking for a gentle, all-over body wash.

Are there any other incontinence products which could make me more comfortable?

For confidence at night, you may want to consider a bed pad such as the Abena Abri-Soft Classic Disposable Bed Pads which has a waterproof backing and sealed edges to ensure full leakage protection. Alternatively, if you’re living with moderate to heavy incontinence the Abena Abri-Soft Excellent Disposable Bed Protectors boast a highly absorbent fluff pulp core to provide a greater level of liquid absorption and retention.

*Important* neither of the above should be necessary if you wear the correct body-worn product to bed, such as an incontinence pad.

To give you an idea of what steps are being taken to continually improve continence wear, we spoke to Alison Weller, Business Development Manager at Abena UK, and asked her about the latest innovations to hit the market:

“At Abena, we continually invest in state-of-the-art machinery to ensure we provide users with the very best products on the market. We were the first manufacturer to introduce a product that bridges the gap between the largest children's nappy and the smallest adult continence product, The Abri-Form Junior, and in 2016 we launched our full range of bariatric continence care products, consisting of the largest pads in the UK.”

Additionally, Abena have now also launched their “Abri-Bag Zip Bag” – a fabulous product designed for the disposal of incontinence products. Opaque and very resistant to tearing, this product is particularly handy for men living with incontinence who find they need to change their incontinence pad when out in public. Unlike ladies, there are no sanitary bins available in men’s toilets, so the Abri-Bag enables men to dispose of their incontinence pad discreetly, with a secure zip to contain any odours.

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