Although most common in women over the age of 50, urinary incontinence can occur at any age. When it happens, it is important to find the right leak-proof protection to ensure that you remain dry all day without that bulky feeling, so you can go about your life feeling confident and ready to take on the world.
What is incontinence?
Urinary incontinence is leaking of urine that you can't control. Many American women suffer from urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence is not just a medical problem. It can affect emotional, psychological and social life. Many people who have urinary incontinence are afraid to do normal daily activities because they don't want to be too far from the bathroom. Ultimately, urinary incontinence can keep people from enjoying life. Many people think urinary incontinence is just part of getting older. But it's not. And it can be managed or treated.
What are the main causes of incontinence?
A quarter to a third women in the U.S. suffer from urinary incontinence. That means millions of Americans. About 33 million have overactive bladder (also known as OAB) representing symptoms of urgency, frequency and with or without urge incontinence.
Studies show that many things increase risk. For example, aging is linked to urinary incontinence. Pregnancy, delivery, and number of children increase the risk in women. Women who have had a baby have higher rates of urinary incontinence. The risk increases with the number of children. This is true for cesarean section (c-section) and vaginal delivery.
Women who develop urinary incontinence while pregnant are more likely to have it afterward. Women after menopause (whose periods have stopped) may develop urinary incontinence. This may be due to the drop in estrogen (the female sex hormone). Taking estrogen, however, has not been shown to help urinary incontinence.
Not all incontinence is long term. Some causes are temporary so that the incontinence ends when the cause goes away. Vaginal infections can cause temporary incontinence. Irritation, medications, constipation and restricted mobility can cause it. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a common cause of temporary incontinence and should be addressed.
Types of incontinence
Urinary incontinence is not a disease. It is a symptom of many conditions. Causes may differ for men and women. But it is not hereditary. And it is not just a normal part of aging. These are the four types of urinary incontinence:
Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI)
With SUI, weak pelvic muscles let urine escape. It is one of the most common types of urinary incontinence –– mostly in older women. SUI happens when the pelvic floor muscles have stretched and physical activity puts pressure on the bladder. Then the bladder leaks. Leaking may happen with exercise, walking, bending, lifting, or even sneezing and coughing. It can be a few drops of urine to a tablespoon or more. SUI can be mild, moderate or severe.
There are no FDA approved medicines to treat SUI yet, but there are things you can do. Ways to manage SUI include "Kegel" exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor. Lifestyle changes, vaginal and urethral devices, pads, and even surgery are other ways to manage SUI.
Overactive Bladder (OAB)
OAB is another common type of urinary incontinence. It is also called "urgency" incontinence. OAB affects more than 30% of men and 40% of women in the U.S. It affects people's lives. They may restrict activities. They may fear they will suddenly have to urinate when they aren't near a bathroom. They may not even be able to get a good night's sleep. Some people have both SUI and OAB and this is known as mixed incontinence.
With OAB, your brain tells your bladder to empty –– even when it isn't full. Or the bladder muscles are too active. They contract (squeeze) to pass urine before your bladder is full. This causes the urge (need) to urinate. The main symptom of OAB is the sudden urge to urinate. You can't control or ignore this "gotta go" feeling. Another symptom is having to urinate many times during the day and night.
Mixed Incontinence (SUI and OAB)
Some people leak urine with activity (SUI) and often feel the urge to urinate (OAB). This is mixed incontinence. The person has both SUI and OAB.
With overflow incontinence, the body makes more urine than the bladder can hold or the bladder is full and cannot empty thereby causing it to leak urine. In addition, there may be something blocking the flow or the bladder muscle may not contract (squeeze) as it should.
One symptom is frequent urinating of a small amount. Another symptom is a constant drip, called "dribbling. This type of urinary incontinence is rare in women.
Symptoms of incontinence
The key symptom of SUI is leaking when you are active. The activity and amount of leaking depends on how severe the SUI is.
The main symptom of OAB is a sudden, strong urge to urinate that you can't control. The urge may or may not cause your bladder to leak urine.
Mixed incontinence (SUI and OAB)
The symptoms of mixed incontinence include leaking and a sudden, strong urge to urinate. Mixed incontinence is when you have more than one type of incontinence. Most often, people with mixed incontinence have SUI and OAB. Frequent small urinations and constant dribbling are the main symptoms of overflow incontinence. The bladder is unable to empty. Symptoms happen when the bladder is full. This type is less often in women however, dropped bladders, prior bladder surgeries or diabetes may affect this.
What do women wear for incontinence?
The most popular incontinence products are absorbent pads that are worn inside underwear to soak up urine. Pads and pull-up pants use the same technology as babies' diapers, and have a "hydrophobic" layer which draws urine away from the surface of the product, Another option is leak proof underwear.
How to Deal with Urinary Incontinence
Many people find that incontinence damages their self-confidence, and they don’t feel fully able to relax and be themselves. Fortunately, the first and biggest step toward dealing with urinary incontinence (after making sure it’s to be expected with your doctor) is finding the right incontinence underwear.
While pads and adult diapers are often uncomfortable and damaging to our self-esteem, period underwear and incontinence underwear is not. They look exactly like your normal underwear, and feel very similar too. They are also much more likely to keep in those little leaks than pads, which can shift and leave you feeling insecure.
What is the most absorbent incontinence product?
Assuming that you have heavy urinary incontinence, the most absorbent incontinence products are adult pull-up underwear designed for overnight, 8-hour leak protection. As practical as these are for some, this type of incontinence product can cause embarrassment, even if they only need to be worn overnight. Thankfully, there are more and more brands (like us!) designing much more attractive and comfortable incontinence products in the form of washable incontinence underwear for a range of incontinence levels.
What is incontinence underwear?
Incontinence underwear looks much the same as underwear you wear every day, except they are made with a waterproof lining and a built-in ‘pad’ that can absorb liquid. Our leak proof underwear for incontinence is machine-washable so you can use it time and time again. It is available in various absorbency levels, styles, and colors.
Is incontinence underwear better than pads?
Incontinence underwear is much more discreet than wearing an incontinence pad as there is little to no bulk! It simply looks like regular underwear. Wearing pads for long periods of time can make your skin sore as the materials of incontinence pads can be rough against the most sensitive area of your body. Incontinence underwear is made of much softer materials that can mold to the shape of your body, making for a much more comfortable, body-friendly product.
Washable incontinence underwear is also much better for the environment than pads. Typical incontinence pads need to be disposed of after maybe only a few hours of being worn, going straight into landfill. When looked after properly, incontinence underwear can last for a number of years before they become ineffective, both reducing the impact on the environment and saving you money on needing to buy pads regularly.
What is the best underwear for incontinence?
Incontinence underwear comes in the form of adult diapers, pull-up underwear, or washable panties. Although adult diapers and pull-up underwear is good underwear for heavy incontinence, where you have little control, they are generally unattractive due to a large amount of bulk and can make you feel self-conscious no matter what you’re wearing on top. Much like pads, these products are also disposable so they negatively impact the environment, and they can be costly if you are purchasing them on a regular basis.
On the other hand, washable panties look the same as normal underwear so, with no added bulk, you will never feel embarrassed. With absorbency options to fit your incontinence level and different styles depending on what makes you feel most comfortable, washable panties are the best incontinence underwear for light to moderate urinary incontinence.
If you’re looking for incontinence underwear to support you so you can go about your daily life, Proof washable incontinence underwear is the reusable underwear for urinary incontinence that allows you to feel strong and feminine, regardless of life’s mishaps.
Can Proof be used for incontinence?
Of course! Proof underwear has been specifically designed to deal with life’s leaks, whether that just be a sprinkle of moisture or a larger ‘accident’. All of our undies are made with breathable, leakproof materials and designed with Leak-Loc® Technology to prevent all liquid from escaping. Proof underwear uses moisture-wicking linings that work to draw moisture away from the skin and into the absorbent middle layer to ensure that you are always comfortable and dry.
Our Heavy and Super-Heavy solutions are especially perfect for moderate incontinence with leakproof technology built-in to the front, back, and gusset of the panties which will keep you completely dry all day long.
Learn more about our patented Leak-Loc® technology on our How It Works page.
How often does incontinence pads/underwear need to be changed?
This is really up to your body and the absorbency level of the underwear you’re wearing. Proof underwear is designed to be comfortable enough for all-day wear and it will remain leakproof for as long as you need. Many women use one pair during the day and change to a clean pair overnight, although, if you have light incontinence, you can be comfortable in the same pair of Proof undies from one morning right the way through to the next. Because our underwear is anti-microbial, you can comfortably wear them all day long.
Where can I buy incontinence underwear?
If you’re looking to buy the best leak-proof underwear for incontinence, Proof has got you covered. At Proof, you can shop by Absorbency, Leak Type, or Style to that you can be sure to find the best fit for you no matter what your needs are. We recommend buying enough Proof undies so that you have 1 or 2 pairs for during the day (depending on your incontinence level) and 1 pair to wear overnight. You can even Build a Bundle of 3, 5, or 7 pairs and save up to 20% on your perfect Proof undies.
Dealing with urinary incontinence can be a difficult thing for many women as it often makes them feel self-conscious and can never fully relax due to fear of a potential leak. Using period panties for incontinence from Proof is the perfect solution to both these problems. With attractive, comfortable designs and Leak-Loc® technology, you can attain all-day dryness no matter what life throws your way.
Is Proof leak proof underwear for incontinence washable?
Yes, it is washable and reusable! One of the biggest benefits of switching to Proof is that our ultra absorbent undies are machine-washable and reusable, so you can use them again and again.
Benefits of Proof Leak Proof Underwear
Not only does this keep single-use plastic period and incontinence products out of landfills and oceans, but can save you money over the lifetime of your Proof undies. Proof undies look and feel just like normal undies but have built-in, leak proof® technology.
Our Quick-Wick liner pulls moisture away from the body and into the super absorbent core. Antimicrobial fibers inhibit the growth of bacteria and reduce odor, helping you to feel fresh and dry. Leak-Loc® edges seal in leaks and prevent liquid from escaping the undies.