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Continence (bladder control) aids are products which have been specifically developed to provide dignity and confidence to people who have a continence problem. For some people, continence aids may be used temporarily in conjunction with medical treatment, or as a long term solution when the incontinence is irreversible.

Types of Aids

Absorbent pads 

Some pads are used in conjunction with a firm fitting pant, whilst others are worn as an “all in one” device. All pads are constructed so that they absorb urine. Some pads are constructed so that the moisture is kept away from the skin. Pads are available in a range of sizes and varying levels of absorbency. Some pads are disposable (designed for one use only) whilst others are reusable (can be used many times). Disposable and reusable pads, which are shaped as pouches, are available for males.

Absorbent bed sheets and chair covers 

All absorbent sheets and covers are constructed to absorb urine. Some sheets/covers are constructed so that moisture is kept away from the skin. Sheets/covers come in both disposable and reusable materials.

Collection devices 

These include aids which are attached to, or inserted into, the body such as condom drainage (penile sheaths) and catheters. They also include urinals, bedpans and commodes. There are specifically designed urinals for males and females. There are also disposable urinals which can be used when travelling.

How to select an continence aid

When selecting a suitable AID consider the following:

  • Your life style – If you like to socialise, an aid which is not bulky and noisy and is easily disposed of is important. If you are either very active or are confined to a bed or chair, thought must be given to whether you need a body fitting aid or one to protect the chair or bed.
  • The type and severity of leakage – If you leak only occasionally, then you will need only a light pad or pouch. If you flood, a high absorbency pad will be required, probably with a waterproof backing. If you have problems controlling your bowels, you will need a large pad.
  • Your mobility and dexterity – Do you have difficulty putting on pants? If so, you may need an “all in one” aid. If you have problems parting your legs, you may require absorbent sheets or chair covers. Can you use buttons? If not, you need to select aids which do not have fasteners.
  • Storage facilities – When using disposable products ask how to dispose of the aids after use. It is usually suggested that the disposal pads are placed in a tied, opaque garbage bag.


DISCLAIMER: This information is an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, pharmacist, nurse or naturopath before following any medical regimen to see whether it is safe and effective for you.