Bladder Disorders Treatment Control Products

Products for bladder control assist daily incontinence management. Protective undergarments are the most common incontinence products, but they don’t work to avoid urinary spillage, only to contain it. Other bladder control products actively prevent leakage.

Absorbency Products

For many years, hospitals and nursing homes have made use of the adult diaper for absorbing urine. In recent years, advancements in the understanding of absorbency and featherweight products have led to the development of incontinence solutions that are odor free, unobtrusive and virtually invisible. The embarrassment of the adult diaper has been replaced by active, independent living for many urinary incontinence sufferers.

The two general categories of absorbency products include protective undergarments and absorbency pads. Absorbency pads may be affixed to regular undergarments to catch drips or absorb a full voiding of the bladder. Other pads are worn with belts. The pads come in various sizes and absorbencies. Even the most absorbent pads are thin enough to remain undetectable under your clothing.

Protective undergarments work like pull-up pants. They are basically disposable underpants for adults and are recommended for medium to heavy urine collection.

The advantages of absorbent pads or garments are that they allow a normal lifestyle, are treated to neutralize urine acidity to control odor and minimize skin irritation, and are designed to keep moisture away from the body. The disadvantages include the added expense and the need to monitor the moisture to avoid irritating the skin and causing infection. Non-disposable absorbent cloth garments on the market decrease the expense, but of course, they require the additional laundering overhead.

Absorbent mattress pads can be used during the night in case absorbency pads or undergarments leak or overflow.

Female Incontinence and Bladder Control Products

Female incontinence products reduce or prevent urinary spillage, and come in a variety of forms. Doctors sometimes recommend a pessary for women whose bladder has dropped from its correct position. The doctor inserts the pessary a type of stiff ring into the vagina, where it lifts the bladder into its proper position. The bladder no longer presses against the urethra, alleviating pressures that cause incontinence.

Urethral inserts give women some personal control over incontinence. One type of insert is the urethral plug. The plug is available by prescription and works like a balloon that is inflated to prevent urine passage through the urethra.

Another type of plug seals the urethra, preventing urine from leaking out. When the woman needs to urinate, she removes the insert, and then replaces it again afterwards. Interestingly, some women have found that tampons work well as a urethral plug.

Recently, urinary patches have become available. They are small foam pads with gel adhesive that fit over the urethral opening and absorb minor leakage. Most are designed to seal the urethral opening. Easier to use than urethral plugs, patches are disposable, and replaced after each use. A small shield that fits over the urethral opening is another recent innovation.

Catheters are another solution. Catheters are simply slender tubes inserted into the bladder to drain out urine. Temporary catheters can be self-inserted and are effective as a temporary solution for drainage.

A physician or medical practitioner can insert a permanent catheter into the bladder. Usually, the catheter is kept in place by inflating a small balloon at the tip of the catheter, inside the bladder. The catheter drains into an external bag affixed to the leg (or if the patient is hospitalized, the bag may be affixed to the bed frame).

In all cases in which a device is inserted into the urethra, careful monitoring of irritation and infections is recommended.

Bladder Control Products and Male Incontinence

There are fewer male incontinence products on the market, partially because women comprise the larger market for incontinence products. The male urinary system is also constructed in such a way that most inserts are not an option.

Continence devices for males are worn externally to create pressure around the urethra and prevent urine flow. A urethralocclusion pad (to occlude is to block, or prevent flow) is part of a device that fits around the penis and is positioned to apply even pressure on the urethra without obstructing blood vessels and nerves. A number of penile rings and clamps are designed to work this way.

For more severe incontinence, external urinary catheters are available. A sheath much like a condom fits over the penis, and is connected to an external bag that is usually strapped to the upper leg while awake. External catheters can also be used at night, with the bag lying on a table or on the floor (although restless sleepers may find the tubing gets twisted as they toss and turn).


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National Institutes of Health. (1999). Causes and treatments for bladder control problems in women. Retrieved February 27, 2002, from (nd). Bladder. Retrieved February 15, 2002, from