“Politicians are like diapers, they need to be changed often, and for the same reasons.”  - Mark Twain

This quote has been appearing on social media a lot lately and while this clever and light-hearted quip could easily be from Mark Twain a political cynic and brilliant wordsmith, he never actually said or wrote it.

Yet the fact that this quote is spreading without people questioning it, parallels a common unquestioning assumption we have encountered with many incontinence product users when it comes to product absorbency and performance.

While absorbency, which is often shown using “droplets”, is a consideration when selecting the right product, the truth is leakage is rarely a result of insufficient absorbency.

Instead the most successful formula for preventing leak and achieving the right performance for your needs is:

The right fit,
the right style
with the
right amount of absorbency
and the right application.

In other words, if any of these factors isn’t right then you’re wasting your money on buying higher absorbency products. Let's explore that in more detail.


The Right Fit

The right fit can depend on the style, size and brand of product being used. Whether you use a pad, pullup pant or nappy, incontinence products aren’t any different to anything you need to wear. Some styles, sizes and brands will suit your body shape better than others.

For example a pullup may fit well on the waist but not so well on the leg. You may need to try another size, another brand or consider changing style to a pad or wrap if you consistently find that your waist to leg ratio is causing a poor fit.

The Right Style

The style of product you select not only has to factor in fit but also your type of incontinence and lifestyle. If you have moderate to high urinary incontinence, disposable continence management products aren’t always able to absorb fast enough, so the product needs to have wings and elastic cuffs to keep the liquid contained while the absorption material does its work. These devices have to fit right in order to do their job right – choosing a product with higher absorbency won’t necessarily improve performance.

Another factor is your lifestyle, pads aren’t always the best option for those with higher levels of urinary incontinence who are still very active. Even with wings and a good fit there is a greater likelihood of leak due to product movement.

The Right Absorbency

So let’s return to the question of “how much absorbency do I really need?”. Generally for products with the right fit and style it’s probably less than you think.

The urge to urinate usually starts when the bladder is holding around 200mL and the total capacity of a bladder is typically around 300-400mL during the daytime and as high as 800mL at night. In a typical day most people pass between 800mL to as much as 2000mL in a 24 hour period.

These are rough guides to help you plan what product might be best for you. We do however recommend you aim for higher absorbency than what you believe you need for that extra peace of mind, and of course also allowing for the practical use of the product which doesn’t always ensure even distribution.

Another issue around focusing on absorbency is that you may end up wearing a much bulkier product than you actually require reducing comfort and increasing self-consciousness.

The Right Application

High absorbency is not a substitute for the right application, this is why ensuring you find a product that fits both your needs and budget is so important.

It can be tempting to wear a product a little longer to save money but this is a false economy as you increase the risk of skin irritation and the need for barrier creams and even secondary health issues. Plus the overuse of barrier cream can actually reduce product effectiveness as the excess cream is absorbed into the incontinence pad, significantly reducing its absorption.

Another common issue with application is failure to activate the leakage barriers on the inside of pull-ups and nappies, put simply if these are left firmly stuck to the inside of the product they won’t do their job.

A Real Life Example

So let’s say you are somewhat mobile and have full bladder voids during the day and wish to change every time this occurs, then you’ll need a product like a pull-up with a capacity of at least 500mL, perhaps even as high as 1000mL. For night-time use you’ll need a product that works better when lying down, namely a nappy style (also called slip or wrap), with an absorbency over 1000mL, perhaps even approaching 2000mL. For added peace of mind you may want to use a bed protector. Any more absorbency than that and your body simply doesn’t produce enough urine to fully utilise the product.


How We Apply This To Our Products

The ConfidenceClub range was designed following these principles to give you comfortable products that fit well, have minimal bulkiness and are cost effective so you can afford regular changes throughout the day to reduce the risks to your skin health because you aren’t paying a premium for absorbency that is beyond your needs.


Do You Need Help Choosing?

Try our product selector tool or speak with our customer care team to help you answer your product questions.



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