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Conventional Maxi Pads and Incontinence Pads

Having spoken to lots of friends and sometimes even internet bloggers about purchases of maxi pads versus incontinence pads, I figured I’d take the time to write a small posting regarding that. Hopefully this post will make some men aware that there is a distinct difference between pads used for menstruation and incontinence.

I’ve had several friends who’ve worked worked in drugstores and large supermarkets who have seen their fair-share of men buying the wrong product. Of course, there are men who are actually purchasing the right products for their intended purpose, but I have heard of many stories where after a period (lol) of time return to the store only to ask to get a refund/exchange for the product product required by their girlfriend/wife/daughter/mother, etc.

Poise Pads for Female Urinary Incontinence (Maximum)

Poise Pads for Female Urinary Incontinence (Maximum)

As shown in the above figure, this is a package of a well-known brand in Canada for urinary incontinence, Poise. The primary function of incontinence pads are to absorb urine and larger adult diaper versions are for absorbing feces as well. There are a variety of conditions or illnesses which lead to incontinence. One of the more common incontinence type is “stress incontinence” for women. Risk factors for stress incontinence may include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Childbirth
  • Obesity
  • Chronic coughing
  • Smoking
  • Natural aging

Stress incontinence can be simply described as an involuntary loss of urine, particularly when:

  • Coughing
  • Exercising
  • Engaging in other physical activity
  • Engaging in sexual intercourse
  • Sneezing
  • Standing
Poise pad w/ Wrapper

Poise pad w/ Wrapper

Like any disorder, incontinence is no laughing matter and can cause stress and embarrassment from sufferers of it. However, this is the intention of incontinence pads, to provide a peace-of-mind to women (and men – however they use different products) in the event of loss-of-urine. Incontinence has several levels, usually referred to as light, moderate, heavy and severe. In general, most incontinence pads are meant to tackle urine-loss only, although larger pads or ones in a diaper-form provide protection against fecal-loss as well.

In general, conventional maxi pads and incontinence pads do not carry the opposite-role well. Maxi pads are usually made to hold thicker-fluids, such as that expelled during menstruation. Incontinence pads deal with lighter-fluids well, such as urine. To a degree, both types of pads could deal with the opposite absorption-type to a degree, but will generally not “out-do” that of its counterpart. Specific maxi pads made from makers like Stayfree and Incognito claim to be able to deal with light incontinence.

Suffice to say, there are some women who have such heavy periods that they use incontinence pads – I in fact know one woman personally who has such heavy periods where she would sometimes require the use of maximum-sized incontinence pads to prevent her menstrual flow from staining her bed overnight. I guess from this anecdotal wisdom, it seems that incontinence pads work better for periods than period-pads working well for incontinence!

A note about bladder leakage is the fact that although it is common, it is not normal or an inevitability. Also, incontinence can occur at any age and under various circumstances in life. I happen to know that one of my girls suffered from incontinence when she was 14. I’m happy to report that after 2 years of diagnosis and treatment, she is now “incontinence-free” and has since then, been able to rid her cupboards of her incontinence pads.

Both period and incontinence pads are used the same, by placing it firmly in the crotch of one’s underwear to catch fluid as it is expelled from the urethra (urine) or vagina (menstrual flow). Incontinence products are not only in pad-form as mentioned, but also pantiliners, diapers, inserts or a complete underwear-replacement. Both forms of pads are also offered in winged and non-winged formats. In terms of disposal pads, they can be disposed of regularly in a sanitary-bin or regular waste-bin. For a more economical and environmentally-friendly approach, one can also use reusable nappies or incontinence articles. I think most people have a easier time washing out urine than washing/dumping their menstrual flow.

She clearly loves her Poise pads! =P

She clearly loves her Poise pads! =P

So hopefully this will help you guys out the next time you run to the store to make a purchase! Pads designed for menstruation and incontinence should be used for their intended role, unless your girl specifically tells you to buy otherwise. You don’t want to be the guy going right back to the store to have to sheepishly tell the cashier that you bought the wrong product – not only the wrong brand and absorbency – but it was completely the wrong type of pad!

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