a diaper with tabs
Posted in Best practices incontinence

How much do you know about incontinence briefs

Key points

  • The incontinence pads for adults include diapers, briefs, and inserts.
  • These are structured into three layers: inner, middle, and outer.
  • The inner layer lies in contact with the skin, permeates urine and body fluids into the middle absorbent layer.
  • The outer layer does not allow to leaking of urine out of the diaper.

Stroke carers cannot evade the problem of urine /fecal incontinence which is one of the most challenging. It drains out all the energy, innumerable number of hours, and money.

Stroke carers need to have a very good understanding of incontinence pads in order to manage the urine incontinence satisfactorily. The knowledge definitely saves not only the carer’s money but improves the quality of life of the carer as well as the person living with a stroke too.

My aim of this post is to broaden the readers’ knowledge about adult diapers and briefs; however, I invite caregivers to share your knowledge, experience, and new information that this post does not include. It will definitely be an immense help for those who are facing the difficulties I spell out here.

Before going any further, I invite you to read one of my earlier posts about the anatomy of the bladder. because you will have an understanding of various forms of urine incontinence that occur such as “stress incontinence” and “urge incontinence”.

Adult diapers or briefs?

First of all, a word of caution: the word, “diaper” may carry a certain degree of stigma for an adult because it is a thing for babies – the adult version of a nappy; hence adults may prefer the word, “brief” to “diaper”. I believe this is crucial in protecting the affected’s dignity. However, even the government of Canada website uses the term “adult diapers”.

When to use?

Adult diapers and briefs are intended for those who experience “moderate to heavy” urine incontinence. This is what the book says. But determining the “moderate-heavy” incontinence is challenging. Experts agree that those who pass more than 100 ml urine within 24 hours are having “moderate-heavy incontinence”. And, those who pass less than 100ml are experiencing a “light” degree of incontinence.

How do you decide that?

I will deal with that problem later. You need to be able to estimate the leaking volume because this is one of the criteria manufacturers adhere to when producing incontinence products.

First of all, I will describe here the main parts of a diaper or a brief.

Anatomy of adult diapers and briefs

A standard diaper consists of three layers: the inner layer, the middle pad, and the outer layer. The following is the basic structure of an adult incontinence brief.

Structure of an incontinence brief
Three layers of a diaper

The inner layer (top sheet) – the inner layer

The inner layer lies in direct contact with the user’s skin; the fabric here is non-woven material to enable urine and other body fluids permeating down into the middle absorbent pad.

The middle absorbent pad – the middle layer

The absorbent pad – the most important section – consists of super absorbent polymer – of course, a synthetic type – which can absorb water as much as 20 times more than its weight. Some products contain fluff pulp too.

The outer layer (back sheet) – the outer layer

Unlike the inner layer, this one is made up of woven fabric designed not to allow trapped body fluids seeping through onto clothes or bed linen.

Elasticated wraps and self-adhesive tabs

Since a diaper is an adult version of a nappy, it holds itself with its elasticated wraps around the thighs and self-adhesive resealable tabs around the waist.

What are the adult diapers and briefs?

Broadly speaking, adult urine absorbent types exist in two forms: pull-ups and diapers with tabs (tape-attachment diapers). Most of these products are disposable; few varieties exist as reusable too.

Briefs (Pull-ups)

Briefs are also called “pull-ups” which are like shorts – you can call it as a type of underwear too – to which the absorbent materials are built into it. Those are ideal for those who are not bed-bound it does not hinder walking and other body movements. However, sometimes those who cannot sit or stand, wear this type too.

Pull-ups come in various sizes: small or medium, large or extra-large, and XXX large. The government of Canada website publishes item numbers and prices per each size for provinces and territories.

Diaper with tabs

This type is ideal for bed-bound clients. It also comes in different sizes like pull-ups. The advantage of this type is that we can adjust with the tab to make it snug fit properly. Companies sold these under the term “adult briefs (tape-on)”. According to the Cochrane research database, this type is the most cost-effective one for men with moderate-heavy urine incontinence.