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Incontinence products - Urinary incontinence

Incontinence pads and other products can help if you're waiting for a diagnosis or treatment to work.

Products and devices for urinary incontinence include:

  • pads and pants
  • bed and chair protection
  • catheters and penile sheaths
  • skincare and hygiene products
  • specially adapted clothing and swimwear

Pads and pull-up pants

The most popular incontinence products are absorbent pads. These are worn inside underwear to soak up wee.

Pads and pull-up pants use the same technology as babies' nappies. They have a 'hydrophobic' layer which draws wee away from the surface of the product. This means your skin stays dry.

If you have mild to moderate incontinence you can buy thin, discreet pads or pull-up pants for men and women. You can get these in many supermarkets and pharmacies.

For people with severe leaks, public health nurses can supply incontinence pads.

Using tampons for stress incontinence

Placing a tampon in your vagina puts pressure on the neck of your bladder to stop leaks on exertion. Do not use super-size tampons to prevent sudden leaks if you have stress incontinence.

Using tampons for the management of urinary incontinence in women is not recommended. But tampons can be used when necessary, to prevent leaks. For example, during exercise.

Appliances and bedding

Other useful incontinence products for more severe leaks include:

  • urinals (devices that collect urine)
  • sheaths and drainage systems, if you have a penis

A variety of incontinence bedding is also available. For example, washable bed pads that sit on top of the mattress and soak up any overnight leaks. The pads stay dry to the touch and they can be useful for trips away from home.

How to get incontinence products from the HSE

You may be able to get incontinence products from the HSE. To qualify for this you will need to be assessed by a healthcare professional.

Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE

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This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.

Page last reviewed: 10 August 2021
Next review due: 10 August 2024