A friend was at a fancy party a few months after giving birth to her adorable baby girl. That night, dressed glamorously in a long gown with a glass in hand, my friend laughed loudly at a joke. Then, to her horror, she realized that she was peeing on the floor! Thinking quickly, she laughingly bumped her husband’s arm and deliberately sloshed her drink down her dress and all over the floor. Feigning clumsiness and requesting napkins, she crouched down to clean up the floor then excused herself to the ladies’ room. Like many of us post-partum, muscles are more relaxed which means that sneezing or deep laughter results in uncontrollable pee. After that, she spent time googling tips for finding leakproof incontinence panties to avoid future embarrassment.
What is incontinence?
Urinary incontinence is the loss of bladder control. Surprisingly, incontinence affects twice as many women as men. This is because of pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause affecting muscles in women’s pelvic floors. It’s been that over 4 out of 10 women ages 65 and older experience urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence is a symptom, not a disease. It can be caused by everyday habits, underlying medical conditions or physical problems.
What can you do about incontinence?
The causes for urinary incontinence depend on a variety of factors. So, please go see your doctor about any incontinence challenges you may have. Treatment, such as pelvic floor exercises, or a combination of treatments may be needed depending on the type and severity of your unique situation.
However, products are available to reduce the inconvenience of leaking urine, such as pads and protective garments. Most incontinence underwear is no longer the traditionally thought of “adult diaper” but rather panties easily worn under clothing. Since I am a lingerie maker, my focus is on the reusable panties. And, it is a bonus that they are also better for the environment!
How leakproof are panties?
Leak proof underwear means that the gusset (crotch) of the underwear has both a waterproof layer and absorbent layer. Typically, there are several thin layers of various absorbent fabrics, which varies depending on the brand. Many companies also include an odor resistant fabric. Although there are different reports about what these fabrics contain, I recommend looking for organic to the extent possible to help your most sensitive skin areas breathe.
Many people assume they can use period panties for incontinence. While the theory sounds good, in practice it won’t always meet your needs. The volume of pee from incontinence tends to be higher (8tsp) than the volume of liquid that period panties are designed for (3tsp). So, unless you have extremely light incontinence issues, do not go for period panties as a replacement. Use something specifically designed for incontinence.
Our private parts need to breathe. Air circulation helps reduce things you don’t want to experience ‘down there’ like funky smells, yeast, rashes or itches. Wearing panties containing moisture isn’t healthy for long periods of time. It is similar to babies and the frequency of which they have diaper changes to avoid rashes. Therefore, look for products with more breathable fabrics – like organic cotton or Oeko Tex certifications. So, while you may be wearing protection panties all day, it is smart to change regularly and give yourself a chance to air out.
Help save the planet
Most reusable incontinence panties don’t contain plastic. Nor do they add to landfill waste. While it isn’t always easy, convenient or possible to have reusable incontinence panties, the more often you can choose reusable washable incontinence panties, the better for mother nature. Finding reusables is getting easier and easier. So, please support your planet!
Where to Get Reusable Leakproof Incontinence Panties
Please note this is not a review of reusable products only. I have not tried any of them. It is just a compendium for you to start your search for what products might be right for you.
Willow – Continental USA
Modibodi – Australia
Speax (from the makers of Thinx): USA
Confitex Underwear– USA
Time for Me – heavy absorbance – USA