I got a few comments on my Pee! Panties! Poise! post asking, why a pad specifically for bladder control? What’s the difference between a bladder control pad and a pad used for a period? What’s the best pad for bladder leakage?
I didn’t have an answer so I decided to figure it out. I was honestly expecting to find out it was a bunch of propaganda spewed by companies selling bladder control products to get people to buy something that wasn’t totally necessary, so I searched for an answer from an unbiased source. The following explanation is from the Women’s Incontinence page of the National Incontinence website; however, each brand website I visited essentially stated the same thing:
The main difference between the two pads is the type of fluid they’re meant to absorb. Menstrual pads are designed to absorb menstrual flow, which comes out much slower than urine. Bladder control pads, on the other hand, are designed to absorb the rapid dispersion of urine. They’re made with polymer fabrics that pull moisture away from the skin so that you stay dry, comfortable, and odor-free. Bladder control pads neutralize acidic urine, which can cause skin rashes if left unchanged. Some incontinence pads, such as Prevail Pads, feature a special gel that prevents skin infections caused by long exposure to urine.
So although you may be tempted to use sanitary napkins to help with urinary leakage, they won’t offer the same level of protection and comfort as incontinence pads.
Have you ever experienced a pad bulking up on you if it absorbed something other than your period? I have. Now I know why. And I will also throw it out there that things did get a bit itchy if I couldn’t change the pad right away. (Gross, but I’m trying to be honest.) I’m going to be rethinking my liner/pad of choice if I get pregnant again.
Poise isn’t the only brand out there. I grabbed it because I saw that brand being promoted more than others. Maybe it was the fact they used Kirstie Alley as a spokesperson versus a Jane Doe? I don’t know. Here are the other brands I looked into for this post:
- Poise seems to be a leading brand — check out how you can #RecycleYourPeriodPad! (as much as I’d love a fluffy frame, I still need my pads, but this was a good chuckle).
- Always sells period pads, but also has a line for those with bladder control issues, called Always Discreet.
- JustGoGirl sells pads for those who experience incontinence when exercising. I’d never heard of them before, so I thought I’d pass on their info.
- Depend underwear — For some reason, I thought they also sold pads for women, but it turns out they only have them for men (actually they use manly words such as “guards” and “shields” instead of “pads”). Their website also had a bunch of useful information about incontinence.
And here are some products I didn’t know existed until I started researching (please note I didn’t research these, but I’ve included the links in case you want to):
- Poise Impressa: a tampon-like product that helps stop bladder leaks before they happen!
- Vaginal Weights: from the sound of it, insert the weight into your vagina and do your Kegels!
- Kegelmaster: this thing looks like a vibrator but opes up to apply pressure to your vaginal walls while you do your Kegels. It’s also supposed to heighten sexual pleasure, so WIN! (I guess?)
I didn’t find anything saying you can’t wear a Lady Time liner or pad for the occasional leakage, so if it’s working for you I say great! I can see how it wouldn’t make sense to buy a totally different product for something that happens only a handful of times a month. This is my first time using a product for incontinence, so I really can’t say which brand I prefer. And of course the days I’ve actually remembered to wear a liner have been the days I haven’t had a leakage issue, so I can’t vouch for how the product is working for me so far, though I do love knowing my panties are protected just in case while I’m over here sneezing and coughing up a lung as various viruses take their toll on us this winter.