The Truth About Adult Diapers

Somebody has to talk about it.  It’s something you didn’t learn in college, and you probably never expected to give a thought to adult incontinence. The terminology can be confusing, and the number of options can be simply mind-numbing.

When I had my two teen-aged boys at home—both severely disabled, both with incontinence issues—I was always searching for products that would be reliable. A mountain of laundry was the last thing I needed on a daily basis. I also dreaded the thought of my kids suffering the embarrassment of wet pants in public. When I went to work for a medical supply company, an unexpected benefit was that I learned all about products that are out there for people with incontinence issues of all kinds. I thought it might be helpful to walk you through what I learned.


Contrary to department store terminology, briefs are disposable diapers for grown-ups. When you take them out of the package, briefs are open at the sides and fasten with tabs. Briefs are best for people who are unable to use the toilet without assistance. They are also good for people who use the toilet reliably during the day but are unreliable about getting up to use the bathroom at night—so they may just use briefs at night. They are the most absorbent incontinence product and are available from moderate to super absorbency. Happily, most briefs now have a skin-friendly breathable, cloth-like outer cover.

Protective Underwear

This term refers to disposable pull-on style “diapers”. They usually do not have tabs at the side, although there are some that do have them—but they are for size adjustment rather than for fastening, per se. Protective underwear is great for people who can use the bathroom independently, both day and night. They can be very absorbent. They can be much more appealing for the person who has to wear them; especially if gender-specific varieties are chosen. They can be pretty! Or very masculine. The only downside to protective underwear is that there is no absorbent fill on the stretchy sides of the product.  It has been my experience that urine can go straight through on the sides, especially overnight; which is not what anybody wants to wake up to.  

Caring for adults with incontinence issues

Caring for an adult who is incontinent may be a whole new world to you. Or maybe you just want to make your world better. Our products will make life easier for you. Check our website for additional products, like bed pads, odor control products, and even adaptive pants that make it easier to change an adult's diapers.

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