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Male Urinary Incontinence Products - What Are Your Options?

Male Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence, commonly referred to as loss of bladder control, is a common problem that affects millions in America. It can affect people of all genders and ages, although it becomes more common with age. There are several different types of urinary incontinence, but the two most common are Urge incontinence (overactive bladder) and Stress incontinence.

  • Urge incontinence is when you have (frequent) urges to go even though your bladder is not full
  • Stress incontinence occurs when pressure is put on the bladder, like when you sneeze, cough or laugh

While urinary incontinence can range in severity and may only be temporary for some people, dealing with it is often a troubling prospect. Men, especially, may feel uncomfortable talking about or dealing with it. But here's what you need to know...

    Incontinence is a symptom, not a condition in its own right, and it’s important to understand what’s causing it. Most commonly it is weak pelvic floor muscles that can occur as we age. But there can be other causes, so, if you haven’t already, seek medical advice; your doctor will be able to prescribe treatment to alleviate the symptoms and help fully address your situation. This article provides an overview of causes as well as some of the treatment options available.

    There are very good underwear options to help cope with incontinence. We know that many men are very skeptical about incontinence products and often balk at the idea of using them.

    But the truth is that the right incontinence product, used the right way, can alleviate worry, pretty much immediately. Like the minute you put it on -- you'll feel protected.

    So, guys, stay with us here, you might find this useful.

    Product Options for Male Urinary Incontinence

    There are various types of male urinary incontinence products available on the market to suit different needs and comfort. Here are the main choices:

    • Disposable Pads - Shields and Guards
    • Disposable Underwear - Pull-up Briefs and Adult Diapers with Tabs
    • Washable, reusable underwear - Washable Briefs and Pocket Briefs for disposable pads
    Note that each product type offers different absorbency level options. For example, depending on the brand, there might be 2-3 or more absorbency levels of disposable guards. Same for both underwear product types.
      urinary incontinence product options - disposable underwear and pads, washable incontinence underwear

      What are the Differences, Pros & Cons of Each?

      male urinary incontinence product options

      Which is Right for You? How to Choose Adult Protective Underwear.

      Now that it comes down to actually choosing adult protective underwear for yourself, we know it can be an emotional experience since there can be feelings of embarrassment and awkwardness. But it's essential to keep in mind that urinary incontinence requires proactive management to deal with and to find the solutions that work for you.

      The process may be unnerving at first, but dealing with it is vital to living a high quality of life, as well as having the confidence and freedom to be able to do the things you enjoy. So, how do you find the best option to fit your needs? Consider these 4 main factors:

      adult protective underwear - how to choose

      Protection level

      This, of course, is the most important factor. So, step one in choosing is to determine the level of protection you need. We've grouped need levels into a few categories to provide a quick view of how the product options align. You can refer back to the chart above for the pros and cons of each product, and you might also find our Absorbency Guide page helpful.

      • Drips and occasional light dribbles - all of the products mentioned above have very good options to handle this need level. Choosing between them is a matter of personal preference based on the other 3 factors outlined below, as well as the pros and cons of each product.
      • Frequent dribbles to light leaks - same as above, all of the product options can handle this need level, so choose based on the other factors involved.
      • Moderate level leaks, but not a full bladder void - the highest absorbency guards (pads) might be an option here depending on leak frequency and exact volume. However, it's safest to opt for either disposable pull-up briefs or washable reusables of the appropriate absorbency level.
      • Heavy leaks, or frequent moderate leaks - the best option for this level is in the disposable underwear category, pull-up briefs or diapers with tabs.

        Lifestyle

        It used to be that men were stuck with little choice in urinary incontinence underwear - adult diapers were it. Back then lifestyle wouldn't even have been a relevant factor in choosing. But now we think it's the second most important factor, after protection level. And, here's how lifestyle comes into play when choosing from today's men's protective underwear options. 

        • Exercise and Activity - if you are very active, as in exercise and sports, then washables are the best choice, assuming that your incontinence needs are light to moderate. Why? Because a good quality washable is:

          • More comfortable because it's made of fabrics, not bulky, less flexible papery material
          • Fits closer and moves with you, so gives more secure protection when you move
          • Gives better, even really good, support for exercise
          • More discreet in a locker room than disposables

        Here are the common drawbacks to wearing disposables for exercise and sports:

        • Pads - they often don't stay in place well. A pad shift in your gym workout mid squat, just when that exercise induced squirt happens, could cause an embarrassing situation
          • Disposable pull-ups - the papery absorbent pad in them just isn't as flexible as the fabric protective panel in a good quality washable.
            • During exercise the papery protective area doesn't easily yield as you move, can bunch up, and that makes movement in a disposable pull-up uncomfortable. And bunched up coverage can compromise protection.
            • Additionally the absorbent area in many disposable pull-ups is only 5" wide; the absorbent pad in a men's Zorbies brief, for example, is at least 8" wide so gives a whole lot more protective coverage.
          • Active, Daily Life - if you are out and about in normal daily life any of the products have suitable options, so choose based on how much protection you need and well as what's comfortable for you. Keep in mind that using different options for different situations could be an option depending on your specific situation.

          For example, during the day when you can get to the bathroom your needs might be lighter, so you may be able to wear a lower protection level option. But at night you may need more protection in order to get enough unbroken hours of sleep. So, consider how all the options might be helpful and fit well with different aspects of your life; don't feel you have to lock yourself into a single product.

          • Low Mobility - pull-up styles, whether disposable or reusable, can still be an option if you can stand up safely and comfortably, even if you might need help pulling them up. If standing up is difficult or unsafe, then a diaper style is the best option since it's the easiest for a helper to put on a person lying in bed.

            Cost

            Good quality washable, reusable incontinence underwear can be less expensive than disposable underwear products because disposables are one-time use. Let's take a look at the numbers.

            The cost range of men's disposable briefs is $30 on special to about $53 for a 56 count, depending on the specifics - style, brand etc. So, using round numbers, each pair is $0.50 - $1.00. Here's how the costs can add up over the course of a year.

            Disposable Pull-up Cost Range:

              • $0.50 / pair x using 2/day = $1/day x 365 days = $365 per year
              • $1.00 / pair x using 2/day = $2/day x 365 days = $730 per year

                Reusable Product Costs:

                As an example, Zorbies reusable briefs will last you a year (or more) on a weekly wash schedule with proper care.

                  • Two 4 packs of our Light Absorbent briefs = $180
                  • Two 4 packs of our Moderate Absorbent briefs = $199

                    Reusable vs. Disposable Incontinence Products

                    And here we come to the last consideration in the decision process. We've done our best to pull it all together for you in the chart below. However, please use the chart along with the details in the rest of the article so you have a clear and full understanding about each option.

                    Also, one aspect we didn't put in the chart because it's often a lower priority in people's decisions, but we think worth mentioning any. Eco-friendliness. Disposables are a high volume contributor to our landfills, and consumers are becoming increasingly aware and sensitive to this.

                    Since you can reuse washables time and time again they are much kinder to the environment because they are less of a burden on landfills. Below is a review from a customer who specifically sought out washables because they are more eco-friendly. We thought it worth including here; visit our review page for other customer feedback.

                    customer review about eco-friendliness of washable vs. disposable incontinence products

                    And now finally, here's our take on how all of this product information aligns.

                    Disposable vs. Reusable Male Urinary Incontinence Products

                    male urinary incontinence products - disposables vs. reusables

                     Summary of Male Urinary Incontinence Products and How to Choose

                    1. The main options in men's urinary incontinence protection fall into 3 categories:

                    • Disposable Pads - Shields and Guards
                    • Disposable Underwear - Pull-up Briefs and Adult Diapers with Tabs
                    • Washable, reusable underwear - Washable Briefs and Pocket Briefs for disposable pads

                    2. Choosing the option that's right for you is a matter of how much protection you need as well as personal preference based on what's most comfortable for you. Here are 4 key factors to consider when you choose:

                    • Protection Level. This is the most important factor. As you consider the other 3, always make sure that you verify what protection levels the products offer. A good selection can't be made based solely on any of the other individual factors.
                    • Lifestyle. Each product has at least one feature that makes it a better fit for different lifestyles and activity levels.
                    • Cost. Cost differences between the products can be difficult to see when buying a 'pack' at a time; the cost we see is for that single point in time.

                    However, when looking at how costs add up over the course of a year there can be hundreds of dollars difference between single use disposables and reusables. Good quality reusables end up being more economical over the long run.

                    • Disposable vs. Washable & Reusable.
                      • For light to moderate needs the choice primarily comes down to comfort, both physical and emotional and washables have the edge. That's because washables are made from fabric so look and feel more like regular underwear. They are also generally more comfortable than disposables. And, if helping the environment is important to you, then washables are a better choice than disposables.
                      • For heavy needs disposables are the right choice.