These are sometimes called ‘one-piece systems’ or ‘diapers’. They are most commonly used for heavy bladder leakage as they are the most absorbent of the pad designs 1
Click on the purple tabs below for information about all-in-ones.
All-in-ones are a unisex product (for men and women) which are secured in place with re-sealable adhesive strips and do not require any separate underwear.
All-in-ones are available in a range of sizes and absorbencies and you will find that as the size of the pad increases (small → medium → large etc.) so does the manufacturer’s stated absorbency level. They also become increasingly bulky.
Women usually need to take their waist/hip measurement to find the right size pad. To give the pad the best chance of working well you need to have a comfortable close fitting pad.
All-in-ones usually have wetness indictors on the outer waterproof backing to show when the pad is saturated and needs changing. This is particularly useful for people who rely on helpers for pad changing and reduces the likelihood of the pad overfilling and leaking onto clothing.
All-in-ones are the most absorbent of the disposable pad designs. However, women tend to prefer other designs such as large disposable pads or large disposable pants which they consider to be more attractive and discreet products 1
There is research evidence of wide variation in performance between different makes of all-in-ones 2 Therefore, if an all-in-one doesn’t suit you, it may be worth trying a different make before moving onto a different design.
A combination of products may work best for you; there may be circumstances in which you would prefer a pad with good leakage performance and be more willing to compromise on appearance. For example you may prefer the more expensive, discreet pant during the day and the more absorbent all-in-one for night-time.
Where possible ‘try before you buy’; some manufacturers of disposable products will send free samples in the post for you to try. Look out for advertisements in magazines and on the internet.
Click on Amount for help estimating how much you leak.
The absorbent capacity of all-in-ones is generally linked to the size - the larger the all-in-one the more it has the potential to hold. It is a good idea to start with the lowest absorbency product, increasing absorbency / size until you find the product that works for you.
However, more absorbent products are bulkier than less absorbent products so you will need to find the right balance of absorbency and discreetness.
All-in-ones may be suitable for you if you have bowel leakage or combined bladder and bowel leakage.
They generally provide good cover over the bottom and are secure, making them the most reliable pad design for bowel leakage.
As they are also very absorbent, they are the product of choice for combined bladder and bowel leakage.
All-in-ones do have a waterproof backing (necessary for bladder leakage) and this may not always be necessary for more solid bowel leakage.
Click on Pads for guidance about pads for bowel leakage.
Click on Faecal Devices for information about other products for bowel leakage.
Women with good use of their hands are able to put all-in-ones on, but they do report that they are fiddly particularly when standing up or sitting down. You might find it easiest lying down. Alternatively, try a T-shape pad (belted pad) that fastens around the waist first.
If you need help fitting your pads, you might have to consider both your preferences and those of your helper when selecting an all-in-one.
With help, all-in-ones can be changed in any position, including when standing even for short periods.
When lying down, all-in-ones can be put in place by a helper if you are able to roll from one side to the other.
All-in-ones are very hard to change in a sitting position unless you can lift your bottom off the chair and move from side to side lifting one buttock at a time. It might take some practice with you and your helper to find a system that works for you.
Guides to fitting pads are usually available on the manufacturer’s website.
They are the bulkiest of the disposable pads and some women find this unacceptable.
As they cover all the lower body, they can make you feel sweaty and uncomfortable.
Some people find that they are allergic to some of the materials that disposable pads are made of and find that they have to stop using them.
Occasionally women also find that they can experience chafing or rubbing from raised or elasticated parts of the pad. If you accidentally stick the adhesive tab to your skin then you could cause a sore patch.
There is always the possibility of leakage from the product onto clothes.
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