Large disposable pads, sometimes called 'insert' pads or 'two-piece systems', are commonly used by women with moderate / heavy bladder leakage.
Click on the purple tabs below for information about large disposable pads.
Disposable pads are unisex pads (for men and women), usually shaped and secured by close-fitting underwear or specially designed stretch pants which hold the pad close to the body.
They are available in a range of absorbencies for all degrees of leakage.
Large disposable pads often 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.
Disposable pads are the least effective of the disposable designs and tend to leak more than all-in-ones, T-shape pads and large disposable pants 1
Women prefer the look of disposable pads compared with all-in-one designs, but still prefer large disposable pants to large disposable pads 1
Large disposable pads are quick to change (like large disposable pants) compared with all-in-one designs 1
It is hard to say if a disposable pad will work well for you without trying it. However, they are a cost-effective product (cheaper than large disposable pants)that is popular with women who find them acceptable and discreet for daytime and night-time use.
They must be worn with tight fitting underwear or specially designed stretch pants to hold them in place. A secure and close fit is important to ensure they are effective in containing leakage 2
There is research evidence of wide variation in performance between different makes of large disposable pads 3 Therefore, if a large disposable pad doesn’t suit you, it may be worth trying a different make before moving onto a different design.
Where possible ‘try before you buy’; some pad manufacturers will send you free samples in the post to try. Look out for advertisements in magazines and on the internet.
Click on Amount for help estimating how much you leak.
Disposable pads may be suitable for you if you have bowel leakage or combined bladder and bowel leakage.
It will be important that they cover your bottom sufficiently and are secured in position with close fitting underwear if they are to contain bowel leakage effectively.
Disposable pads 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 generally find large disposable pads easy to manage as they just need to be inserted into close-fitting underwear.
It is recommended that disposable pads are folded in half length-wise before being fitted. ‘Cupping’ the pad helps to ensure it fits to the shape of the body, covers the urethra effectively and has maximum chance of containing leakage. Pads not fitted in this way can invert – that is, fold inside out – and, in this position, urine is likely to run off the pad. The pants used to secure the pad should then be pulled up into the groin at the top of the legs for maximum security.
If you need help fitting and changing your pads, you might have to consider both your preferences and those of your helper when selecting a pad.
Disposable pads are 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.
Disposable pads can generally be fitted quite easily by a helper if you can stand (even for short periods) or are in bed and can roll from side to side.
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.
As with all pads there is always the possibility of leakage beyond the pad onto clothes or furniture; no pad is guaranteed to contain leakage completely all the time. You will need to work out the most effective product or combination of products for you.
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Large Disposable Pants
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