Incontinence pads and sanitary towels: This is the difference Incontinence pads and sanitary towels: This is the difference

Many women and men affected by incontinence use conventional pads or panty liners to catch leaked urine. Reasons for this may be ignorance or shyness about wearing special incontinence pads. In the case of bladder weakness, however, special incontinence pads are the right aids to counter the symptoms safely and discreetly.

Why women and men often use pads for incontinence.

The use of sanitary pads during menstruation is familiar to most women – and the products have proven themselves over the years. If a slight bladder weakness suddenly occurs, it is therefore only natural to use normal panty liners here as well. Disguised as a purchase for the partner, men affected by incontinence also initially reach for sanitary napkins, due to shame and ignorance about adequate incontinence products*.

On the surface, it seems to make sense to use sanitary pads instead of incontinence pads: After all, for many women, buying and using panty liners is already routine. And men, too, often find themselves in the situation of buying sanitary napkins for their partners. They are already familiar with this product – unlike incontinence items.

In addition, those affected may feel ashamed when urinary or faecal incontinence occurs, which is why they are also reluctant to buy appropriate incontinence aids. It is therefore natural for those affected to reach for a sanitary napkin. But it’s important to know that incontinence pads can meet your needs much better than panty liners – and save you money in the long run.

Why panty liners are not suitable for incontinence.

At first glance, pads are less expensive than special incontinence pads. However, they are only designed to absorb menstrual flow. This comes out more slowly and in smaller quantities than urine. In addition, blood is more viscous than urine. Conventional panty liners can therefore not absorb the amount of urine and must be changed much more frequently than pads, which have a higher absorbency than pads.

Sonya Meyer, national clinical advisor at HARTMANN, explains it as follows:

“Sanitary napkins can be used for heavy menstruation, but the liners usually contain only cellulose and little superabsorbent. Since menstrual blood coagulates, it easily sticks to the fibers or the cellulose of the pad. This is not the case with urine. Thus, a sanitary napkin does not usually keep the skin dry and odour can possibly develop. This makes sanitary napkins very expensive because they quickly stop absorbing fluid and need to be changed 10 times a day or more.”

There are also pads that are specially marked for use with incontinence. However, they have a weak absorbency, as they can usually only absorb 50 to 100 milliliters of fluid, and are therefore not comparable with special incontinence products. This is because the special inserts depend not only on the correspondingly necessary absorbency, but also on the size, mobility and gender of the person affected. A distinction is made here between mild bladder weakness (urine loss of approx. 100 ml in 4 hours) and severe urinary incontinence (approx. 300 ml).

Further advantages of incontinence pads

If incontinence is not dealt with properly, many long-term health risks lurk for those affected: from skin irritations and pressure sores to urinary tract infections and kidney disease. This makes it all the more important to use the right products when symptoms of bladder weakness occur.

Incontinence products are specially designed to absorb fast-flowing urine. They are made of a highly absorbent polymer that keeps moisture away from the skin and ensures that it remains not only dry but also free of odours. MoliCare® products from HARTMANN additionally neutralise acidic urine, which can cause skin irritations and rashes.

Self-confidence through discreet protection

High-quality incontinence pads offer sufferers who wear them greater long-term security, high wearing comfort – and thus greater self-confidence. However, incontinence products are often referred to as “diapers for adults”. This colloquial expression conveys that incontinence products are uncomfortable or bulky – and that personal independence is lost. However, wearing an incontinence product does not have to be an uncomfortable experience!

There are pads that fit specifically to the male and female body, provide discreet protection and do not show under clothing. In addition, they also offer comfort as well as fast fluid absorption – for a pleasant wearing experience. With MoliCare®, HARTMANN offers a wide range of different incontinence products to meet your needs.

Simply order MoliCare® incontinence products from HARTMANN online.

With the right incontinence pads, you can work, play sports and sleep without any problems, without having to worry about the appropriate protection. If you would like to use pads specially designed for incontinence in the future, but are reluctant to buy them at a local pharmacy, you can order MoliCare® products online at any time. Depending on the severity, type and frequency of incontinence, as well as personal preference and fit, MoliCare® from HARTMANN offers the following options:

  • If the products resemble sanitary napkins, the anatomically shaped MoliCare®Premium lady pad and MoliCare® Premium MEN pads are recommended. They are worn in normal underwear with the help of an adhesive strip and are available in various absorbencies.
  • In addition to the pads, there are also the anatomically shaped disposable MoliCare®Premium lady pants and MoliCare® Premium MEN pants, which are put on like normal underwear. They are also available in different absorbencies and sizes.

Are you’re unsure which product meets your needs? Then use our product finder or speak to our customer services team and decide which items are right for you and feel good in your skin again!


*Continence, incontinence, continence promotion, practical handbook for nurses, Hayder, Kuno, Müller, Huber Verlag, page 35 et seqq.?

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