Want to keep learning?

This content is taken from the Association for Continence Advice's online course, Understanding Continence Promotion: Effective Management of Bladder and Bowel Dysfunction in Adults. Join the course to learn more.

Managing incontinence by containing leakage using absorbent products

In situations where all approaches to promoting continence have been unsuccessful, and urinary or faecal leakage continues, ways to effectively manage the incontinence are required.

The most commonly used approach involves the person wearing absorbent pads. However there are other product types and devices which allow incontinence to be contained.

There is a huge, and growing, range of different products available worldwide to manage incontinence, with new ideas and designs being added continuously.

Continence Product Advisor website

The best way to learn about different types of products and devices to contain incontinence is via the Continence Product Advisor website[1].

This website provides contemporary evidence-based guidance on how to select appropriate products for managing incontinence and use them effectively.

Key features of the Continence Product Advisor website are that it is:

  • Independent: written and reviewed by continence healthcare professionals and users of continence products
  • Evidence-based: where possible content is based on evidence (or expert opinion if evidence is lacking) with references to sources
  • Generic: focused on product designs and types without reference to branded products, except when essential
  • Not-for-profit: no advertising is displayed, the development and maintenance of the website is funded through educational grants
  • International: linked to information in different countries for supplementary local advice on product availability, guidelines and regulations

The website emphasises that most people will need to use a range of products to support their lifestyle. Different products may be used for daytime and nighttime, going out, travelling, when exercising etc.

A lot of useful information is provided by people who use the products, in the form of ‘top tips’ which lend extra credibility to the advice.

There are also photographs of all of the types of products.

Watch the beginning of this video to find out more about how to use the Continence Product Advisor website (available from the International Continence Society (ICS) YouTube channel)[2].

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

Your task

So, containment strategies are common and will continue to form a large part of our continence care.

This was highlighted in a recent systematic review on whether incontinence can be cured, which concluded that despite many treatments being available and successful in curing incontinence for some, there will still be a large number of people who will continue to rely on containment products.

Read this review Can incontinence be cured? A systematic review of cure rates[3].

Share your thoughts with fellow learners.


1. Continence Product Advisor website. [Cited 28 August 2018]. Available from: https://www.continenceproductadvisor.org/

2. How to use the Continence Product Advisor website. International Continence Society (ICS) YouTube channel. [30 May 2013, cited 28 August 2018] Available from: https://youtu.be/NxGB5HpikoM

3. Siemsma R, Hagen S, Kirschner-Hermanns R, Norton C, Wijk H, Andersson K-E et al. Can incontinence be cured? A systematic review of cure rates. BMC Medicine. 2017;15:63. [Cited 28 August 2018] Available from: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12916-017-0828-2

Share this article:

This article is from the free online course:

Understanding Continence Promotion: Effective Management of Bladder and Bowel Dysfunction in Adults

Association for Continence Advice

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join: