Should I Use Diapers?

Jasmine Schmidt Health Guide
  • Should I use diapers for incontinence? Someone recently asked this question in the "Ask a Question" section of the website, and I thought I'd address it in a separate post, since I'm asked some variation of this question quite often. Although it may look like a simple "yes" or "no" answer would suffice, there is actually quite a lot to consider when answering a question like this.


    Like I've said before, incontinence is always the result of something working incorrectly in the body - perhaps it's that the muscles holding up the bladder have become extremely weak, or maybe it's a problem with the nerves that make the bladder function, or it could be any number of other causes. The important thing to realize is that it's not normal. Whenever something isn't working correctly in the body, it's important to see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

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    Because absorbent products (adult diapers) are conveniently available on the shelves of nearly every (if not all) drugstore and grocery store in America, it can be very easy to start using these products on your own without ever speaking to a doctor about the problem. Because doctors have so much to cover in such short visits, there's a very good chance that your doctor has never brought up incontinence to you. You might feel embarrassed bringing it up, and since you've been able to manage the leaking ok on your own, you don't ever bring it up to your doc. Meanwhile, there is something going on inside your body that isn't quite right, and needs medical attention.


    If you're using absorbent products, that's a good indicator that it's time to speak to a doctor about incontinence. Your doctor will help you figure out what is causing the incontinence, and then will review your treatment options with you. In many cases, incontinence can be treated, often with exercises, medication, or surgery. While you're testing what's wrong and researching treatments you will probably continue using absorbent products to manage the incontinence. Even with treatment, there is a possibility that you may still leak slightly, but hopefully it will be much less. In this case, you'll probably use a lighter-absorbency product to help manage what is left of the incontinence.


    In some cases, treatment is not a possibility or previous treatments may have failed. In these cases, long-term use of absorbent products may be the only option left (until future scientific breakthroughs, at least).


    So, getting back to the question at hand - should I use diapers? Well, almost everyone with incontinence will find absorbent products helpful at some point in their journey through incontinence. The important thing is to not rely on the products to the point that you avoid speaking to medical professionals and seeking treatment. And one other thing: female sanitary products are not designed for incontinence and won't do an effective job - look for products designed specifically for incontinence.


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    Now, if the question is, "Should I feel bad or embarrassed about using diapers?" the answer is absolutely not, although it is quite common and understandable if you do. Our bladder and bowel are parts of our bodies, just like our heart and lungs. If we break our arm we might need to wear a cast and a sling. If we twist our ankle, we might need to wear a brace. While absorbent products don't actually treat incontinence or help improve it over time, they are medical aids none the less.

Published On: June 02, 2008