Incontinence underwear is a type of reusable undergarment designed to absorb urine. It provides an alternative to traditional disposable incontinence products, which are often bulky and plastic-based. Due to concerns about the environmental impact of disposable products, incontinence underwear is becoming an alternative to pads. Only recently has the textile technology existed to enable the design and manufacture of reusable products with comparable functionality to a disposable pad or diaper.
It is estimated that 1 in 4 women over the age of 35 experience some level of urinary incontinence, often following childbirth or during menopause. Incontinence is also experienced by approximately 1 in 10 men, commonly related to prostate issues. Incontinence is more prevalent with age, and is commonly experienced by those 65 and over. Due to increased life expectancy and decreased fertility rates, the world population is experiencing a “global greying”, which has contributed to an increase in the global market for incontinence products as there is an increasing proportion of people aged over 65.
Fashionable reusable underwear alternatives to pads and diapers have emerged. Some of these new washable products still feature built-in absorbent pads or insertable disposable pads, but some of the players in the market offer consumers options which are increasingly like normal underwear. These companies have developed highly absorbent fabrics that combine several moisture-trapping fabric layers to achieve a similar absorbent result to traditional pads. This new-style incontinence underwear looks and feels like normal underwear so it can be washed and reused, whilst being discrete.
This offers the user economic and environmental savings. The use of fabric textiles in these new incontinence products also means that it is now possible to make fashionable incontinence underwear.Incontinence underwear products are generally designed to cater for light bladder leakage (LBL), and as such have lower absorbency capabilities than high absorbency pads and diapers. However, newer incontinence underwear is appearing on the market that caters to moderate needs, and can absorb up to 200 mLs of fluid over the course of a day