Overnight Diapers for Adults
You might feel a bit uncomfortable with the thought of overnight diapers for adults, but you would be surprised at how many seniors experience incontinence, particularly during the night. In recent years, with the aging population, sales of diapers for adults have overtaken baby diaper sales.
In this article we briefly discuss the reasons for incontinence that may require you or a loved one to consider overnight diapers, and the advantages and disadvantages of using diapers.
With the large assortment of adult diapers on the market today, choosing the right one for your needs can be quite confusing. We offer some help with this by explaining the different styles of diapers and what the various features mean, followed by a few recommendations.
What Causes Incontinence?
Whether it be part of aging or due to a specific health problem, the reality is that our bodies lose some of the normal functions as we age. Reduced bladder or bowel control is often one of these changes. Overnight diapers can help you to enjoy a good night’s sleep, which is so important for both physical health, mental health and wellbeing.
Incontinence in seniors is most often caused by age-related loss of muscle tone of the bladder and the urethra (the tube through which urine is eliminated). As a result, urine either leaks or is passed involuntarily.
Other causes of incontinence include:
- Urinary tract infection
- Weak muscles in the pelvic floor or pelvic organ prolapse, where the pelvic organs shift out of place
- Disorders that affect the nerves responsible for signaling between the bladder and the brain, such as a stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and diabetes
- Injury to the muscles or nerves of the bladder from an accident or surgery
- Medications, including diuretics, often prescribed for high blood pressure or cardiac failure and sedatives
- Conditions that affect the prostate gland in men
Many of the above health problems, which could cause incontinence, are treatable. So, before you decide on the need for overnight diapers, consult a health practitioner about your problem.
Why Incontinence Might Happen at Night
For many seniors, incontinence might only be a problem during the night for the following reasons:
- The body produces more urine while we are sleeping
- Bladder capacity reduces with age because the bladder becomes less elastic, so it fills up more quickly
- While asleep, especially during deep sleep, one is less aware of the urge to urinate (this problem increases with the use of sedatives)
- Impaired movement might make it difficult to wake up, get up and negotiate the way the toilet in time
Advantages of Overnight Diapers for Adults
If you are regularly troubled with night-time incontinence, using diapers will help to keep you clean and comfortable throughout the night. You can avoid having to get up several times during the night to go to the toilet and/or having to change your clothing.
So, overnight diapers can help you to get a good night’s sleep. Sleep deprivation is known to have serious health consequences, including:
- Increased risk of falls
- Chronic diseases
- Depression and other mental health conditions
Another advantage of diapers is that they could prevent skin irritations and infections caused by direct exposure to urine or feces.
Disadvantages of Overnight Diapers
Like babies, adults can also develop diaper rash. This is a skin irritation that can occur when the skin is exposed to moisture for too long. The broken skin then poses a risk for developing more serious bacterial or fungal infections.
To prevent or manage this problem, diapers must be changed regularly and the skin needs to be kept clean and dry. In the event of redness or a rash, a barrier cream should be applied until the area is healed.
Fortunately, these days, most overnight diapers have special features that keep the skin dry. Wet clothing and bedding during the night are more likely than diapers to cause skin irritation.
Seniors might feel uneasy and embarrassed about the idea of overnight diapers, with images of sleeping with an uncomfortable bulky wad of cloth between their legs. Today, however, adult diapers are well designed with a discrete and comfortable fit.
Choosing Overnight Diapers for Adults
Once you have made up your mind to try overnight diapers, deciding on which ones to buy can be quite a challenge. There are numerous brands of diapers for adults on the market, all advertising different designs and features.
The following is a list of common features and what they mean.
There are two main styles:
- Pull-ups. These are like normal underwear. They are usually less bulky and are mostly recommended for mild incontinence, although there are also now some high absorbency pull-up diapers on the market.
- Diapers with tabs. These are fastened in front. These are usually referred to as briefs in product descriptions. They are ideal for overnight use as they offer greater absorbency and most can be used for both heavy urinary and bowel incontinence. They are also recommended for seniors who have difficulty in pulling up their pants while standing or when a caregiver has to change the diaper. Some products have tabs that can be refastened so that the diaper can be repositioned or reused if not wet.
Most brands come in different sizes. For some the choice is only between small, medium and large, while others have a full range of sizes from X-small to XXX-large.
Sizing between brands may differ, so you need to know what your waist measurement is and check it against the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Absorbency of diapers ranges from light to heavy duty. Overnight diapers are designed to retain higher volumes of fluid to keep the skin dry. They usually have a thicker, high absorbency core. Your choice will be determined by the nature of your incontinence. Is there only a little leaking of urine or full voids during the night, and even soiling?
This refers to the outside of the diaper. The backing material can either be cloth-like or plastic. Cloth-like material is more discreet, in that it does not make sounds when the person moves. It is also more comfortable and allows air, heat and humidity to escape. Plastic backings offer better protection but carry a higher risk of skin irritation.
The core of most diapers now has moisture-wicking polymers which keep the inner lining dry. There might be additives to the core, which balance the pH of the urine, eliminate odors and neutralize bacteria.
High quality products often add features to improve the fit around the leg to prevent leaking. Always make sure that the diaper fits comfortably around the leg — neither too loose nor too tight.
The price of overnight diapers varies considerably. Factors that affect pricing include brand, style, size and special features. Diapers are often much cheaper when ordered in bulk. Also compare price differences between various stores and online retailers.
Popular Overnight Diapers for Adults
The following are some of the most popular brands of high-absorbency diapers for overnight use, based on online customer reviews.
Two different tranquility products, in different styles, are included in the list. All tranquility diapers for adults have a super absorbent core with additives to neutralize pH, reduce odors and inhibit bacterial growth. They also have features to help keep the skin dry and to prevent leakage.
Tranquility Premium Overnight Absorbent Underwear
There are six sizes. They come in a pull-up style with a quick-absorbing core for maximum levels of incontinence. This style has a breathable cloth blacking, with inner and outer leg cuffs.
Tranquility ATN, Maximum
There are five sizes for this brief style, with a wetness indicator and tabs that can be refastened. It’s designed for extended overnight wear with a high level of absorbency and a plastic backing. Also, it is suitable for urinary and bowel incontinence and has inner leg guards to direct flow to the core to prevent leaks or overflow.
Solimo Incontinence and Postpartum Underwear for Women, Maximum Absorbency
There are five sizes to choose from for this pull-up style. It is highly absorbent and has a cotton enhanced backing. This design helps to control moisture and temperature and has odor control features.
LivDry Adult Incontinence Underwear
This pull-up style comes in seven different sizes with high absorbency for all-night use and a gathered barrier leg cuff to prevent leaking. It has a soft, cloth-like backing with stretch panels for a comfortable fit and the core has odor-control features.
Medline Extended Wear Overnight Adult Briefs
This style comes in four sizes. This brief style has high absorbency for extended wear, a breathable film to keep skin dry, an anti-leak guard and a wetness indicator.
Prevail Maximum Absorbency Incontinence Underwear
This comes in three sizes and there are separate products for men and women. It has a pull-up style with maximum absorbency for day or overnight use. Also, Prevail has a gel core with odor guard. The backing is cloth-like and is elasticized for a comfortable fit.
Solve Your Nightly Incontinence Problem
If night-time incontinence has become a problem for you, consider using overnight diapers to reclaim comfortable and uninterrupted sleep. However, also visit your health care practitioner to make sure that the problem it not caused by an underlying health condition, which can be treated.
Use the guidelines and suggestions we have provided to help you choose the best diaper for your needs. Keep in mind, however, that what is ideal for one person might not be the best fit for you or your budget. You will probably need to try out a few different products before you find the one that is right for you.