- Coping With Incontinence-Related Odor Issues
- Healthy urine colour and smell
- 1.Foods that can make your urine smell
- 2. Urine odour and coffee
- 3. Urine smell and dehydration
- 4. Urine odour and medication
- 5. Urine smell and infection
- 6. Sweet smelling urine and diabetes
- 7. Urine odour and a fistula
- Other worrying wee signs and your health
- Causes of foul-smelling urine
- Treatment options for smelly urine
- When to see a doctor for smelly urine
- Getting rid of strong urine odor
- How can I prevent a urine odor if I have urinary incontinence?
- Feminine Odor and 5 Other Embarrassing Health Conditions
- Odor Control to Eco-Friendly: 7 Incontinence Underwear and Pads to Try
- Willow Women’s Disposable Signature Underwear
- Icon Hi-Waist Pee-Proof Panties
- Confitex Women’s Full Brief Basic
- Fannypants Canyon Panties
- Time for Me Super Incontinence Panty
- Alternative options
- It’s important to find a product that suits your needs
Coping With Incontinence-Related Odor Issues
Dealing with a urinary incontinence episode is never easy — but it can be especially difficult when the episode happens around other people. Dark clothing can help disguise wetness, but it won’t cover up odors. Fortunately, there are other ways to keep smells to a minimum.
The less odor there is in your urine, the less odor you’ll have to worry about when leakage from urinary incontinence occurs. Take these steps to reduce the amount of odor your urine produces:
1. Drink enough fluid.
- People with incontinence tend to drink less liquid, causing their urine to become very concentrated and strong-smelling. Drinking six to eight glasses of water a day will dilute your urine and reduce or eliminate its odor.
2. Get examined for possible infection.
- Bladder and urinary tract infections are common in people with incontinence, and can cause urine to smell bad.
3. Change your diet.
Coffee and foods like asparagus can give urine a particular odor. Review what you’re eating and eliminate such foods from your diet.
4. Drink cranberry juice.
- Cranberry juice will increase the acidity of your urine, which naturally reduces its odor.
5. Take deodorizing tablets or Vitamin C.
- Internally deodorizing incontinence products like Derifil and Nullo will help neutralize the smell of urine. Vitamin C tablets also are great at deodorizing urine, but can interact with other medications or therapies you are using. Check with your doctor before taking vitamin C tablets. And don’t substitute citrus fruits or juices for the tablets, as they can cause bladder irritation and odor in the urine.
Controlling Odor With Cleaning and Incontinence Products
If you’re still detecting urine odor in your environment, there are several things you can do to avoid or get rid of the smells:
- Keep yourself clean. Follow good hygiene and maintain body cleanliness. Be sure to put on fresh undergarments daily. Wash yourself thoroughly after every incontinence episode.
- Use odor-reducing incontinence products. If you wear adult diapers or incontinence pads, make sure to read the package to see if the product contains odor-reducing materials. The odor reducer should not be a perfume that covers up smell, but a substance that keeps odor from forming in the first place.
- Wash urine collection devices thoroughly. Disinfect reusable parts with commercial cleansers or with a solution containing one part white vinegar and two parts water. Don’t bother with bleach, which is harsh and does not dissolve urine crystals as well as vinegar.
- Wash bedsheets and clothing often. Use either white vinegar or baking soda as a laundry detergent booster, as both products are effective in getting odor out of fabric. However, don’t use both at the same time. When using white vinegar, you should put your clothes through an extra cold water rinse or two. Wash soiled clothes and sheets as soon as possible, and be sure to store them in an airtight container in the meantime.
- Use an air freshener. Choose a freshener that eliminates odor rather than filling the air with a thick perfume scent. Potpourri or incense are two good options.
- Find previously soiled areas using a black light. If you have a persistent odor problem in a particular room, use a black light to illuminate all surfaces in the room. Urine will glow under black light, and once detected can be cleaned.
Remember that you might not even be aware that your home or body has an odor. You should ask a trusted friend to honestly tell you whether there’s a problem or not.
We all have to wee multiple times a day, so urination is something most people don’t think about. But if your urine suddenly starts to smell a bit funky, it could be cause for concern. The smell, colour and frequency of your urine can provide vital clues to your health and wellbeing, so it is worth keeping an eye (and a nose) out.
We speak to urologist Mr Marc Laniado about what to do if you notice a strange whiff when you take a whizz and the most common causes of urine smell:
Healthy urine colour and smell
First things first, what constitutes ‘normal’ and healthy wee? The colour can vary depending on the time of day and your hydration levels, but healthy urine should be somewhere between pale yellow and gold, with little to no noticeable odour.
‘Normal urine when dilute barely has an aroma unless you put your nose right up to it,’ says Laniado.
Here are the most common reasons your wee might have an unusual scent, and when you should worry:
1.Foods that can make your urine smell
We all know that eating certain foods can make your breath smell a bit funky, but some foods will also affect the aroma of your wee.
Does your wee smell strangely sulphurous this morning? If asparagus was on the menu last night, then this will probably be why. Asparagus is notorious for making urine smell bad, although only about half of us have the enzyme that will break asparagus down to cause this stench. ‘Interestingly, only some people can smell the foul urine even if they make it. The reasons are not clearly understood though,’ says Laniado.
Other foods which can impact urine odour include the following, so if you notice a funky smell, recall what you’ve eaten recently as it could be down to nutrition:
- Brussels sprouts
2. Urine odour and coffee
Addicted to that caffeine hit? There’s a good chance its has affected your wee as well as your energy levels. So no, you’re not going crazy – your urine probably does smell a little like coffee if you drank a few cups today.
3. Urine smell and dehydration
If you notice a strong ammonia scent when you wee, it might be time to full up your water bottle. Without enough fluid to dilute your urine, it will be darker in colour and will likely pong a bit more than usual too.
‘Often urine smells most strongly in the morning because there is relative dehydration overnight and this improves when you start drinking fluids during the day,’ explains Laniado.
4. Urine odour and medication
Are you taking antibiotics or on medication for epilepsy? They could be the culprit of a strange smell when you take a tinkle.
‘Some drugs in the sulpha class, which are also known as sulphonamides, can make the urine smell bad. Sulphonamides have been used for the treatment of infections and epilepsy,’ reveals Laniado.
5. Urine smell and infection
A UTI could well be the cause of your foul smelling pee. Especially if accompanied by a stinging or burning sensation. While UTIs are incredibly common, they can be uncomfortable and make you feel very unwell. If left untreated they also run the risk of developing into something more serious, so it’s important to speak to your GP if you have any symptoms, as you might need to take a course of antibiotics.
6. Sweet smelling urine and diabetes
People with undiagnosed diabetes may notice slightly sweet-smelling urine. If symptoms are accompanied by a constant thirst, headaches and a need to urinate a lot more than usual, go and see your doctor.
‘Sometimes urine can smell sweet, because diabetes is present and sugar levels are uncontrolled,’ says Laniado. ‘However, this is unusual. Another rare disease called maple syrup disease in which there is a problem in the breakdown of amino acids, can make the urine can smell sweet. Alternatively if the urine smells musty, it may because the liver is failing.’
7. Urine odour and a fistula
It is rare, but if your urine’s smelly and you’re constantly getting UTIs, get yourself checked out for a fistula.
‘Occasionally, an abnormal connection between the bowel and bladder called a fistula can make the urine smell bad as well as cause recurrent urine infections,’ says Laniado.
Other worrying wee signs and your health
To rule out anything more serious, Laniado suggests a number of signs something is amiss with your urine:
• Urine colour
The colour of the urine is one of the most things to look out for. Blood is the most serious sign, such as red urine. This is because it can be a sign of cancer and always needs an urgent evaluation by a urologist. However, consider that if you’ve eaten a lot of beetroot that might explain the red colour, so remember what you have eaten.
• Pain when passing urine
If it hurts to pass urine, the smell is offensive, and the urine is cloudy or dark, then there may be a urine infection, and you would need to get that tested as well.
• Urine frequency increase
If you’re passing urine frequently and in large volumes but not drinking much, that might indicate a problem with sugar control – get it checked out by your doctor.
Last updated: 08-10-19
Dr Juliet McGrattan (MBChB) Dr Juliet McGrattan Dr Juliet McGrattan spent 16 years as a GP, two years as a Clinical Champion for Physical Activity for Public Health England and is the Women’s Health Lead for the 261 Fearless global running network. Her award winning book, Sorted: The Active Woman’s Guide to Health was published by Bloomsbury in 2017.
Smelly urine can be caused by many different factors, but most of them are non-threatening and can be addressed with simple solutions.
While most of the time you can overlook the smelly odor of your urine (especially if it’s a temporary incident), in some cases, smelly urine is actually indicative of a serious health problem.
Being aware of what can possibly cause smelly urine can help you address the issue effectively and give you peace of mind.
Causes of foul-smelling urine
As mentioned, there are numerous causes of smelly urine and they range in severity. For the most part, there’s nothing threatening about having a stronger odor to your urine and the condition can be easily resolved. Here are some factors that can make your urine smell.
Urinary tract infection: Bacteria in the urinary tract can cause an infection along with smelly urine. Other symptoms include a higher frequency of urination, burning while urinating, and pain.
Vaginitis: Vaginal infections can lead to smelly urine. Bacteria, yeast, and sexually transmitted diseases can cause vaginal discharge, painful urination, itchiness, and discomfort during sex.
Prostatitis: Men who suffer from prostatitis can develop bladder infections, which can cause smelly urine along with abdominal pain, urine urgency, back pain, and groin pain.
Kidney stones: Smelly urine, especially if it’s pinkish in color, could be an indication of kidney stones. You will also experience severe pain where your kidneys are located.
Dehydration: If you haven’t had enough water, your urine will be darker in color and smell foul.
Foods, drinks, and vitamin supplements: Many foods, beverages, and natural supplements can change the smell of your urine. Prominent examples include asparagus, B vitamins, and even caffeine.
Medications: If you are taking antibiotics or medications derived from mold, you may notice a change in the smell of your urine. Multivitamins can have similar effects.
Liver problems: The liver is responsible for filtering and eliminating waste. If the liver is unable to do so properly, urine can be foul-smelling and very dark in color.
Diabetes: High blood sugar accumulates in urine and is then released. The urine will then have a slightly sweet smell and be exceptionally sticky.
Pregnancy: Hormone changes associated with pregnancy can increase the risk of bladder infections and vaginal discharge, both of which can produce smelly urine.
Phenylketonuria: This is an inherited condition that affects the metabolism. Patients cannot process phenylalanine in the diet, resulting in foul-smelling urine.
Maple syrup disease: This is a genetic disorder in which your urine smells like maple syrup. In this condition, certain dietary proteins cannot be broken down. If a patient does not change their diet accordingly to adjust to their disease, it can result in brain damage or even death.
Cloudy urine with odor: People with high blood ketone levels that are on a low-carb diet or perhaps fasting, as well as those who have difficulty controlling diabetes can have urine with an odor. With ketone, a sweet, acetone-like odor in the urine can be detected.
Cloudy urine with odor can also be a sign of dehydration, especially if it smells like ammonia. If you have a urinary tract infection or when you are pregnant, your cloudy urine can also be foul-smelling.
Treatment options for smelly urine
Treatment for smelly urine depends on the cause. It can be as simple as drinking more water or treating the underlying condition that is causing the odor, such as kidney stones, diabetes, or liver problems.
When to see a doctor for smelly urine
You should see a doctor for your smelly urine, if you begin to experience other symptoms aside from smelly urine, such as pain, changes in urination habits, or problem managing diabetes.
Getting rid of strong urine odor
To get rid of smelly urine that has a strong, ammonia-like odor, you may want to try one or more of the following tips.
Stay hydrated: Drinking water more often can help dilute your urine and reduce any odor attributed to it.
Reduce protein intake: Eating less protein can reduce your body’s production of urea and as a result get rid of that nasty odor.
Urinate more often: While it’s not always possible, urinating whenever you feel the urge rather than waiting for your bladder to fill can reduce the odor of your urine, as it spends less time being held in the bladder and is less concentrated.
Ask about your medication: Some medications can cause odorous urine as a side effect, so if you begin experiencing this after starting a new medication, mention it to your doctor. They may need to switch your medication or dosage.
Keep track of other symptoms: While strong-smelling urine alone may not be a serious condition, when it is present along with other more worrying symptoms, it could be indicative of issues with your kidneys, bladder, or even a sexually transmitted infection.
Clean yourself thoroughly: Personal hygiene is always important, especially of the genital area. If you are not cleaning yourself thoroughly or frequently enough, the buildup of bacteria and remnants of urine can cause a strong, unpleasant scent both when you are urinating and when you are not, as the scent can linger in your undergarments and on your skin.
Related: Proteinuria (protein in urine) treatment with statins and home remedies to stop chronic kidney disease
How can I prevent a urine odor if I have urinary incontinence?
Bladder and urinary tract infections can also cause odor, therefore it is important to rule out infection if you notice odor with urinary incontinence. Women with incontinence tend to drink less liquid, causing their urine to become concentrated, which can cause a strong odor.Drinking six to eight glasses of water daily will dilute your urine and reduce or eliminate odor. Coffee and some foods, such as asparagus, can give urine a particular odor. Cranberry juice can increase the acidity of your urine, which will naturally reduce its odor. Products such as Derifil and Nullo, which are available at drug stores, can neutralize the smell of urine. Sometimes taking vitamin C will have the same effect, however vitamin C can interact with other drugs so it is important to check with your provider before trying this. Note, however, that substituting citrus fruit or juice for tablets will not have the same effect and can actually cause irritation to the bladder and worsening incontinence and odor.
Feminine Odor and 5 Other Embarrassing Health Conditions
Feminine odor isn’t exactly a topic for cocktail conversation-sure, you’ll complain about cramps and kvetch about cravings when you’re out with friends, but vaginal odor? Some problems-like bad breath, excessive sweating or painful sex-are often just too embarrassing to share, even among your closest confidantes. “Many women avoid talking to anyone, including their doctor, about symptoms they’re ashamed of,” says Susan L. Ivey, M.D., an associate professor at the UCB/UCSF joint medical program at the University of California, Berkeley. “But it’s important to come clean, because these health conditions may indicate a more serious issue.” In fact, one survey found that more than two-thirds of physicians say it’s difficult to properly treat patients who won’t fess up (which is just one reason it’s key to be honest with your doctor). In many cases a simple prescription or even an over-the-counter drug can remedy the situation. That’s why we turned to the experts for the straight talk on feminine odor and five other health woes women hide.
•Bad Breath: I have morning breath-all day
•Hemorrhoids: It hurts to sit down
•Painful Intercourse: Sex Hurts
•Excessive Sweating: I sweat so much, even on cool days!
•Feminine Odor: I smell bad “down there”
•Leaking Urine: I pee a little when I sneeze or cough-or even laugh really hardBad Breath: I have morning breath-all day
It’s normal to be self-conscious after munching on a garlic bagel. But for the more than 40 million people with halitosis, bad breath is a chronic, not an occasional, issue, says Richard Price, D.M.D., a spokesperson for the American Dental Association.
The culprits for all-day morning breath are usually bacteria that live in the back of the mouth and produce sulfuric compounds. Because these bacteria breed in cavities and bleeding gums, even those in the earliest stages of gum disease and tooth decay are at a greater risk.
Another common trigger: sinusitis and postnasal drip. Bacteria in your mouth feed on the proteins found in mucus, making everything in your mouth reek. If your breath smells sour and your mouth is dry, however, take a look at the over-the-counter and prescription drugs you’re taking. Some, like allergy medications and insulin, can alter your body chemistry or inhibit the production of saliva. A rotten-fruit odor, on the other hand, is a sure sign of a buildup of ketones, a by-product of fat digestion, which plagues diabetics and those following high-protein diets.
Bad breath fixes
First, cut back on odor-causing food like garlic and onions. Then adjust your dental routine: Brush and floss twice daily, and use a tongue scraper in the morning and before bed. “Like a squeegee, this device gets rid of mucus in the back of the mouth, where the smell-generating bacteria congregate,” says Price. Drinking plenty of water can also help wash away the water-soluble halitosis bacteria.
ARTICLE: 10 Bad (Dental) Health Habits to Break
Just as important: twice-yearly visits to your dentist. She can examine your mouth and, if necessary, irrigate it with an antimicrobial rinse or prescribe an extra-strong mouthwash. If your dentist can’t pinpoint the underlying cause of your bad breath, consult your doctor to make sure you don’t have a more serious issue like a chronic sinus problem. She may need to swap your medication or prescribe a treatment for dry mouth or sinusitis.Hemorrhoids: It hurts to sit down
About half the population will suffer from hemorrhoids by age 50, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. This painful condition is caused when the blood vessels inside or on the surface of the rectum and anus become inflamed and sometimes start bleeding. “The discomfort can make it difficult to work or engage in exercise or sexual activity,” says Philip Jaffe, M.D., an associate professor of clinical medicine at Yale School of Medicine.
Prolonged sitting, straining when going to the bathroom, pregnancy (which exerts extra pressure on the pelvis), and childbirth are common causes of hemorrhoids, says Jaffe. Anxiety can also trigger flare-ups, as you’re more likely to get constipated when you’re under stress.
Get relief: hemorrhoid treatments that really work
If your hemorrhoids are caused or irritated by constipation, Jaffe suggests increasing your liquid and fiber intake by drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily and getting at least 25 grams of fiber a day. Look for a combination of insoluble fiber (found in veggies, wheat bran, and whole-grain cereals) and soluble fiber (in oats, beans, and psyllium-fiber supplements).
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Treatment for hemorrhoids and their itching and burning: soak in a tub or sitz bath (a pan that fits over the toilet) full of warm water. Over-the-counter creams and suppositories can also help; many contain steroids that shrink the hemorrhoids’ swollen tissue. If you don’t get relief within 10 days of using the product, or you have rectal bleeding or severe pain, schedule an appointment with your doctor ASAP. “Your physician will want to rule out serious diseases, like colorectal cancer,” explains Jaffe.Painful Intercourse: Sex Hurts
“The most frequent cause of irritation during intercourse is vaginal dryness, or a lack of natural lubrication,” says Ashwin Chatwani, M.D., a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Temple University Medical School in Philadelphia. Breast-feeding and smoking (which lower estrogen levels) and some medications (like decongestants and antidepressants) can all trigger dryness in that area.
But feeling pain or tenderness inside the vagina, pelvis, or abdomen means there’s an underlying problem. Because any number of conditions may be to blame, it’s best to see a gynecologist.
Put an end to painful sex
Start with a few lifestyle changes, like avoiding scented or colored toilet paper (which may irritate the vagina) and always using a lubricant during sex. If these simple solutions don’t ease the pain, take note of what exactly you’re feeling during sex:
• If the area around the vaginal opening is sore (foreplay and inserting tampons also hurt), the culprit is likely vulvodynia, or chronic pain of the vulva. While experts aren’t sure of the exact cause, it’s often treated with prescription medications.
•If your vagina is red and swollen in addition to being in pain, you probably have a yeast infection or vulvitis, an inflammation of vaginal skin caused by an allergic reaction to some soaps or laundry detergents. (If this is your condition, use unscented products.)
•If you have a stabbing ache in your pelvis, it could be a sign of an ovarian cyst, a benign growth on your ovary. (Other symptoms include agonizing menstrual cramps or lower-back aches.) Most of these cysts go away on their own, but your ob-gyn will want to rule out ovarian cancer with a blood test.
•If you have pain and need to urinate frequently, you may have fibroids. These benign tissue growths on your uterus are usually treated with a procedure to remove or shrink the fibroids.
•If you have sharp twinges in your entire abdomen, you may have endometriosis, a condition in which uterine tissue attaches to other organs in the pelvis. Depending on your case, your physician can recommend a hormonal pill to slow the growth of the tissue. Minor surgery, like laparoscopy, will remove the tissue altogether.Excessive Sweating: I sweat so much, even on cool days!
Everyone’s glands are on overdrive in the heat or during a tough workout, but some four million women have a condition called hyperhidrosis, which causes them to perspire up to five times more than average, says DeeAnna Glaser, M.D., professor of dermatology at St. Louis School of Medicine. This condition usually affects one specific area of the body, such as the underarms, hands, face, feet, or groin. Attacks are sudden and random; sufferers never know when they’ll wind up with drenched hands or a wet blouse.
ARTICLE: Sweat and Your Workout: Surprising Sweat Myths
In the majority of cases, your genes are to blame: Hyperhidrosis is typically a hereditary disorder that affects the nervous system. Most sufferers develop the condition as kids or teens. “The brain sends abnormal signals to the glands telling them to start sweating,” says Glaser. But in cases of adult-onset hyperhidrosis, the cause is often a medical condition or a prescription drug, like the antidepressant fluoxetine or the sleeping pill eszopiclone. Both may trigger excessive sweating.
What to do about excessive sweating
Have a mild case? Try applying an antiperspirant, like Secret Clinical Strength ($8.29; drugstore.com), in the morning and at night. (If feet or hands are a problem, you can apply antiperspirant to them, too.) And be sure to wear breathable fabrics, like cotton, whenever possible.
For more persistent cases, a dermatologist can prescribe an extra strong antiperspirant or an oral medication that dries out sweat glands. One of the most effective solutions, however, is Botox, injections of which deactivate sweat glands by temporarily immobilizing them. The effect lasts seven months or so and costs about $1,000 for each affected area.
Another treatment for hands and feet, called iontophoresis, involves soaking for 20 minutes a week in a tray of water that’s charged with a very mild electrical current. You can find over-the-counter versions of iontophoresis, but the treatment has been shown in studies to be 83 percent effective when done under a doctor’s guidance.Feminine Odor: I smell bad “down there”
That not-so-fresh feeling usually indicates “a change in the chemical balance of the vagina,” explains Sumeeta Nanda, M.D., an ob-gyn in private practice in Oklahoma City. “Vaginal odor can occur for a variety of reasons, including intercourse, oral sex, or just sitting around in a wet swimsuit. And sometimes there’s no known cause.”
But if it’s a chronic problem, you may have a medical issue. In most cases, the culprit is bacterial vaginosis, an infection that results from an overgrowth of organisms normally present in the vagina. (Other signs include vaginal itching and a grayish discharge.) A yeast infection, some sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia and trichomoniasis, or pelvic inflammatory disease, an infection of the uterus and other reproductive organs, could also be responsible.
Get relief from feminine odor with these simple solutions.
Regular washing with warm water and a mild, unscented soap when bathing or showering will keep the outside of the vagina clean and healthy. Also steer clear of douching: Studies have shown that these prepackaged mixes of water and vinegar, iodine, or baking soda can introduce new bacteria into the vagina, disrupting its delicate chemical balance and making any infection worse.
ARTICLE: Down-There Health: Menstrual Disorders
If the odor persists, your best bet is to make an appointment with your doctor immediately. “It’s tempting to ask for a prescription for antibiotics over the phone, but your gynecologist can give you a better treatment in person,” says Nanda. A quick swab of your vagina will result in a speedy, accurate diagnosis (and keep you from taking antibiotics unnecessarily). If your physician determines that an infection has been causing your symptoms, it can be treated effectively with a prescription antibiotic cream or pill.Leaking Urine: I pee a little when I sneeze or cough-or even laugh really hard
More than half of all women experience some kind of urinary leakage at some point during their lives. There are two types: stress incontinence, which occurs during exercise or when you cough, and urge incontinence, a strong, sudden need to urinate.
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“The vast majority of stress incontinence occurs after childbirth,” according to Theodore Benderev, M.D., medical director of the Incontinence and Pelvic Support Institute in Mission Viejo, California. Labor and weight gain can stretch out the pelvic-floor support structure, he explains, which causes the urethra to sag and prevents it from closing. Less common triggers include urinary tract infections and high-blood pressure medications.
Get relief from leaking urine
Regular Kegel exercises can strengthen the pelvic floor, says Benderev. (To do, imagine you’re trying to stop the flow of urine, holding those muscles for a count of 10. Then relax for two or three breaths; repeat 10 times three times a day.) Combining Kegel exercises with vaginal weights, coneshaped devices that you insert into the vagina, is also effective, according to a study in The Cochrane Library. Another lowtech option is a pessary, a stiff vaginal ring that helps support the nearby urethra, preventing leakage.
Still need help? Your doctor may be able to prescribe a medication for urge incontinence, says Benderev. She might also recommend biofeedback, a technique that monitors bodily processes and helps you gain control of them, or an electrical stimulation device, which causes the muscles to contract in a Kegel-like manner.
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Odor Control to Eco-Friendly: 7 Incontinence Underwear and Pads to Try
If you find yourself experiencing urinary incontinence, we’ve got some good news: You’re definitely not alone.
It’s been reported that over 4 out of 10 women ages 65 and older experience urinary incontinence, which involves a loss of bladder control. Yet while this condition is frequently associated with aging, the truth is that it can occur at any time in a person’s life.
Moreover, it can be caused by a number of extenuating circumstances, including:
Though there are treatment options available that can potentially cure urinary incontinence, specially designed products can help to prevent leakage in the interim.
Thankfully, there are more options than ever when it comes to this type of undergarment. From stylish, reusable panties to colorful pads that can be stored discreetly in your favorite bag, brands are swapping bulky undies for stylish, supportive panties. Some brands have even created equally fashion-forward options for men.
Peruse some of our favorite options in incontinence underwear and pads below, but take note, the Office on Women’s Health recommends speaking with a healthcare professional if you do experience urinary incontinence.
Willow Women’s Disposable Signature Underwear
- Cost: Free trial and then $54.99 a box
- Available at: Willow
If you’re new to incontinence underwear, Willow Women’s might be a great place to start. The monthly subscription box begins with a month-long free trial (you just have to cover $4.99 for shipping), which gives you time to test out the feel and fit of its disposable undies.
Once the trial is over, you can decide how often you’d like to receive the underwear and plans can be cancelled at any time.
Available in multiple neutral colors and sizes, Willow’s undies received top marks from online reviewers for feeling like a regular pair of underwear and its unnoticeable fit under clothing. The only downside is the products are made to be worn only once and then disposed. However, Willow does create its underwear using natural fibers and cuts back on the packaging.
- also available in men’s styles
- made from 30% natural fibers, packaging is recyclable and minimal
Icon Hi-Waist Pee-Proof Panties
- Cost: $39
- Available at: Icon
From the makers of THINX, a line of moisture-absorbent menstruation underwear, comes Icon, washable incontinence underwear.
Icon created a variety of styles — from thongs to bikini cut — to suit your wardrobe and absorbency needs. Each pair of underwear holds up to eight teaspoons of liquid, except for the thong which only holds three.
If you’re new to the brand, Icon says its Hi-Waist style is their best-seller, and based on online reviews, it’s easy to see why. Customers frequently praise the underwear for being comfortable and stylish but still sexy, and some were excited to find no visible panty lines while wearing.
Along with basic black and nude-colored underwear, the brand recently unveiled a summer-inspired periwinkle shade, and rose and midnight (navy blue) are also options.
- washable and reusable
- holds up to 8 teaspoons of liquid; 3 teaspoons for thongs
- available up to size 5XL
Confitex Women’s Full Brief Basic
- Cost: $34.90
- Available at: Confitex
You don’t have to sacrifice on style when it comes to incontinence underwear. The Confitex Women’s Full Brief Basic comes in three fun colors and its lace-trimmed edges make for a comfortable and cute fit.
Briefs can be washed and then reused, and their underwear are made of material that’s washer and dryer friendly. Although most online reviewers praised the product, some customers did warn that they struggled with finding a proper fit and advised those considering a purchase to carefully review the sizing chart.
- made of bamboo fiber which can last longer than cotton
- available in sizes XS–3XL
- comes in two absorbency levels
Fannypants Canyon Panties
- Cost: $29.90
- Available at: Fannypants
Made of nylon and Lycra, the Canyon underwear from Fannypants was created to give a seamless fit without the appearance of panty lines.
Available in multiple colors — including a sky blue and copper — underwear contains a stitched-on pad to hold liquid. Although you can toss these panties in the wash and reuse, Fannypants doesn’t recommend using a dryer, instead suggesting line-drying.
If you find yourself in love with the Canyon style, Fannypants also features additional collections for women, and multiple lines for men.
- odor control
- washable and reusable
Time for Me Super Incontinence Panty
- Cost: $20
- Available at: Time For Me
The diversity in sizing is what makes Time for Me a great choice for customers looking for a custom fit. Created for heavy absorbency, the high-waisted underwear can hold up to 10 ounces of liquid.
Despite the numerous sizing options available, online reviewers did warn that the product ran smaller than expected. One customer also said they experienced a lack of odor protection.
- available in sizes small to 8X
- washable and reusable
Incontinence underwear isn’t your only option for protection. Pads, available in reusable and disposable variations, are also a favorite among online customers.
HestaOrganic Washable Incontinence Pads
- Cost: $29.90–$35.90
- Available at: Hesta Organic
Available in three sizes, these cloth pads are washable and reusable and can last up to two to three years. It’s recommended that those with a heavy flow use a pad with wings, while its lighter, straight pad was made for more flexibility.
Although some online reviewers liked that the product was able to provide them with an entire day of protection, others experienced leakage — even when selecting a heavier size.
- washable and reusable
- made of eco-friendly 100% organic cotton
Wegreeco Bamboo Reusable Sanitary Pads
- Cost: $14.99 for a 5 pack
- Available at: Amazon
Have some fun with your choice of protection and choose one of these colorful incontinence pads. Created with a bamboo charcoal inner fabric, pads can be rewashed and reused, but Wegreeco does recommend changing your pad every two to six hours, or as needed.
Along with cute designs, the pads come with a waterproof carrying case to hold new and used pads. Online reviewers liked the addition of the bag, but some did note that the pads were longer in size than expected, and others felt the snap-on closure didn’t prevent the pad from sliding during daily wear.
- waterproof carrying case
- washable and reusable
It’s important to find a product that suits your needs
There are a number of incontinence products out there, so finding the right one may feel overwhelming. Whether you prefer a colorful pad or wish to wear an adorable pair of lacy undies, it’s your choice and should be based on your individual needs.
Lauren Rearick is a freelance writer and fan of coffee. You can find her tweeting at @laurenelizrrr or on her website.