Incontinence Pads Vs. Menstrual Pads: What's the Difference?

If you’re one of the many women who experience bladder leakage, otherwise known as urinary incontinence, you’re not alone. Urinary incontinence affects 1 in 4 women, and it can be tough to figure out whether it’s urine or your run-of-the-mill menstrual or vaginal discharge.

It can be even more confusing to know which type of pad you should be using, so read this post to find out.

Is It Urinary Incontinence or Menstruation?


While it can feel the same when it’s happening in our bodies, there’s a big difference between urinary leakage and menstruating.

Incontinence occurs in many women and the likelihood that you'll develop incontinence increases as you age; Over 70 percent of women aged 65 and older experience leakage. In addition, there are different types of incontinence people can experience.

Urge Incontinence: Urge incontinence comes with the urgent feeling of needing to urinate that can’t be avoided and often results in bladder leakage or leakage of a rapid flow of urine. Urge incontinence occurs due to bladder contractions and the inability to hold urine.

Stress Incontinence: Stress incontinence occurs when you engage in physical activities such as laughing, sneezing, coughing, lifting heavy objects, or exercising. This happens due to pressure being put on your abdomen and weak bladder muscles.


Incontinence padsIncontinence pads

Overflow Incontinence: This incontinence occurs when you cannot completely empty your bladder and, as a result, urine leaks or dribbles from your bladder. This can be due to blockages in the urethra or nerve damage.

Mixed Incontinence: Mixed incontinence happens when you experience different types of incontinence together. Most often, it is a mixture of urge and stress incontinence.

When you have urinary incontinence or bladder leaks, you may feel like you are experiencing thin and wet liquid coming from your body. When menstruating, you may feel the leakage of thick liquid, which is menstrual blood.

Are Incontinence Pads & Menstrual Pads the Same?


Some women may opt for a period pad because they are embarrassed to buy bladder pads, but these products are not the same.

It’s essential to buy the right product for your condition because many different features are associated with each. Choosing the correct product can help you get back your quality of life and resume the daily activities that you enjoy.

women with incontinence padswomen with incontinence pads

The Pros of Bladder Pads


Different types of pads do different things. Incontinence pads, also known as bladder control pads, are part of a wide range of incontinence products that Aeroflow Urology can offer through insurance. Bladder control pads are different from sanitary pads in many ways.

#1. Absorbency

Bladder control pads are superabsorbent pads that use super-absorbent polymers to help wick away and hold your leakage, so you feel dryer for longer. The high absorbency level is one of the main reasons you should be using an incontinence pad instead of a maxi pad. The polymer can hold up to 300 times more liquid weight than regular panty liners, providing maximum absorbent protection.

Bladder pads also include distribution layers. Many incontinence pads offer a soft, top sheet layer and an acquisition layer to keep your skin dry while still holding a large amount of urine.

bladder pads give absorbencybladder pads give absorbency

#2. Odor Protection

Urine odors are not very pleasant, and that’s another benefit of using absorbent products such as bladder pads rather than sanitary pads. Unfortunately, menstrual pads don’t come equipped to control odors.

odor protection with bladder padsodor protection with bladder pads

#3. Skin Protection

Your skin health is essential, especially down there! Panty liners can commonly lead to urinary tract infections (UTIs) due to bacteria from your urethra living in a warm environment that may not be absorbing all of your urinary leakages.

Period pads can also lead to itching and burning because they may not be able to absorb the acid in your urine. More absorbent pads, such as incontinence pads, are commonly made with hypoallergenic materials that allow your skin to breathe, so it stays free of rashes and skin irritation.

Pads protect against irritants Pads protect against irritants

#4. Custom Fit

Unlike many maxi pads, bladder pads and adult diapers can be made with features that allow for a comfortable and custom fit for each person and how they intend to use the pad. For example, some bladder pads are unisex, some are male / female-specific, and others are made with more or less padding for different levels of absorbency.

Bladder pads can also be made with adhesive strips for easy reuse, so you don’t have to replace the pad every time you use the bathroom.


ladies with incontinence using bladder padsladies with incontinence using bladder pads

Types of Products for Urinary Incontinence


While bladder pads may be the most similar to menstrual pads, there are other products Aeroflow Direct offers that can be used to manage your urinary incontinence.

Mixed-Leakage Feminine Pads

Some pads are made for menstruation and urinary leakage protection. While they may not hold as much urine as a regular bladder pad, you can still use this type of feminine pad to help manage urinary leakage and menstruation.

 

Disposable Briefs

Disposable briefs, also known as adults diapers or adult briefs, offer full coverage for urinary incontinence for maximum absorbency.

Incontinence Pads

Incontinence pads are used for urinary incontinence and offer maximum protection against odor and leakage.

Booster Pads

You can use booster pads for extra protection on top of your adult briefs or incontinence pads. Booster pads come with absorbent materials to help catch urinary leakages, even when you’re sleeping.

Adult Underwear

Adult underwear is the ultimate comfortable product for controlling urinary incontinence. You can wear them all day and stay dry with the underwear’s super-absorbent materials.

What About Urinary Leakage During Your Period?


If you’re menstruating and experiencing incontinence, you can use tampons and an incontinence pad at the same time— just remember that it’s always a good idea to change your tampon as you urinate throughout the day. Doing so may help you avoid UTIs or other urinary-related infections, such as toxic shock syndrome.

You can also use a mixed-protection feminine pad explicitly made for urinary and menstrual leakage, such as Prevail's 3-in-1 pads.

Recommended Products


Style: Feminine Liner 3-in-1

Absorbency Level:  Light

Incontinence Level: Light with menstrual leakage

Sizing: All

Key Product Features:

  • Designed especially for women
  • Light absorbency
  • 3-in-1 protection from bladder leaks, menstrual leaks, and daily discharge
  • Up to 9 hours of leak protection
  • Odor Guard technology neutralizes odors
  • Hypoallergenic and 100% breathable
  • 7.5” long

Diaper Style: Tabbed Brief

Absorbency Level:  Super (Maximum)

Incontinence Level: Heavy to Severe Bladder and/or Bowel Incontinence

Sizing: Medium to Extra Large

Key Product Features:

  • Soft, clothlike backsheet, feels like regular underwear
  • DryLock Containment Core quickly wicks liquid away from the skin and locks it in the core below 
  • Breathable side panels keeps reduce heat and humidity 
  • ConfidenceCuff Protection help prevent leaks from the legs

Diaper Style: Tabbed Brief

Absorbency Level:  Maximum / Overnight  

Incontinence Level: Heavy to Severe Bladder and/or Bowel Incontinence

Sizing: Extra Small to Extra Large

Key Product Features:

  • Cloth-like inner layer is soft against skin
  • Plastic backsheet keeps even severe bladder and bowel incontinence inside
  • Quick-wick Superabsorbent Polymers guarantee skin dryness, odor reduction, pH neutralization of urine and inhibition of bacterial growth
  • Kufguards help prevent leaks from the legs
  • Can hold up to 1 liter of liquid

Diaper Style: Tabbed Brief

Absorbency Level:  Maximum / Overnight  

Incontinence Level: Heavy to Severe Bladder and/or Bowel Incontinence

Sizing: Medium to Large

Key Product Features:

  • Soft, clothlike outer fabric
  • Quick-wick Microclimate Care wicks moisture and humidity from skin to keep it cool and dry
  • MaxSorb Gel technology quickly absorbs and locks in wetness
  • Breathable poly layer traps wetness inside but allows heat and humidity to escape

 

Diaper Style: Pull-on Protective Underwear

Absorbency Level:  Extra (Heavy)

Incontinence Level: Moderate to Heavy Bladder Incontinence 

Sizing: Medium to Extra Large

Key Product Features:

  • Feminine, purple color
  • Soft, cloth-like backsheet looks and feels like regular underwear
  • Quick-wick Microclimate Care wicks moisture and humidity from skin to keep it cool and dry
  • 360° Breathable Zones help you stay cool and comfortable by allowing air to circulate
  • MaxSorb Gel technology quickly absorbs and locks in wetness
  • Odor guard neutralizes odors before the start

Diaper Style: Pull-on Protective Underwear

Absorbency Level:  Maximum (Heavy)

Incontinence Level: Moderate to Heavy Bladder Incontinence

Sizing: Small to Extra Large

Key Product Benefits:

  • Feminine, tan color
  • Soft, cloth-like backsheet, feels like regular underwear
  • Quick-wick Instadry technology quickly pulls liquid away from the skin and locks it in the absorbent core below
  • Odor control technology locks liquid away and neutralizes odor
  • ConfioAir Fully Breathable technology helps maintain skin’s natural moisture balance

Diaper Style: Pull-on Protective Underwear

Absorbency Level:  Heavy

Incontinence Level: Moderate to Heavy Bladder Incontinence

Sizing: Medium to Extra Large

Key Product Features:

  • Feminine, tan color
  • Soft, cloth-like backsheet, feels like regular underwear
  • Quick-wick DermaDry technology quickly pulls moisture away from the skin and into the absorbent core below
  • Odor Shield blocks odors and keeps you feeling fresh and clean
  • Breathable fabric allows for air circulation and reduce heat and humidity

Which Products Should You Choose?


When deciding if incontinence pads or menstrual pads are suitable for you, your healthcare provider and Aeroflow Direct store can help. 

If you find yourself in need of incontinence supplies but don't have the means to buy them, you can see if you qualify to receive FREE incontinence products through Aeroflow Urology!

Aeroflow Urology is a supplier of at-home DME. We can give you incontinence products for free or at a low cost depending on your Medicaid or private insurance plan coverage. 

If you already know that you’d like to use incontinence products but are feeling embarrassed to shop for your supplies in person, we've got you covered! Aeroflow Urology delivers incontinence supplies directly to your door in discreet packaging.

How It Works


If you're ready to see if you can qualify for incontinence supplies through your insurance, just follow these simple steps!

Step 1. Fill out Aeroflow Urology's qualify form. 

Step2. One of our Continence Care Specialists will reach out to you to let you know if you qualify for incontinence supplies, such as adult briefs or bladder pads, through your insurance. If so, they'll help you navigate our selection and find which products are right for you. Your products will be delivered directly to your door in discreet packaging. 

Step 3. Each month, we'll send you a text message or email reminder to let you know it's time to refill your supply, so you'll never run out of incontinence products again.

If you're interested in learning more about managing your incontinence, visit the Aeroflow Urology blog.

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