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Your first thought might be that “the more it absorbs the better”. In fact an incontinence pad is carefully designed and, as in any technical product, its suitability depends on a range of factors.  High Absorbency is no substitute for a pad that does not perform well in other ways.

So what does an ABSORBENCY figure mean?  Figures for absorbency are derived from standard laboratory tests which will tell you if one pad absorbs more than another.  They do not tell you how much the pad absorbs and holds when you are using it.

An adult bladder usually holds about 550ml (a pint). Most people feel the need to empty their bladder when it is about half full so the amount of urine excreted at one time is about a cupful.  Most pads are easily able to hold several times the volume of urine likely to be excreted at one time.

And if a pad really held the quoted absorbency the weight being supported would be very uncomfortable.  1000ml of urine weighs the same as a bag of sugar!

So what else is important?

SPEED The tests that produce absorbency figures take no account of the sudden rush of urine that is the feature of many types of incontinence. High quality pads absorb quickly.

LEAKAGE Having absorbed the urine pads should hold on to it when you move or put pressure on the pad. High quality pads don’t leak.

COMFORT Pads should be comfortable and feel secure. High quality pads are shaped to fit the body snugly and perform well without being too big.

MATERIALS The materials used should prevent odour and soreness. The outside layer next to clothing should remain dry as well as the surface next to your skin. These are key features of quality pads.

CHOICE As well as the quality of the pads there should a range to suit variations in your condition. For example, if you need a more absorbent pad at night it’s easier to select another pad from the range you usually use.

The way pads perform also depends on how they are used.  Arelle always recommends using STRETCH BRIEFS to hold the pad snugly in place.  This will make the pad work better so you may be able to use fewer or smaller pads.

So to provide security you don’t need the most absorbent pads.  With advice and quality products you will be able to find the pads that are just right for you.  They will work better and may save you money.