Adult Diaper & Incontinence Frequently Asked Questions


What is incontinence?

Incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine and/or stool. Other common descriptions are loss of bladder control, overactive bladder, bladder control problems and more.

How do I choose the right adult diaper?

Disposable pull-on underwear is becoming the preferred style for active individuals and those who are caring for themselves. If you're seeking a product for your own incontinence care needs or purchasing it for someone who is relatively active, a pull-up style is our recommended solution.

If you are caring for someone who has limited mobility or may be completely immobile, we recommend considering one of our brief-style diapers with tabs. The tabs are easier to custom fit when putting on and easy to open from the side when it is time for changing.

Can adults get diaper rash?

Yes, adults can get diaper rash. Diaper rash occurs when moisture and/or bacteria are exposed to the skin, causing red/pink patches of irritated skin.

How do I treat adult diaper rash?

Diaper rash is most often treated with a barrier cream. When applying barrier cream, apply a thin layer and rub it in like lotion on the hands. It is essential to use highly absorbent products and change them according to the manufacturer’s guidelines to prevent diaper rash. Wetness against the skin is the main culprit of diaper rash, so changing the product promptly when the diaper reaches capacity can help prevent and improve diaper rash.

How do you change an adult diaper?

If you have a pull-on style diaper, the name implies exactly how it can be changed: simply pull it on or pull it off. If you have a tabbed brief style diaper, there are a couple of approaches based on whether the diaper is being put on while standing, sitting or lying down. View our step-by-step visual guide for more details.

How should an adult diaper fit?

An adult diaper should fit snug, yet comfortable, with no gaps near the leg holes. See the visual guides below for reference: propersize.pngfaqgraphicvertical.png

How do I put on an adult diaper?

For pull-on style adult diapers, step into the product like traditional underwear and pull them up just above the waist. For a tape-tab brief, the way to put it on depends on whether one is standing, sitting or lying down during application. View our step-by-step visual guide for helpful instructions.

What is the most absorbent diaper for adults?

We have several superabsorbent products that can hold up to 34 oz of fluid (that’s a little over 4 cups!). Which product you pick depends on your preference in style.

    1. For a pull-on underwear style product, we recommend the Tranquility® Premium Overnight™ Disposable Underwear which can hold up to 34 oz of fluid.
    2. For a clothlike tab-style brief product, we recommend the Tranquility SmartCore® Disposable Brief which can hold up to 34 oz of fluid.
    3. For a poly-back tab-style brief, we recommend the Tranquility ATN™ (All-Through-The-Night) Disposable Briefs which can hold up to 34 oz of fluid.
    4. For users who still wear regular underwear and want to add an absorbent insert, we recommend our Tranquility OverNight Personal Care Pads. While it doesn’t offer a 34-oz capacity like our adult tab-style briefs or pull-on disposable underwear do, these are our most absorbent pads, offering 16.9 oz of protection and allowing the user to still wear regular underwear.

For more information on the styles and options we offer, check out our blog posts on the Best Adult Diapers or the Most Absorbent Adult Diapers.

How often should an adult diaper be changed?

How often an adult diaper needs to be changed depends on the product being used and the wearer. Individual incontinence can range from very light to very heavy and can include urinary incontinence and/or bowel incontinence. Adult diapers range in their level of absorbency from very light to very heavy. It is important to match the wearer with the right product to ensure comfort, protect skin health and mitigate the number of required changes. Adult diapers should be changed after being soiled and before the skin shows any signs of moisture. For those with fecal incontinence, the adult diaper should be changed promptly following a fecal episode.

How much liquid can an adult diaper hold?

It depends! Different diapers hold different amounts and types of incontinence waste. Some are meant for light urinary incontinence only, while superabsorbent products can handle both urinary and bowel incontinence. We offer products that range in absorbency from light dribbles to full urinary episodes, holding up to 34 oz.

How often should I change an adult diaper?

An adult diaper should be changed as soon as it has reached its capacity and before it is presenting moisture on the skin. Skin must be kept dry to maintain proper skin health. The adult diaper should be changed promptly following a fecal incontinence episode.

What is an adult diaper called?

There are two styles of adult diapers: pull-on style or tape-tab briefs. Pull-on styles may also be called “disposable underwear”, “absorbent pull-ons”, “adult diapers” or a name of a similar variation.

Tab-style briefs may also be called “tabbed briefs”, “tape-tab diapers”, “adult diapers with tabs” or something of a similar variation. The word “tab” or “brief” almost always indicates it is a tape-tab brief style of diaper.

It is important to note that despite the many naming conventions, diapers always fall into one of these two style categories.

Will drinking less fluid decrease my incontinence?

No. Cutting back on fluid intake can lead to dehydration, constipation, and irritation of the bladder. It is true that certain types of fluids should be avoided such as alcohol and caffeine that irritate the bladder.

What can I do to stop leaking with my current incontinence products?

The main factors to take into consideration when choosing the correct incontinence product are:

    1. Sizing and Fit: Make sure you have the right size product. Leg openings should be snug fitting (no gaps) and should not create redness around the leg/groin area.
    2. Style and absorption capacity required: Make sure that you are wearing the correct product style and absorbency level to meet your needs.

Can two briefs or pads be used at the same time?

No, doubling up on products that contain a moisture barrier will not increase absorption. Briefs, disposable underwear and pads/liners are typically designed with a moisture barrier that stops the urine from passing through. This approach to adding more capacity or addressing leakage concerns works only if the second product is a "flow-through" design with no moisture barrier.

Why are some incontinence products so much more expensive?

Higher performing incontinence products (that may cost more) typically contain more super absorbent capacity and are made with superior quality material. The Tranquility Product Family keeps skin dryer, neutralizes urine pH, and reduces odors. It is often possible to save money by using the more expensive products because they require fewer changes, resulting in fewer clothing/bedding changes, less waste, less laundry, due to leakage, and better quality of life for both the care provider and the care recipient.

How is bowel incontinence managed?

Booster pads are designed to contain a bowel movement, assist in clean-up and extend the wear time of the host garment. It is important to note that the focus for bowel incontinent is on containment, not absorption.