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My Elderly Mom’s Diaper Keeps Leaking. Help!

March 06, 2014 2 min read

    “My 74 year old mother keeps leaking through her diapers and I don’t know why. I’m tired of doing all this laundry! Any suggestions?”

There are several reasons why your mother’s briefs are leaking:

  • The briefs are not the right size. Adult diapers come in a variety of sizes from extra small to bariatric. To ensure the right fit, measure your mother’s waist and hips and choose the size that best fits her. Keep in mind that different brands have different sizes. A small Depends will fit waist/hips of 34 to 36”, while a small Tena Women Protective Underwear will fit waist/hips of 29 to 40”.
  • The briefs are not the right absorbency. How much and how often does your mother leak? If she has constant accidents with high volume, it’d be best to find an adult diaper or pull up with moderate to heavy absorbency. Some of the most absorbent incontinence products we carry include Abena Abri-Form Briefs, Molicare Briefs and Prevail PM Briefs.
  • The briefs are not the right style. The range of disposable incontinence products is expansive, and they’re not all created equal. Some briefs have superior wicking capabilities that draw urine away from the skin, while others have elastic leg gathers that helps prevent leaks. Some pull up and down like regular underwear, while others have multiple tape tabs for easy adjustments. There are even protective underwear designed specifically for a woman’s body. Finding the right style for your mother’s incontinence needs will take some trial and error. We recommend trying out different brands and styles before choosing a diaper.
  • Your mother is not changing her brief often. Ideally, your mother should change her diaper as soon as it becomes soiled. If she is unable to change herself, provide assistance and frequently check her for wetness. A flooded diaper will not only leak but can also cause painful diaper rashes.
  • Your mother has a urinary tract infection (UTI). Women, especially elderly women, are much more likely than men to develop UTIs. Such infections can irritate the bladder, causing your mother to have strong and/or frequent urges to urinate, slow or painful urination, or a burning sensation during urination. Schedule an appointment for your mom to check for any infections.
  • Your mother is dehydrated. Make sure your mother drinks plenty of water throughout the day. Some people think that drinking less water will help with incontinence; however, dehydration can actually irritate the bladder and make incontinence symptoms even worse. Dehydration can also cause constipation, which can also trigger bladder spasms or weaken pelvic floor muscles.

Hopefully the reasons above will help you determine why your mom’s briefs are leaking and what you can do to prevent it. You should also invest in waterproof bedding to keep the mattress and bedding dry and protected. Washable underpads are easy to switch out when they get soiled in the middle of the night. Breathable mattress covers are very comfortable to sleep on, and vinyl covers are economical and easy to clean.


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