Which of the biggest brand incontinence pads and pants for women really work?
Seven million UK women suffer from urinary incontinence - including England's chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies, who has suffered to varying degrees since the birth of her daughter 26 years ago.
Incontinence can be debilitating for women, leading to depression and relationship breakdowns. But there are - at last - a range of products available to help, as well as a growth in understanding about the issue.
What are incontinence pads?
Incontinence pads are special absorbent pads worn inside your underwear to help with urinary incontinence. They are the most popular incontinence products as they are discreet and easy to buy. Pads are designed to draw urine away from the surface (just like a nappy) to help avoid sore skin.
Can you use sanitary pads instead of incontinence pads?
It's not recommended to swap incontinence pads or pads for sanitary pads - which is a shame as they are usually cheaper! But the technology behind them isn't quite the same, sadly, and can leave you with sore, irritated skin.
What are incontinence pants?
An affordable, discreet way to manage urinary incontinence. They are disposable, pull-up pants with a waterproof back sheet, that encourages airflow while absorbing urine and neutralising odours.
What is urinary incontinence?
Find out everything you need to know about urinary incontinence.
Are incontinence pads available on prescription?
You might be able to qualify for incontinence pads, pants or hand-held urinals on prescription, but it will depend on your local NHS. To qualify you may need to be assessed by a healthcare professional and meet certain criteria. Find out more about getting incontinence products on the NHS
Are incontinence pads clinical waste?
Incontinence pads, like sanitary products or catheter waste, are classed as infectious waste. They should be double-bagged and placed out for collection with your normal household waste.
Can incontinence pads cause UTIs?
Unfortunately yes, there does seem to be a correlation between using incontinence pads and an increased risk of urinary tract infection, as shown in this study. Using proper incontinence pads or pants rather than sanitary pads; regularly going to the toilet; good personal hygiene and drinking plenty of water will all reduce your risk.
We spend more than £400 a year on incontinence pads so we tested the biggest brands to find our which ones are worth your money
Tena Lady Discreet Pants review
£3.75 pack of 6
What they say: The disposable cotton-soft absorbent pant has an improved waist and looks like your everyday underwear. TENA Lady Pants Discreet gives you Triple Protection from leaks, odour and moisture. • Fresh Odour Control helps prevent unwanted odour • New integrated leakage barriers for optimum security • Triple Protection – Dry, Secure & Odour Control
What our tester thought: These pants were a good fit and were very absorbent. I felt confident wearing them and didn’t worry about leaking. They’re good value too.
Depend Active Fit Pants review
£7.75 pack of 8
What they say: Active-Fit Underwear was previously known as Real Fit. Packaging may vary. Depend® Active-Fit underwear with Motion-Flex Technology is uniquely designed to provide discreet and comfortable protection even when active. The lightweight cotton-like fabric smoothly flexes with your body for a perfect secure fit at all time.
What our tester thought: These are the most expensive but you do get what you pay for. I hardly noticed them, they move with you and don’t rustle. I felt extremely dry and comfortable all day.
Always Discreet Pants review
£7.50 pack of 12
What they say: Don’t let incontinence keep you from being active. With ALWAYS DISCREET Incontinence Underwear Normal Medium you can continue with your day as normal even when you experience large amounts of leakage caused by unintentional frequent urinary leakage from sneezing, coughing and sudden urges, yet need protection that stays in place.
What our tester thought: Comfortable and secure these pants took care of any leaks and kept me nice and fresh. They didn’t feel bulky either.
Always Discreet Pads review
£2.49 pack of 12
What they say: Always Discreet for sensitive bladder. RapidDry and odour lock protection; Unique DualLock core; Helps lock away odour and wetness; Full length LeakGuards to help stop leaks; Always Discreet Incontinence thin and flexible, even when wet. Fits discreetly; Individually wrapped. Reclosable for discreet disposal; Exclusive OdourLock Technology neutralises odours instantly and continuously, lightly scented; Always Discreet Incontinence protections are dermatologically tested
What our tester thought: These are nice and thin and absorbent, I didn’t worry about leaks and stayed fresh for longer thanks to the light scent.
Tena lady discreet pads review
£2.45 for 12 pads
What they say: New microPROTEXTM technology from TENA cleverly compresses ultra-absorbent materials, to create a thinner pad that rapidly draws away moisture away from the skin. It’s remarkably secure and discreet protection.
What our tester thought: These were quite bulky and uncomfortable. They didn’t keep me very dry and I was very worried about leaks.
Natracare Dry and Light review
£3.30 pack of 20
What they say: The Dry & Light pads offer a double thick layer of absorbing cellulose encased in a soft, certified organic, 100% cotton cover that allows your skin to breathe and stay dry in comfort, especially for those with sensitive skin. Soft certified organic cotton cover; Breathable natural materials; Ecologically certified absorbent core; Plant based leak-proof barrier
What our tester thought: So comfortable I forgot I was wearing a pad, they were pretty absorbent and stayed put. Perfect if you just have a few leaks. They’re great value for money and eco-friendly too.