Product Information for the NHS and Care Providers on Disposable Absorbent Continence Products

Download Product Information for the NHS and Care Providers on Disposable Absorbent Continence Products

AHPMA has created this product information document on disposable absorbent continence products for use by the NHS and care providers to aid understanding of the types of products which are available and for what level of incontinence they are most commonly used.



Disposable absorbent pads are designed to manage light to moderate and heavy urinary incontinence and / or faecal incontinence.

A full continence assessment should always be completed to determine the underlying cause of incontinence and wherever possible should be treated.

If pads are chosen to manage incontinence then it is really important to choose the type and absorbency of pad based on individual clinical need.

The NHS will decide on product type based on clinical need. These and other products are available for people who wish to purchase their own.

Disposable Pads – Product Categories

There are many different product designs to manage all levels and types of incontinence and these can be male or female specific or unisex.

1. Male products
Disposable pads designed for men can be anatomically shaped shields or guards or can be pouches which are pocket shaped pads which the penis fits into. These products are specifically designed for men and are designed to manage very light (post micturition dribble) to moderate urinary incontinence.

2. Shaped pads
Small body shaped pads are anatomically shaped with adhesive tapes on the underside. To ensure the pad remains in place they need to be secured into close fitting underwear. They are designed to manage very light to moderate urinary incontinence. Larger anatomically shaped pads are designed to be worn with fixation pants and are used to manage heavy urinary and / or faecal incontinence.

3. All-in-One products
All-in-one products are available in a range of sizes and absorbency levels and are designed to manage heavy urinary and / or faecal incontinence. They are available in different designs with different fixation systems depending on the product.

4. Pull-On / Pants / Protective Underwear
All-in-one absorbent pants that can be pulled up and down like normal underwear and are designed to manage light to heavy urinary and / or faecal incontinence. They are available in a range of sizes and absorbency levels.

Disposable Pads – Product Hints and Tips


1. Choose the absorbency and type of pad according to individual clinical need.

2. Shaped pads for light to moderate urinary incontinence can be worn with the person’s own close fitting underwear.

3. Shaped pads for heavy incontinence should be worn with the correct size of fixation pants.

4. When using an all-in-one pad for heavy incontinence, choose the correct size based on the individual’s hip and waist measurement.


1. Gently fold and cup the pad before fitting the pad.

2. Allow the leakage barriers (if applicable) to stand up naturally when the pad is folded and cupped.

3. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure that the pad is closely fitted and secure on the body.


1. If the pad has a wetness indicator check if the pad requires changing.

2. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines as to when the pad should be changed.

3. Clean and dry pads can be reapplied after toileting.

4. Remove any soiled pads from the rear if possible.

5. Clean skin as per your local policy.

6. Barrier creams should only be used if necessary and manufacturers guidelines should be followed. Powder should not be used at all. These can affect the absorbency of the pad preventing urine being absorbed and placing the skin at risk.


1. Pads should be disposed of as per your local authority or NHS waste policy.

2. Do not flush pads or any type of disposable incontinence product down the toilet.

3. Fixation pants are re-usable.


Pads should be stored in a clean and dry environment as they could absorb moisture especially if they are stored in a damp environment e.g. a bathroom, so reducing their effectiveness in use. We advise to keep disposable absorbent continence pads in their packaging until they are ready to be used.

Flammability Safety Advice:

Products such as absorbent continence products may ignite if they are exposed to a flame or heat source such as a lit cigarette, halogen lamp, or bar heater for example. This can occur whether they are worn or still in packaging. Products can also add fuel to a developing fire. We recommend following the advice of the London Fire Brigade with regard to safe use and storage. London Fire Brigade fire safety advice for users of healthcare products and equipment can be found at:

This document may be subject to change from time to time in accordance with product innovation and will be reviewed as standard on a regular basis.

The Absorbent Hygiene Products Manufacturers Association (AHPMA) is the UK trade association for the UK manufacturers of feminine hygiene products, disposable infant nappies and continence care products.


Tel: 01483 418221

Download Product Information for the NHS and Care Providers on Disposable Absorbent Continence Products