Glossary of Incontinence Terms
Absorbent Core: Inner layer of the diaper or brief that pulls moisture away from the skin. It is usually made with either Super Absorbent Polymers (SAP) or wood-pulp. Making up the majority bulk of the diaper, this fluff core is important in containing odors and moisture.
Adult Briefs: Briefs (occasionally referred to as Adult Diapers), are made specifically for individuals who experience urinary or fecal incontinence. Diapers are available in a wide range of sizes and absorbency levels to best fit the needs and level of incontinence for each individual.
Adult Pull-ups: Pull-ups, or protective underwear, are available in a range of sizes and absorbency levels for individuals suffering from incontinence issues. Pull-ups are the preferred choice for users who are still ambulatory and able to access the bathroom when possible.
Anti-bacterial Coated Catheter: Antibacterial-coated intermittent catheters give all the benefits of an intermittent catheter along with an outside layer of nitrofurazone, an antibacterial agent proven to fight pathogens known to cause urinary tract infections (UTI’s).
Bedpads/Chux Underpads: Chux underpads are an incontinence option for individuals with various levels of incontinence. These underpads may be used alone for occasional leaks at night, or in conjunction with diapers or pull-ups for added protection against incontinence.
Bladder Control Pads: A solution for lighter incontinence issues that doesn’t require a full diaper. Pads for women and men offer a more discreet option that is less bulky than diapers or pull ups, giving people the freedom to wear what they like.
Catheter Kits: Catheter kits provide a user everything needed to perform catheterization in one convenient, sterile container.
Closed System Catheters: Closed system catheters include a pre-lubricated, intermittent catheter inside a sterile collection bag with an introducer tip at the end. These catheters provide offer the user no touch catheterization that can help reduce the risk of UTI’s.
Coude Tip Catheter: Coude tip intermittent catheters have a slightly curved tip with small eyelets at the end to allow for urination flow. As with all intermittent catheters, coude tip catheters should be removed after each time the bladder is emptied.
Drainage Bag: A drainage bag is a bag used to collect fluids drained by use of a catheter; these can either be a leg bag or large draining bags.
External (Condom) Catheter: Condom catheters are the most common type of external catheter, also known as a Texas Catheter or Urisheath Catheter. Unlike other types of catheters which are inserted into the urethra, the condom catheter wraps around the penis, connects to a tube, and drains to a leg bag which is often strapped onto the inner thigh.
Gloves: Ambidextrous gloves have inner and outer layers to provide comfort and safety. The powdered inner layer allows the glove to fit the hand smoothly, whereas the non-permeable outer layer keeps clean-up sanitary.
Hydrophilic Coated Catheter: Hydrophilic coated catheters are a popular type of intermittent catheters that have a pre-lubricated, slippery surface that when activated, provide an easier, more comfortable insertion and removal.
Indwelling (Foley) Catheter: Indwelling, or Foley, catheters work on a two-channel system: one channel runs the entire length of the tube and is open at both ends to allow the urine to drain from the bladder to the urinary drainage bag; the other channel is one-way which leads to a balloon filled with sterilized water to keep the catheter inside of the bladder and from slipping out. These catheters usually stay in the bladder for an extended amount of time and are inserted and removed by a physician rather than the user.
Intermittent Catheter: Instead of being worn for an entire day like with indwelling catheters, intermittent catheters are only inserted at designated urination times and can be disposed of after use.
Inner Layer or Top Sheet: This layer comes in direct contact with the skin. It quickly absorbs liquid, transferring moisture into the absorbent core to keep skin dry.
Large Drainage Bag: bigger, so you can go extended periods of time without worrying about your bag overfilling; cover a wider array of bag types including night drainage bags, bedside bags, and wheelchair bags.
Latex-free Catheter: Latex-free catheters are great for patients who may have an allergy to latex materials. Latex-free catheters are available in a range of stiffness and because of their firm material, may be easier for some patients to insert.
Leg Bag: most useful during the day when you are out and about because they are smaller, more discreet, and are easily attached to your leg with straps; they are designed to comfortably fit under your clothes, making them virtually invisible.
Olive Tip Catheter: Olive tip catheters are a type of coude tip catheter with a slight curve towards the end. Olive tip catheters come with a small bulb attached to the curved end which assists in navigating the catheter through tight or restrictive spaces.
Pediatric Pull-Ups: For toddlers transitioning to potty training or for older children struggling with nighttime incontinence. Training pants allow toddlers to have more control of their potty training while still allowing parents to check for messes. Sleep Overs are a discreet, underwear like pull-up for older children.
Pediatric Diapers: Offered in a variety of sizes for growing babies, pediatric diapers are absorbent and soft on sensitive skin. Pediatric diapers have a stretchy inner leg cuff to allow babies to move freely without leaks or irritation. Refastenable tabs allow parents to check for messes without removing the entire diaper.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Catheter: Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) catheters are more firm than rubber catheters, but have more flexibility than silicone catheters. These catheters are good for patients who may need a slightly stiffer material than available with rubber catheters, have a latex allergy or who have an enlarged prostate.
Rubber Catheter: Rubber catheters, typically referred to as Red Rubber catheters, are among the most prescribed catheter types. These catheters are suitable for male or female catheterization and are more flexible and soft than some of the other types of catheters. Because of their flexibility, rubber catheters can be challenging for some patients to insert. This type of catheter does contain latex so if you have an allergy to latex, it is best to opt for another material for your catheter.
Silicone Catheter: Silicone catheters have been shown to be more compatible with the urethral tissue than latex based catheters. This compatibility can lead to lessened aggravation of the urethra and reduced incidence of urethritis. Silicone catheters also feature thinner walls which can result in greater flow, an advantage to catheter users who suffer from blog clots or sediment in their urine. Silicone catheters may be firmer than latex catheters, which some patients say can cause discomfort at insertion.
Straight Tip Catheter: Straight tip intermittent catheters are catheters that have a straight tip with no curved or bent end. As with all intermittent catheters, straight tip intermittent catheters are removed and changed frequently throughout the day.
Super Absorbent Polymers: Invented in Japan during the 70’s and incorporated into the absorbent core of diapers during the 80’s. The small crystals are infused within the core and claim to absorb 300 times it’s weight in water. SAPs are able to lock-in moisture, preventing leaks, skin irritation and odor.
Urinary Incontinence (UI): loss of bladder control that becomes more common with age or when muscles are too weak or too active; symptoms can range from mild leaking to uncontrollable wetting. Women experience UI more often than men.
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI): A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that occurs within part of the urinary system such as the kidneys, bladder, ureters, or urethra.
Urinary Catheter: a flexible plastic tube used to drain urine from your bladder when you cannot urinate by yourself; the catheter connects to the bladder by insertion through the urethra, the opening that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.
Waterproof Outer Shell: Outer-layer of the diaper that prevents moisture and mess from leaving the diaper. This shell is often made with plastic treated materials to ensure leak protection.
Wipes: Pre-moistened cloths dispensed from soft-packs are a necessary supply for incontinence product users. Adult and pediatric users will benefit from durable, soft on skin wipes for clean-ups.
Wood Pulp: Reduced fiber material used in the absorbent core of diapers to pull moisture away from the skin and distribute the liquid within the core. Wood pulp is effective in maintaining a dry environment and locking in odor.