In discussions about incontinence, urinary conditions often take the lead. However, fecal incontinence is also becoming a growing area of interest among disposable hygiene manufacturers. This is especially true as the number of aging adults continues to increase.
Both types of incontinence have the potential to significantly impact the lives of individual sufferers. Caregivers at home and in health care facilities are also affected. Urinary and fecal incontinence can be described as follows:
- Urinary incontinence can range from a little dribble or the occasional “oops” to complete loss of bladder control. It is estimated that more than 400 million people worldwide experience episodes of adult urinary incontinence. It is also believed that it takes an average of seven years for an individual suffering from urinary incontinence to seek treatment. As a result, there are likely many undiagnosed cases, making it even more difficult to estimate the number of adults living with this condition.
- Fecal incontinence cases are more prevalent in adults in hospital, nursing home, and long-term care settings. Contributing factors include age, reduced mobility or paralysis, neurological impairment, and other medical conditions. Adults who experience fecal incontinence typically also experience urinary incontinence.
A variety of disposable hygiene products are currently available—and others are under development—to help manage both urinary and fecal incontinence. Among them are adult diapers, underwear-like pull up diapers, and protective pads. Which product, or combination of products, is used depends on the needs of the individual and, if applicable, the needs of the caregiver.
Included in the various user groups of adult incontinence products are:
- Active adults
- Impaired/non-ambulatory adults
Active adults who suffer from incontinence often want the freedom to live their lives while keeping their conditions discreet. Avoiding skin irritation and discomfort is of significant importance to impaired and non-ambulatory adults. Caregivers want to be able to quickly and easily change soiled products to also preserve skin wellness and reduce the need for changing soiled clothing and linens.
As a disposable hygiene manufacturer, there are many factors to take into consideration when creating products that can adequately assist in managing urinary and fecal incontinence. Choosing the right adhesive to support product integrity and performance goals can have an impact on more than one area. It can aid in achieving ongoing loyalty among consumers and caregivers, support profitability in the marketplace, and potentially increase operational efficiencies as well.
Disposable hygiene advancements bring unique opportunities
Some of the opportunities in adult incontinence products may result from advances that are derived from baby care design improvements. Specific improvements that are helping to enhance the daily life for incontinent adults and caregivers include:
- Elasticized panels for pull-on products
- Sensing technology
- Reinforced leakage protection at the legs and belt
- Improved belt systems for better change procedure
- Lower absorbency for more efficient bowel leakage containment
Gender-specific designs—not only applicable to decoration—make products easier to adopt by multiple populations, while also supporting skin wellness and bowel leakage management.
The right level of peel performance, elastic creep performance, and core integrity supported by the right adhesive are also critical.
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