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Attached to Hygiene Podcast
Episode 56:
What Incontinence Users Want from Their Products
with Alan Cottenden

Three consumers share their experiences with incontinence, the products they use to manage the condition, and their hopes for future innovation.

More breathable, in my case, and discreet enough to be able to wear with leggings and things. And obviously, because I'm going to be moving about quite a lot with some of the activities that I do, something that stays in place a bit better. Because even with the sticky back and everything, they come, like, ridden up.

And the trouble that you get with the discreet ones is that they're slimmer. And you end up with this tiny little screwed up mess in the end. So you've actually got a problem where it's not going to be doing anything because it's got twisted with all the movements that you're doing. Whereas, obviously, if I had worn something bigger, then I'm lending myself to being obvious to people in the class that I'm wearing something.

Daily management of incontinence can be complicated. Many sufferers rely on absorbent hygiene products to cope with their condition. Although their experiences vary widely, some needs (leak protection, discretion, and affordability, etc.) are fairly common. How well these are met can make or break the product users’ trust in a brand forever.

So how can producers better serve consumers? One simple approach is to talk to product users. In this episode of ‘Attached to Hygiene’, host Jack Hughes revisits an earlier discussion featuring guest moderator Alan Cottenden who spoke with a user panel from Europe. As Emeritus Professor of Incontinence Technology at University College London, Alan has extensive expertise with incontinence products and user experience.

Panellists Tonneke, Chris, and Rebecca relate how current market products help them live more active lives. They also explore what innovations they hope to see in the future from the market.

Managing incontinence with absorbent hygiene products

Incontinence affects an individual's daily life on many levels and to differing degrees. For some, it is just a small ‘oops’ during a sneeze or other physical activity. For others, it can be a sudden and complete release of the bladder or bowels. To live as normally as possible, users rely on a product's effectiveness for absorption, odour control, and more.

Methods for coping are many, from choosing particular clothes (and bringing spares), to planning their agendas around bathroom breaks. The absorbent hygiene products they use are a key aspect of their planning. Some shift between as many as 5 or 6 different articles depending on planned activities. And, whilst users appreciate recent product improvements, each has a wish list that would make living with incontinence just a bit easier.

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Outline of Episode 56

  • [04:49] Understanding user experience helps you address their concerns
  • [06:03] Introduction of panellists and their conditions
  • [12:57] Incontinence of any type can limit options or make living a full life difficult
  • [16:38] Secrecy, discretion, and the reactions of others to incontinence
  • [22:51] The panellists’ experiences … Do current products meet their needs?
  • [29:14] Skin health and managing issues caused by incontinence
  • [33:05] Changes that would improve user experience with incontinence products
  • [39:00] Why consumers may mix and match various product types
  • [43:42] Users want more sustainable products, but they can’t sacrifice performance or afford expensive solutions
  • [49:51] The impact of a product’s appearance on discretion and attitude

Connect with Our Guest

You can find Alan on LinkedIn. You may wish to leave him a message through our email at

If you'd like to donate to any of the preferred charities of our panellists, you can do so via the links below. For additional information, download our 1-page PDFs, ‘Fit is Key to Comfort and Performance in Adult Incontinence’ and ‘Core Performance in Adult Incontinence’.

Or, request a copy of our complete ‘Adult Incontinence’ whitepaper.


Connect with the Attached to Hygiene Podcast Team

Additional Resources About Adult Incontinence:
*Please note that access to Bostik Academy: Absorbent Hygiene is only available to Bostik Customers and Partners.

Host: Jack Hughes
Music by: Jonathan Boyle
Produced and edited by: Jack Hughes with help from Paul Andrews, Michele TonkovitzEmory ChurnessNikki Ackerman, and Green Onion Creative. Post production for Attached to Hygiene is done by

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Disover more episodes on Adult Incontinence!

Incontinence Product User Panel #2 with Alan Cottenden

Episode 30

The Incontinence Market in the U.S. with Vicki Wolpoff, Adam Greenberg, and Diane Toonen

Episode 14

The Needs of Incontinence Sufferers with Vicki Wolpoff and Adam Greenberg

Episode 15