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

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.


Go to Episode


Outline of the Episode
  • [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 Guests

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

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You can email us with questions, comments, or ideas for future episodes at [email protected].

Host: Jack Hughes

Music by Jonathan Boyle

Produced and edited by: Jack Hughes with help from Paul Andrews, Michele Tonkovitz, Emory Churness, Nikki Ackerman, and Green Onion Creative.

See also

Back to all articles
  • Disposable Hygiene

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

Nov 8, 2021
  • Disposable Hygiene

The Needs of Incontinence Sufferers with Vicki Wolpoff and Adam Greenberg

Nov 22, 2021
  • Disposable Hygiene

Incontinence Product User Panel pt. 1 with Alan Cottenden

Jun 20, 2022