Sex differences in the use of absorbent (incontinence) pads in independently living elderly people: do men receive less care?

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To examine the use and satisfaction of absorbent (incontinence) pads in independently living men and women aged 60 and above with urinary incontinence (UI).


The subjects participated in a large-scale study about the prevalence of UI. All the independently living patients in nine family practices aged 60 or above with uncomplicated UI, who were willing to participate in the study were interviewed at home.


In total, 56 men and 314 women were interviewed. Fifteen per cent of the men and 87% of the women with UI used pads. All men and nine out of 10 women used different kinds of absorbent pads, and half of the men and women used pads specifically made for UI. Only half of the men and two-third of the women felt satisfied with the pads. The reasons for not being satisfied were: leakage, irritation and discomfort. The use of pads, the use at daytime and the type of pads were correlated to the severity of incontinence.


Only one out of nine men with UI uses pads in contrast with four out of five women. Only half of them wear pads specifically made for UI. Men are less satisfied about the pads compared with women.

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