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All articles here are written by Melinda Briana Epler (that's me!) unless otherwise noted. I'm a documentary filmmaker, writer, and brand experience designer - I've dedicated my life to living a sustainable lifestyle and helping others do the same. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or thoughts for articles. Welcome!

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For Older, Wiser Ladies: Green Solutions to Incontinence

The other day a reader wrote me anonymously asking if there were any green solutions to the normal leakage that occurs with getting older.

Our society is just full of “taboos,” right?  I received many emails from women thanking me for bringing up the idea of greening our menstrual cycles.  It’s a shame to me that we don’t talk about these things more readily – especially since they are so much a regular, normal part of our lives!  So I encourage you all to be a little more forthcoming about it, a little more willing and ready to discuss it, a little more ok with the fact that we are women and this is what our bodies do and that is just normal!

And to our lovely male readers – maybe you can help us all be ok with these normal parts of our lives, too?

I would say the same is true for incontinence.  It’s an embarrassing part of growing older and wiser, but it is a normal part.  Our muscles change over time – and that is that.  I want to anonymously thank the reader who asked me to write about this – it was brave, and it was just right on – thank you.  I know you’re not alone in looking for these solutions!

So…  Here’s the thing:  I’m not there yet, so I don’t know personally.  However, I did do some research.  Here’s what I found…

Panties for Incontinence

Green Solutions to Incontinence

  1. Lunapad – I asked Morgan, who so graciously offered the Lunapad Giveway.  Here was her response: “Cloth pads and pantyliners are a great eco-friendly solution. We have quite a few customers who use our products for just such purposes. Here are our recommendations.”
  2. Moon Pads – In addition to their cotton pads, Moon Pads have a line of waterproof pads that they recommend for incontinence here.
  3. Sckoon Organic Underwear – Sckoon has a line of Organic Cotton Reusable Urinary Stress Incontinence Underwear, where the liner is built into the product.  Check them out here – they look like a pretty light-weight solution, if you just need a little safety mechanism.  (They’re also available on Amazon, if you prefer shopping there.)
  4. HealthDri Cotton Panties – Available for men and women, there are several styles to choose from here.  They vary from light volume to much heavier volume.
  5. NatraCare Organic Cotton PadsThese incontinence pads are not reusable, but they are organic cotton and available in most natural foods stores.  I imagine they are much more comfortable and comforting than Depends.
  6. Nighttime Pants – If you need more protection in the evenings, I found these washable bedtime pants that are quite discreet.
  7. Bedding – You can find small bed pads at almost any department store, which you can just slip beneath your sheet.  I won’t list them all here, as there are so many good options I’m sure you’ll have no trouble finding them in the bedding and nursing sections of a local store.
  8. Other Resources for Panties, Pants and Pads – While I don’t know these companies, I found several online that have quite a lot of options:  P&S Healthcare, Metro Medical, and LL Medico.  Each of these has a variety of styles, several of which are quite beautiful looking.

What About You?

Please let me know if you have tried any of these, or if you know of other good solutions.  If you’re shy to write a comment, please feel free to send me an email instead.  Or, in this special case, feel free to comment as “Anonymous”!

And younger ladies, feel free to share these tips with your mom!

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4 comments to For Older, Wiser Ladies: Green, Reusable Solutions to Incontinence

  • Anonymous

    A few years ago, I had a “surprise period” in an underdeveloped foreign country where I could not find menstrual pads or tampons. I ended up using cotton terrycloth washcloths, which worked remarkably well.
    Later, I found that the flannel pads that I used for menstruation are sometimes not absorbent enough for incontinence, although I see these now sometimes contain cotton terry or batting, so I might try the new ones, plus the waterproof lining would be nice.
    But washcloths worked well as a menstrual pad, and work even better for an incontinence pad. My advice is buy soft, absorbent, small 100% cotton washcloths. The most expensive washcloths are too thick, and the cheapest are too rough for this purpose. Fold in 4ths lengthwise by folding a quarter of the washcloth in from each side, then folding in half lengthwise, so you have a long pad about 2.5” x 10”. If you need really heavy coverage, fold in half again along the width (and then maybe use another one folded in fourths under that). Or you can fold a washcloth in half, and wrap around the crotch of your cotton briefs (Mom underwear holds them in place fairly well). I am size L-XL, about size 14-16.
    I change these right away when I have an accident. I don’t sit on them wet. Only once have I had a skin breakdown, when I could not change the pad right away, and had to walk with a wet pad. The chafing cleared up right away with zinc oxide ointment. I also wrapped them in cotton flannel for a few days (that I bought to make pad-holders, that never got made). It looks like the Lunapad maxipad wrapper or Gladrag night holder wrappers might work well with terrycloth washcloth folded inside. This was what I planned to do, but have not gotten the wrappers made.
    For storage, I use Ziploc sandwich bags, and a plastic makeup pouch. I usually rinse the washcloths before putting them in the Ziploc bag if I can do it discreetly. I put the washcloths in the wash at home, and wash and reuse the Ziploc bags dedicated for this purpose. I haven’t had a problem with odor.
    I have a variable incontinence problem depending on how much coffee/tea I drink, how much overall fluid I drink, whether I have been doing Kegel exercises, how long I sleep, how much I laugh, or how long the car ride is. I don’t wear these every day, but seem to go through periods when I have problems – usually when I am drinking too much coffee and not exercising enough. I do carry extra underwear and a change of trousers or skirt just in case, but rarely have to change.
    For bed “incontinence pads”, we used large soft terrycloth towels for my mother when she became bedridden, with a piece of plastic under them (at first a dry cleaning bag, and then a thicker sheet of plastic, and they worked just fine. We had a box of disposable incontinence pads, but the terry cloth towels were softer. (Incidentally my mother grew up using rags for menstrual pads, and sometimes used rags for incontinence pads in her older years.)
    I hope this helps somebody.

  • Anonymous

    Also, rectangular cotton terry cloth wash mitts (about 5″x7″) folded in half (to about 2.5″ x 7″) work well. Some of these are made for babies, so the material is soft. They are shorter, so would probably be better for smaller women.

    I don’t have a green solution for real diaper users among the incontinent adults.

  • Dorris

    Hey Melinda, thanks for this post. I am using these Incontinence pads that I had bought online. I do not know if these are Eco friendly or not. How can I know that? Where can I find these Green Incontinence Pads.

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