Absorbent products for the containment of urinary and/or faecal incontinence in adults

E Shirran, M Brazzelli

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Incontinence is a distressing condition with significant medical, social and economic implications. People suffering from incontinence, who cannot be successfully cured, depend, almost exclusively, on the use of containment products to manage their symptoms.

OBJECTIVES: Many people with incontinence cannot be cured and so depend on symptomatic management. The objective was to assess the effects of different types of absorbent product for the containment of urinary and/or faecal incontinence.

SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched the Cochrane Incontinence Group trials register (March 1999), Embase (to January 1999), Cinahl (to January 1999), HealthSTAR (to January 1999) and the reference lists of relevant articles. We contacted investigators in the field to locate studies. Date of the most recent searches: March 1999.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Types of studies All randomised or quasi-randomised trials of absorbent products for the containment of urinary and/or faecal incontinence. Types of participants All adults with urinary and/or faecal incontinence were eligible. The intention was to subdivide participants by severity of underlying incontinence, level of mobility and gender, but this proved not to be feasible. Types of intervention Absorbent products (bodyworns, underpads, and different fabric types for disposable products), for any severity of incontinence.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Trials were evaluated for subject relevance and methodological quality using a standard methodological quality assessment form. If applicable, data on relevant outcomes were then abstracted using a standardised data abstraction form.

MAIN RESULTS: Five studies with a total of 345 participants met the selection criteria. Two studies compared disposable with non-disposable bodyworns, one disposable with non-disposable underpads, two fluff pulp with superabsorbent polymers, and one bodyworns with underpads. Data presented on effects were available for few outcomes and were subject to potential bias.

REVIEWER'S CONCLUSIONS: The data were too few and of insufficient quality to provide a firm basis for practice. Disposable products may be more effective than non-disposable products in decreasing the incidence of skin problems and superabsorbent products may perform better than fluff pulp products. However, based on the available evidence, these conclusions can only be tentative.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)CD001406
JournalCochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Absorption
  • Clothing
  • Equipment and Supplies
  • Fecal Incontinence
  • Humans
  • Urinary Incontinence
  • Journal Article
  • Review


Dive into the research topics of 'Absorbent products for the containment of urinary and/or faecal incontinence in adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this