Can I use menstrual liners for urinary incontinence? At joni, we’re all about normalizing the taboo topic of menstruation. In doing so, some of our beloved customers have opened our eyes to another conversation that is “off-limits” in the mainstream: incontinence. Often considered an embarrassing topic, it affects people of all ages and genders. It’s time we talk about it because, as we know with periods, when health topics are considered taboo, then there are those who get left behind.
UI in Canada may be as high as 50%
In Canada, about 10% of the population experiences some form of incontinence—that’s 3.5 million Canadians; however, this is estimated to be much higher than reported because of taboos. When asked if people suffer from incontinence, the numbers are lower than when asked, “do you have an occasional involuntary leakage of urine”, which can bring the average up to 50%!1 While there are all kinds of reasons for UI, one thing is for sure: it’s common.
A personal story
We had the wonderful opportunity to talk to Michele. As a 70-year-old woman who was looking for more sustainable and organic options for her UI, she stumbled upon joni and really wanted to share her story to perhaps help others.
While urinary incontinence (UI) can affect people of all ages for different reasons, it is most common with age. “I’m not sure I can pinpoint when it started exactly but what I can tell you is that over time it progressed,” said Michele. “In the beginning, it was just a matter of trying to get to the washroom without peeing yourself. And sneezing didn’t help either. You make sure to know where the washrooms are when in public and you squeeze your legs together and try to subside the need long enough to get to a washroom. It can sometimes catch you by surprise. There are times when you may have gone to the washroom and five minutes later you need to go again.”
Taboos are no joke
Because of taboos, many people don’t want to share what is happening with doctors or family (or sometimes themselves!). Or they may even joke with friends about sneezing causing a problem. But there’s a line to be drawn between jokes and actually going to the pharmacy to purchase “adult diapers”.
Michele explained: “At first, it wasn’t too bad because all I had to do was maybe change my underwear or if I was out, it meant trying to dry them with toilet paper and then wrapping them in toilet paper so that your pants didn’t get wet. So, you line your panties with tissues just in case.”
It can happen to anyone at any age
Incontinence affects lives in many ways. Michele told us that for some in her peer group, it deterred them from socializing and running errands, and caused undue embarrassment. It’s not an easy subject for some people but in her experience, the topic is being talked about amongst friends and family. And it helps that advertising for incontinence products is no longer geared toward seniors, since “It can happen to anyone at any age,” said Michele.
“There are those that don’t want to admit to the problem: they feel embarrassed or feel that they are less of a person. The thought of wearing a liner or panty makes them feel like they are no longer in control of their lives or like it’s the end of the world. They then restrict their activities and sometimes become housebound.”
At 67, when her UI was enough that she avoided wearing skirts due to dribbles, Michele relented to using panty liners, which provided enough support for her needs and gave back her freedom. That was until she developed a sensitivity to the liners. “I was having vaginal itching that became extremely uncomfortable. Vaginal ointments or creams did nothing to ease the uncomfortableness until my doctor mentioned that it was my liner.”
The search for organic urinary incontinence liners
And so began Michele’s search for organic UI products instead of the conventional synthetic products she had been using. She was surprised to find very few options as her local health stores didn’t even carry UI products.
There is a difference between incontinence and menstrual pads in their design. Pads for UI are designed to manage a much more rapid flow and volume, plus contain ingredients to alleviate odors. Unfortunately, the ingredients required to obtain these characteristics are usually synthetic and contain dyes, perfumes, super-absorbents, and plastic (which doesn’t breathe).
Michele, who experiences light urinary incontinence, began her search online looking for natural incontinence products and natural liners and came across joni liners. “ I sent for a package and found, to my relief, to be just what I needed. The absorbency is very good and fits comfortably.” Made from organic bamboo, joni liners are ultra-soft and three times more absorbent than organic cotton. They are also free from plastic, chemicals, synthetic materials, dyes, and perfumes that cause irritation.
There are different styles of urinary incontinence products on the market, from liners to underwear. While not specifically made for incontinence, Michele adds that “For me the liners are good but if I were going out on a special occasion, I might consider getting panties. They are apparently more absorbent than a liner.”
Break the Cycle
We’re so grateful for Michele sharing her story with us but she is not unique. We have several customers who have reached out to us to share how they’ve used joni to support their urinary incontinence, which is a testament alone to how the conversation is changing. One person even bought enough packages of joni to give to her dinner party guests! What has struck us most about what Michele told us was how UI can affect people emotionally—enough that they can become housebound! We’re inspired by all those who are breaking down the barriers and finding ways to support themselves and others so they can live the lives they are meant to, and to their fullest! Thank you Michele for sharing your story with us so that it can possibly help others!
Can I use menstrual liners for urinary incontinence? If you have any form of incontinence, please discuss it with your doctor. Common does not always mean there’s no cause for concern and it’s necessary to rule out other issues. Your doctor may also be able to recommend exercises, foods to avoid, and even medication if it’s appropriate for your particular situation.