Incontinence Pads vs. Menstrual Pads

Incontinence Pads vs. Menstrual Pads

Do maxi pads work for incontinence?

The short answer is absolutely not. Skimping on money by buying sanitary pads instead of incontinence pads also means skimping on odor protection, absorbency, comfort and the health of your skin.

This is true because of the fundamental differences between period pads and incontinence pads:

Bladder control pads, also referred to as incontinence pads, are equipped with tiny polymers called super absorbent polymers (SAP) that expand and turn into gel as fluid touches them. This allows the pad to absorb fluid more quickly and efficiently and offer better odor control. Although sanitary pads are cheaper than urinary incontinence pads, they are not designed with the same technology and don’t lock in moisture properly, so using them as incontinence pads will leave the skin damp and uncomfortable and may also damage skin integrity. In addition, because the tiny super absorbent polymers are so small, even a small amount of polymers offers excellent absorbency, resulting in thinner, lighter and more comfortable pads.

There are four main structural differences between sanitary pads and bladder control pads*:

Feature Menstrual Pads Bladder Control Pads Resulting benefit of incontinence pads
Leakage Barrier No elastic Elastic barriers included …Prevent leaks and offer better fit
Top Sheet Open design for thick liquids Special design top sheet and distribution layers …Specifically designed for rapid flow of urine
Absorption Lower absorption power Super absorbant polymers …Absorb and lock in heavy amounts of liquid quickly
Odor Control Deoderant masks odor pH balance controls odor …Neutralize odors instead of masking them


If you find it embarrassing to choose the incontinence liners at the store and find yourself gravitating toward the sanitary pads, get them online and have them delivered directly to you.

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Do incontinence pads work for menstruation?

What about the other way around? Can bladder control pads absorb blood efficiently?

From the chart above it is clear that sanitary pads are designed specifically for blood and incontinence pads aren’t, however, the incontinence pads for women do seem to be somewhat effective for blood absorption. Here’s what people who have tried it report**:

“…the results are that they do actually work. You can use a bladder protection pad in place of an actual period pad. However, it does soak in differently. Period fluid doesn’t get absorbed into the urine pad as well as it would a regular one. It’s a lot slower. But other than that, it worked just the same!”

“I have tried incontinence pads and they don’t absorb the blood and when I use menstrual pads a couple of coughs and I’ve wet my underwear.”

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*   Source: TENA

** Source:


Disclaimer: No information presented on this website or in this guide is medical advice or intended as a substitute for the advice of a physician. All information on this website concerning medical conditions is from publicly available sources.

By | 2019-12-30T13:55:33+00:00 February 15th, 2017|Guides, Incontinence|1 Comment

One Comment

  1. Hanna Landman February 16, 2017 at 9:44 am

    Has anyone heard of a two-in-one, though? There are definitely people who could benefit from that!

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