The word diaper is usually associated with infants and children who have not yet been toilet trained. In recent years, however, diapers are being made for adults to address a number of issues. In a medical context, the term is “adult absorbent briefs” rather than diapers.
The medical reasons that require the use of adult diapers might include one or more of the following:
1. Incontinence or lack of bladder control
2. Fecal incontinence
3. Bedridden or wheelchair-bound patients whose movement is restricted
4. Persons with severe diarrhea
5. Persons with cognitive impairment or dementia who do not recognize their need for a toilet
Otherwise, adult diapers are used by:
1. Astronauts and scuba divers for obvious reasons.
2. Death row inmates who are about to be executed.
3. Persons who cannot access toilets for long hours, such as guards on duty, pilots on long flights, people who want to avoid long queues for toilets, and patients in drunken coma.
Adult diapers come in various shapes and sizes, as well as different materials. They may be just like child diapers or more like underpants, and pads resembling sanitary napkins. They may also be drip collectors with varying capacities and sizes. The largest consumption is of the lower absorbency range of products, not because these are less expensive but because it is a preferred practice to change diapers frequently, usually every two hours.
Swimmers use diapers when they cannot go back to the changing rooms frequently. Even persons undergoing pool therapy need adult diapers while in the pool. They prefer adult diapers that are made of stretch fabric and are washable and reusable. There are no disposable adult swim diapers.
Astronauts wear adult diapers during liftoff and landing. Called MAGs for Maximum Absorbency Garments, such diapers are of super-absorbent fabric and can hold up to 400 times its weight. This product was developed for Apollo astronauts so that they could stay on spacewalks and extra-vehicular activity for at least six hours.
Types of diapers available in the market include the following:
- Briefs: A diaper that has tabs on the side. This is not a pull-on garment. Types of briefs:
- With cloth-like backing or plastic backing
- Refastenable or non-refastenable
- For overnight or day use
- Bariatric Briefs for plus-sized individuals, including for very large waist sizes
- Pull-ups: A diaper that you can pull on like underwear. These are more suitable for taking on and off. As many people prefer this style, pull-ups are available with and without refastenable tabs.