Many American men and women suffer from urinary incontinence. While statistically, it’s hard to say just how many people suffer from urinary incontinence, it’s estimated that 25 million adult Americans experience temporary or chronic urinary incontinence. Due to people living longer, there has been an increase in incontinence sufferers, making it the fastest-growing absorbent hygiene issue among adults. In order to meet this growing need, 36 of our members of the National Diaper Bank Network operate distribution programs for adult incontinence products, also known as urinary incontinence products. In 2021, our members distributed two million products on average each month to approximately 4,125 adults throughout the US. 

What is Urinary Incontinence?

As the name suggests, urinary incontinence occurs when a person leaks urine unintentionally or uncontrollably. While it can happen to anyone, urinary incontinence is more common in people over the age of 50, especially women. In addition to experiencing embarrassment,  people avoid their normal activities due to a lack of bladder control. Aging does not necessarily mean you’ll develop urinary incontinence. And for those who struggle with incontinence, there are ways to treat and control this medical condition . While urinary incontinence affects more than 25 million adults in the United States, it is estimated one-in-three women of all ages and stages of life at some point experience incontinence. Men can also suffer from it, but women are more likely to struggle with incontinence because of pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause. There is, however, a misconception that urinary incontinence is just part of aging. It can happen to young adults and those with developmental disabilities.

When does it occur?

There are many factors that can contribute to urinary incontinence, including:

  • Pregnancy – An increase in the weight of the fetus and hormonal changes can result in stress incontinence during pregnancy.
  • Childbirth – Delivering a baby can result in damaged bladder nerves and supportive tissue, leading to weakened bladder muscles. 
  • Age – There may be involuntary bladder contractions as you age due to deterioration in the bladder muscle.
  • Other underlying conditions – Neurological disorders, enlarged prostate, or even cancer may be a contributing factor in urinary incontinence.

Who is impacted?

It is estimated that 25 million adults suffer from temporary or chronic urinary incontinence. While incontinence can affect anyone, it is more common in women over 50. Urinary incontinence can be a temporary condition caused by a medical condition. It can range from minor losses of urine to severe, frequent wetting.

Urinary Incontinence and Hygiene

If you are experiencing urinary incontinence, it’s extremely important to ensure you are constantly changing your adult incontinence products to prevent infection. Similarly, how babies get diaper rash, the same thing can happen to adults and if you aren’t maintaining clean habits, you can get rashes which can ultimately lead to inflammation or infection of the skin. Lack of sufficient incontinence products disproportionately impacts people experiencing poverty. In a survey of our member diaper banks in 2021, we found that 89% of members distributed incontinence pads and liners, 83% distributed  adult briefs, and 69% distributed underpads. 


It is important for us at the National Diaper Bank Network to provide resources for adults experiencing  urinary incontinence. Our member programs are increasing the number of products we offer for adult incontinence each year to meet the growing demand. But we need your help to support these programs. You can support our work by making a donation. If you or someone you know is experiencing a need related to urinary incontinence, you can find a member diaper bank near you by clicking here.

It is the mission of the National Diaper Bank Network to provide relief for the most vulnerable populations in the United States and ensure that all individuals, children, and families have the material basic necessities they require to reach their full potential.