Can Wearing Incontinence Pads Cause UTIs? A Review of the Facts and Alternative Options

Jessica Lubahn 9 min read

Can Wearing Incontinence Pads Cause UTIs? A Review of the Facts and Alternative Options

As if it’s not already frustrating enough to deal with incontinence issues, now you’ve got a UTI on top of everything. 

What’s the deal, anyway? Can you get a UTI from wearing pads?

The answer might not be so simple. 

In this post, we’ll discuss the possible causes of your UTI and what changes you can make to avoid future infections.

Table of Contents


can pads cause uti

Are Incontinence Pads Different Than Menstrual Pads?

While it may be tempting to reach for menstrual pads to absorb urine leakage, it’s not a good idea. 

Urinary incontinence products are specifically designed to absorb the rapid flow of urine, whereas menstrual pads are slower to absorb and can result in embarrassing leakage.

Additionally, incontinence pads are designed to wick moisture away and eliminate odor. Some contain a special gel that will solidify the urine and help with odor. 

The wicking material can also help protect the skin. Because the urine control pads neutralize the acid in your urine, they reduce the risk of developing a skin rash. 

If you find the idea of purchasing urinary control pads to be daunting, we understand. ONDRwear leakproof underwear was designed by a urologist with you in mind. 

Our underwear fits like a second skin, so you don’t have to worry about bulky pads preventing you from living your best life. The antimicrobial properties in our environmentally friendly material prevent odors, and our undies absorb 25% more than the leading competitors.

Forget embarrassing leaks and bulky pads — try ONDRwear for maximum comfort and protection.   


can wearing incontinence pads cause uti

Can Using Incontinence Pads Cause UTIs?

Multiple studies indicate that urine control pads are associated with an increased risk of UTIs, however, it’s not entirely clear what the reason is. In some cases, it may have to do with how long a pad is worn, while in other cases, it’s the environment caused by the pad that leads to a urinary tract infection.

Below, we outline some specific reasons your pads may be causing your UTI — and what you can do to help prevent future infections.

3 Additional Factors to Consider When UTIs Occur While Using Incontinence Pads

Now that we’ve covered the importance of using urine control pads versus menstrual pads, let’s take a closer look at some additional factors that may be contributing to your UTI.

Perhaps you’re already using the right pad (kudos to you!), but are still experiencing the pain and discomfort of a UTI. Frustrating, right? We hope the suggestions below will prove helpful for the future.

#1: The Amount of Time Pads Are Worn

Can pads cause UTIs if they’re not changed often enough? It’s possible. 

Experts recommend changing your incontinence pad around four to six times daily, or whenever it gets wet. 

Not only can you experience chafing and skin conditions if the pad is left too long, but you’ll also be contributing to bacteria growth and bad odors.

Pads designed for overnight use are recommended when sleeping. They tend to absorb more and provide additional coverage to avoid leakage when you’re tossing and turning in your sleep.

Your incontinence pad should be changed immediately after waking up to avoid irritation or possible infection. 

#2: Hand Hygiene

Your hands are hosts to all kinds of bacteria. When changing pads, it’s important to wash your hands before and after you handle the pad. 

Urinary incontinence is a common problem with the elderly, and as a result, so are UTIs. 

It’s estimated that more than 75% of elderly patients in nursing care require assistance with using the toilet. Naturally, absorbent products such as pads and diapers are required.

Transmission of bacteria is associated with UTIs, making hand hygiene among nursing home staff extremely important. 

#3: The Environment Created By Pads

Regardless of how well your pad absorbs, when urine is in constant contact with your skin, it creates a hot and humid environment that’s perfect for growing bacteria. 

Again, you should always change the pad as soon as it feels wet. It also helps to clean and thoroughly dry the genital area between pads. Staying as dry as possible can help reduce the risk of UTIs, rashes, or other irritations.


If You Think Wearing Incontinence Pads Is Causing Your UTIs, What Can You Do?

If you’ve played the “elimination game” to determine possible causes and have concluded that your incontinence pads are the culprit behind your UTIs, then you may need to change the way you’re doing things — or stop using pads altogether.

Follow Product Instructions and Maintain Good Hygiene

Does anyone really read the product instructions for incontinence pads? How complicated can it be, right? Well, if you think the pads are the cause of your UTI, then maybe taking a look through the instructions won’t hurt.

Fecal matter may be transferred from the pad to your urethra, for example. If the pad has not adhered to your underwear properly, it may shift, resulting in bacterial transfer.

Or maybe you were in a rush and changed your pad after relieving yourself and wiping away the excess. Improper hand hygiene can result in the transmission of harmful bacteria that can cause UTIs.

So, next time you’re rushing to change your pad, slow down and follow these steps:

  1. Remove the soiled pad and dispose of it in the garbage.
  2. Relieve yourself if needed.
  3. Rinse and thoroughly dry your genital area.
  4. Wash your hands thoroughly.
  5. Insert the new pad, following the product instructions. 

Explore Alternative Products for Incontinence Protection

Incontinence pads are not the only way to avoid messy and embarrassing situations. In fact, they may just be the least appealing option.

For one, no one likes the idea of shopping in the “adult diaper” section of the grocery store or pharmacy. We get it.

And secondly, urine control pads or diapers can feel bulky and uncomfortable. Not to mention, many people avoid doing some of their favorite activities for fear of leakage or that the pad might show through clothing.

The good news is that there is an alternative. It’s cost-effective, discreet, and offers the ultimate comfort and confidence. It’s called ONDRwear.

Designed by a urologist, Dr. Jessica Lubahn, ONDRwear provides the perfect alternative to incontinence pads or diapers. 

ONDRwear is made from the highest quality, plant-based materials that: 

  • Wick moisture away 
  • Don’t put any pressure on your urethra; and 
  • Keep you odor-free


can-you get a uti from wearing pads

Besides UTIs, Are There Other Conditions Wearing Incontinence Pads Can Lead To?

UTIs might seem like a drop in the bucket for some people when it comes to the aftermath of wearing incontinence pads. Unfortunately, pads can lead to a few other problems, such as rashes and yeast infections.


Most often, pad rashes are caused by contact dermatitis. When your skin comes in contact with something irritating in your pad, such as …

  • Fragrances
  • Adhesive
  • Top sheet
  • Absorbent core; or
  • Back sheet

… you may become irritated in that area, and eventually develop a rash. It’s important to treat rashes as soon as possible, as untreated rashes may lead to a yeast infection. 

If you develop a rash, try taking a sitz bath for 5-10 minutes a day to relieve the area. Make sure your genitals are completely dry before inserting a new pad. 

Hydrocortisone cream can be used on the outside of the genital area if irritation persists, but you should never put the cream inside the vaginal canal or urethra. 

You may have to try a few tactics to avoid future rashes, such as …

  • Switching brands
  • Wearing loose underwear
  • Change your pads more frequently; and
  • Avoid scented products

… before getting to the root of the problem. 

Yeast Infections

Yeast infections can be caused by menstrual or urinary control pad use, as the pads create a breeding ground for bacteria.

Yeast thrives in high-moisture environments. Unfortunately, not all pads are created equal, and even the most absorbent pads can still leave the wearer feeling damp and unsanitary. 

You might have a yeast infection if you notice:

  • A burning or itching sensation; and
  • White, clumpy discharge on your pad or underwear

You can help prevent yeast infections from occurring if:

  • You practice hand hygiene
  • Change your pads often; and 
  • Keep your genitals clean and dry

Replace Your Incontinence Pads With Confidence: ONDRwear – Urologist Designed, With You in Mind

Created by a urologist, Jessica Luban, ONDRwear is the perfect defense against UTIs caused by urinary control pads.

Not only does ONDRwear help you stay fresh and dry, but it’s also: 

  • Available for both men and women
  • Amazingly comfortable
  • Eco-friendly
  • Sustainable
  • Machine washable; and 
  • Naturally odor-free

And ONDRwear comes in all of your favorite styles, including:

  • Thong
  • Bikini
  • Boy short; and
  • High-waisted brief

Urinary incontinence doesn’t have to be the root of all your problems. With ONDRwear, you can face your challenges with confidence.

ONDRwear is your solution for …

  • Discreet
  • Odor-free
  • Comfortable
  • Eco-friendly; and
  • Durable

… leak-proof underwear that won’t cause irritation, infection, or embarrassment.

Protect yourself from UTIs and feel confident while wearing ONDRwear.


can wearing incontinence pads cause uti


The content in this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.