How do you feel about the term "Adult... - The Simon Foundat...

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How do you feel about the term "Adult Diapers" or "Adult Nappies"?

incon1982 profile imageincon1982Partner74 Voters

Please select all that apply:

36 Replies

Initially, I was nervous, anxious, embarrassed saying those words, but with time it has become easier. They are what they are

incon1982 profile image
incon1982Partner in reply to pgd-70

I have heard others say, too, that over time it became more comfortable. Thank you for your comments!

I voted Stigmatising as couldn't really find the right term?

But over we use a mixture of terms and we don't call things diapers as that's a USA term.

But pads are one we use given by clinic

incon1982 profile image
incon1982Partner in reply to

Yes, I believe Nappies is the term in the UK. I should have included that in the poll at the start, so I have now added that!

Thank you for your thoughts on this! Appreciate it!

in reply to incon1982

I'm part of the Service User's group for Incontinence Services, and they always say Pads when talking about products.

But i say to others there just a tool to get by by just like glasses/crutches/frames/false teeth/hearing aids as no one blinks an eye at them?

But much is self consciousness! about them.

Tabby-Cat profile image
Tabby-Cat in reply to incon1982

Nappies are what we put on babies in the UK, I've never heard the term used for adults. UK adults use 'All in Ones', which are what the US calls diapers, and Incontinence Pants or Pull Ups which are disposable pants with the absorbent pads built in. Personally I would find the terms "diapers" or "nappies" extremely insulting, because they imply that we have reverted to some helpless childlike being when my incontinence is a malfunction of my nervous system and has no effect on my abilities, intelligence or independence as an adult.

I have never heard the term 'diaper' used here in the UK. Carers and nurses refer to mine as 'pants', 'nets' or 'knickers'. That could be because they are not the same kind of equipment as what are called diapers in the USA. Mine are net briefs with no gusset, this being replaced by disposable pads, changed each morning.

incon1982 profile image
incon1982Partner in reply to BarrySimpson

In the US, diapers are absorbent products that are open and lie flat, and are placed around the torso and held securely with adhesive tabs on the sides. Diapers is a term used widely in the US for infants and toddlers, and the product term is also used, by some, for adult products that have that same styling. Pull-ups is a term used for toddler products and adults that can be pulled on like regular underwear. The terminology is getting rather confusing, and someproduct terminology people find stigmatizing -- while others don't.

I appreciate everyone's thoughts on this, as it is rather "muddy" area with a lot of different terms being used and a lot of different emotions tied to the different words.

Thank you for your reply and for helping to sort out this rather muddled topic. We seem to have at least four types of incontinence wear:

1 diapers as you describle. In the UK I think they would be called 'nappies' in the UK or by the brand name.. I am not sure whether the expression would be used for adults. Perhaps others could comment.

2 Absorbent cloth squares held in place with a safety pin - perhaps old fashioned now. Called 'nappies' for small children, probably not for adults?

3 Pull-ups as you describe.

4 Almost regular underwear like mine - non-absorbent, used only to hold a pad in place, Unisex - no front exit for men. Regular underwear could be used instead, but these are more stretchy and so take a pad more easily.

incon1982 profile image
incon1982Partner in reply to BarrySimpson

Thank you for all of this! It's all so very helpful. As I am based in the US, we are finding just our terminology causes confusion and some of it is more stigmatizing than others - depending on who you talk to!

Thus, I was trying to see what everyone here felt about certain product terms. As I am finding out, there's no simple answer here.


One doesn't want to discuss one's diapers as people will know what it is. I say adult brief or taped brief, or plastic taped brief. And instead of saying I have to change, I say that I need to clean up.

Diapers is a USA term wee'd call Nappies it's a more generalised name as the one you describe as lay flat would be a wrap round> All in one(AIO).Pull up's as the name Describes would be just like pants.

The Fixation/Net pants work for Wrap rounds also as keeps pad close so lessens leakage! but more for the long pad or contoured type which is narrower in middle the wide towards each end.

Myself i only use the washable types as find disposables irritating plus for night time not much good if front/side sleeper as just pours out first time go.

So washable wrap rounds can add/increase to last the night as need be.

But the Washable/Reusable market/Area should be made more a priority/Expanded as with landfill and other matters there bad for the Environment.

But whatever anyone thinks there something you start your live wearing and very often end your life wearing again!

And far better than dribbling all over your feet and carpet as ive a friend that is always dribbling and very often has a rather strong smell to them!

incon1982 profile image
incon1982Partner in reply to

Thank you! It would surely be nice if we could all use the same terminology, but I can see that's not going to happen. This is all so helpful to my understanding of the differences in terminology between countries.

The real question here then is: What products terms to people find stigmatizing or embarrassing to use? Are there terms that are much more comfortable and easier to use with a healthcare provider or with family and friends?

I saY: need to change brief

I feel you have touched on an important issue here. As well as embarrassment and offense as you say, there is also

confusion about what kind of incontinence wear is being referred to. I often feel unsure about what someone is talking about, especially when brand names are used. A classification of incontinence wear would be very useful if we could come up with something that would be accepted.

i am ok saying the word diapers also i am ok with wearing diapers 24/7

I think avoiding the term ‘diaper’ to reference what clearly IS a diaper only serves to reinforce the existing stigma. I hate that people want to use a euphemism to try and sugar-coat the reality of the situation. I wear adult diapers. It’s a diaper. It’s not “a special kind of underwear” or “brief with tabs” or whatever people want to say to try and make me feel better about it.

every pack says briefs

I think at 1st was over come with stigmatizing but have adjusted well they are now my underwear.I,ve been incontinent along time.

Diaper states it well as we all know their purpose

Which is more embarrising, wearing a "diaper" or having an accident in public unprotected? For myself its a no brainer.

I don’t care what it’s called as long as I don’t wet my pants.

Diaper is a diaper.


Nappies is what they are it isn't a problem

I personally use pads (Tena is my favorite brand and seems to be most comfortable but I will try anything.) When I hear the term adult diapers I tend to think of people who are not potty trained in a demeaning way despite that isn't what it's like. I have worn diapers before and I will fully admit it but I prefer to call them incontinence products or bladder leak protectors.

I often joke I need potty training again but on my end it seems to be a nerve miscommunication. The truth is the stigma lies within our perspective. basically I am fully ok with calling them diapers around a close friend but a stranger will hear very different words in public.

I don't like using either terms. When I provide incontinence I use "adult briefs" this is better for self-esteem and most of our seniors are mobile.

I don't care I ask for nappies when I need them

Almost wear it like a badge of honour been doing it for the longest time