Adult diapers are generally used in stress, urge or disability incontinence. There is always an intervening period for treatment to ‘kick in’ and take effect. Diapers are the most common means to overcome the physical inconveniences in the interim period. Diapers are available in various sizes for babies, adults, and older people. The fastening mechanisms also vary to suit various user’s convenience. Today, diapers have evolved to suit special needs. For instance, with the advent of space exploration, astronauts have special requirements, especially during launch and re-entry times.
There are many uses of adult diapers and some customized ones can be used for special purposes. For instance, astronauts use a combination of three ‘ Maximum Absorbency Garments’ or MAGs, each for lift-off and re-entry, and one spare. The spare is required because re-entry can be cancelled and rescheduled. The fabric is made of high capacity absorbent materials which can absorb liquid 400 times their weight. These maximum absorbency garments are also used during space walks and extracapsular activities. These are designed for 6 hours of extracapsular period. In the initial days, only women astronauts used these, while men used collection devices. However, looking at the comfort and efficiency of adult diapers, the tides turned with men also using them.
A strange case involving the use of adult diapers broke into public domain through a 2007 criminal case. Lisa Nowak, a NASA astronaut, was arrested and charged with attempt to murder. The lady became notoriously famous when it was revealed that she had driven 900 miles without stopping. She had used one of these maximum absorbency garments to avoid stopping for urination, but denied the use of the diaper later. This case raised public awareness for adult diapers spectacularly.
The use of adult diapers is versatile. There are companies who do not allow security personnel to leave their job spot even for urination. Similarly, in long duration flights, pilots prefer to use these to minimise their absence from the cockpits. Deep sea divers engaged in underwater rescue operations need to stay long periods under water. They use special adult diapers with high absorbency. ‘Swim diapers’ are used during pool therapy and in swimming. These are waterproof and can hold faeces also. The use of adult diapers also increase comfort and convenience in long distance driving, trekking etc. Long distance truckers also find these useful. Essentially, any human activity which needs uninterrupted work for long durations is a potential field of use for adult diapers.