Technological Advancements in Disposable Products are driving the Incontinence and Ostomy Care Market

Incontinence is described as involuntary loss of control to pass/clear urine (Urinary incontinence) and faeces (fecal incontinence), although the prevalence of incontinence is widespread and affects a large population, due to the social stigma attached to it, only a small percentage of suffers seek treatment. Incontinence affects a large part of old age population both men and women who are prone to aging-related conditions, women who have undergone hysterectomy, entered menopause and delivered the baby naturally, men who have prostate cancer, urinary tract infection, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis and others are at increased risk of developing urinary incontinence.

An ostomy is a surgical process of creating an opening in the abdomen wall, called a stoma, which may be temporary or permanent. In conditions wherein a section of the bowel has to be removed as in case of colorectal cancer or in conditions when section of the bowel or urinary system requires time to heal, temporary or permanent ostomies are opted. Based on the region being surgically excised for the stoma, ostomy can be classified as ileostomy, colostomy and urostomy. Due to increase in the incidence and prevalence of colorectal cancer and inflammatory bowel diseases (Crohn’s and Ulcerative colitis), there has been a drastic increase in number of people undergoing ostomy procedures. Even here the old age population are the main group affected. According to IQ4I analysis, Incontinence and Ostomy Care global market is estimated to be $15,489.5 million in 2016 growing at mid-single digit CAGR.

Factors driving the Incontinence and Ostomy care market include, growing prevalence of medical conditions such as women related conditions (for e.g. childbirth, menopause), inflammatory bowel diseases (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), neurological diseases (multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease etc), oncology (colorectal and prostate cancer) and others diseases, increase in population prone to aging-related medical conditions, increase in awareness and acceptance of the condition of incontinence and ostomy, and development of more personalized products for greater patient comfort and care.

Initial treatment options for these conditions include lifestyle change, pelvic floor muscle training (Kegel’s exercise), bladder training and prescription of pharmaceuticals, surgeries and others. However, due to limited improvements and side effects of using pharmaceuticals such as nausea, dry mouth, fatigue, constipation, blurred vision, etc., alternatives such as disposable products are used. Disposable products include diapers, ostomy bags, catheters, urinal bags and other supporting products. The increase in technological advancements, ease of usage, option to stop usage without any surgical intervention of disposable products for treating incontinence and ostomy is driving the uptake of these products as they eliminate the cons of conservative treatments. However, the use of disposables is not a treatment option but a management option in incontinence and ostomy care.

Due to the adoption of new manufacturing processes, and innovations in materials used to make disposable products the unit cost has significantly reduced making it affordable for common man. For instance, there has been a changing trend in terms of material used in the manufacture of products like the absorbent, the use of Super Absorbent Polymer (SAP), a material that has the ability to absorb and retain large quantities of liquids. Manufacturers of disposable diapers such as Tranquillity has developed a method for fast absorption pads namely Peach Mat Absorbent Core technology to ensure that skin is kept dry, the odor is controlled and the pH is neutralized to provide more absorbance and comfort for the users.

In fields of ostomy care also, there is a trend of innovation and the companies are increasing number of patents filed. For an instance, Hollister Inc received patents on multi-layer film for ostomy products and lubricating deodorant for ostomy pouches.

Personalization of the products and differentiating additions to products is another focus area where product advancement is seen. Some of the cosmetic changes such as a change in color of the ostomy bag, as in the case of Coloplast’s grey SenSura Mio stoma bag making them discreet, also have a significant effect on patients psychologically to cope with their condition. Likewise, Covalon Technologies is using properties of silver to develop a SilverCoat on silver folly catheters which provides a zone of inhibition for bacterial growth, thus reducing the chance of catheter-associated infections, which is the most common infection seen in hospitals.

This market is consolidated and major players command large share of the incontinence and ostomy care global market such as SCA, Ontex, Coloplast, Convatec, Medtronic, Unicharm Corporation. These companies have a strong distribution network and have multiple channels to reach the patients, most of the major companies operate a separate incontinence & ostomy homecare service as well, which drives the demand for products and also serve as a revenue stream. European region commands the largest share of the incontinence and ostomy care followed by North America due to favourable reimbursement coverage and high investments in healthcare infrastructures that have led to the market growth in this region. The increasing healthcare awareness, higher economic growth, large patient pool and rising aged population are the factors that will exponentially drive the growth of this market in Asia-Pacific.

The major players operating in the incontinence and ostomy care global market are B. Braun Melsungen AG (Germany), Coloplast AG (Denmark), ConvaTec Inc. (U.S.), Hollister Inc. (U.S.), Kimberly-Clark Corporation (U.S.), Medtronic Inc. (Ireland), Salts Healthcare (U.K.), Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget (Sweden), Unicharm Corporation (Japan), P&G (U.S.), Paul Hartmann (Germany) and Ontex (Belgium).


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