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7 days of World Continence Week

Wed 05, Jun 2019

We’re shining a spotlight on a range of continence issues as part of the international celebrations for World Continence Week 17-23 June 2019.

Urinary incontinence

Over 4 million Australians experience urinary incontinence, so you’re not alone. It can range from the occasional leak when you laugh, cough or exercise, up to the complete inability to control your bladder, which may cause you to wet yourself. Other symptoms may include the constant need to urgently visit the toilet, and this is also associated with accidents.

Poor bowel control

About one in 20 people experience poor bowel control. This may mean you pass faeces or stools at the wrong time or in the wrong place. It’s often not talked about, but both men and women can have poor bowel control. It’s more common as you get older, but young people can also have poor bowel control.

Pregnancy, pelvic floor and prolapse

The 3Ps are all related. Childbirth is the biggest risk factor. In fact, 1 in 3 women who have ever had a baby experience incontinence. The good news is that mild prolapse and many other pregnancy-related causes of leakage can be treated with pelvic floor muscle exercises.

Male incontinence

An estimated 30 per cent of men who visit the GP are affected by incontinence, yet more than two thirds do not discuss the issue. This is despite the fact that the majority of people can be cured or better managed.

Men have pelvic floors too! Learning to control and strengthen the pelvic floor is particularly important for men with erectile dysfunction or those who undergo prostate surgery, as incontinence can be a common post-surgery problem. A recent study found that “simple pelvic floor exercises may also be the cure for some common problems that men experience in the bedroom”.

Pelvic floor exercises and sexual fitness

They’re not just great for bladder and bowel control! Pelvic floor exercises also play an important role in sexual sensation and function. Mental and physical concerns can lead the person experiencing incontinence to avoid situations of intimacy, withdraw from existing or future relationships, and suppress their own desires of sexuality. You need to know you are not alone in these feelings and that help is available.

Incontinence in seniors

Women who have progressed through menopause may notice increased difficulty with bladder and bowel control. Although ageing can have an impact on your pelvic floor, incontinence isn’t an inevitable part of getting older! There are healthy bladder and bowel habits you can follow to improve and prevent incontinence.

Celebrating carers

The last day of World Continence Week is for celebrating and applauding those who care for someone with incontinence. The care needs of people with incontinence are much higher than those of others needing care. Caring also has immense economic worth; the replacement value of unpaid care provided is estimated at over $1 billion per week. There are over 2.8 million at-home carers, including approximately 540,000 who provide daily continence care. Today, we celebrate those carers.


Head to laughwithoutleaking.com.au for more information and to join us at an event near you. Follow the 7 days of World Continence Week through social media @AusContinence




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