Helpline Q & A
Q: I’m in my late 60’s and have been told that I need to have surgery on my prostate. The urologist referred me to the National Continence Helpline for advice about my pelvic floor. I’ve only just found out about my prostate, now I must learn about my pelvic floor muscles. Please help me, I’m confused.
A: First, I just have to say that men have a prostate gland, as in the diagram shown, which is the size of a walnut. The prostate gland is located just below the bladder and its main function is for male reproduction.
It is best to start your pelvic floor exercises sooner rather than later – if you are having prostate surgery.
There is an excellent booklet called Prostate and Continence – A guide for men undergoing prostate surgery. This booklet goes through what the prostate is, where in the body it is located and how to do pelvic floor exercises. Another great website is pelvicfloorfirst.org.au. There you can view videos on how to tend to your pelvic floor muscles.
Q: I’ve been told by my neighbor that I may be able to get help with funding my pads. What is this and where do I apply for it?
A: There are many different funding schemes available to eligible people with incontinence. The Continence Aids Payment Scheme (CAPS) is a federally-funded program. The eligibility criteria is available at health.gov.au/bladder-bowel.
Another federal program is for people under 65 years of age whose incontinence is a result of their disability. If this is you, then you can ask to have your continence products and funding for a Continence Nurse Advisor assessment be included in your NDIS plan. For further information please go to continence.org.au/pages/national-disability-insurance-scheme-ndis. You cannot be on any other funding if you are receiving your continence products through your NDIS plan. If you live in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria or Western Australia, you may be eligible for a state government funding scheme.
Phone the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66 and speak with our staff about CAPS, NDIS or the state funding schemes. You can also ask for a CAPS application form to be posted to you and the details for your closest continence service.
You can be on both the federal and state funded schemes at the same time if you meet the eligibility criteria. For more information, go to: continence.org.au/pages/financial-assistance
Q: My wife has Parkinson’s disease and is incontinent of both urine and poo. She has a rash that comes and goes and I’m not sure how to manage it. Please help.
A: A skin rash can cause considerable discomfort and I’d suggest you to seek help from a healthcare professional. Do not try putting anything on a skin rash to treat it unless it is recommended by the GP or another health care professional.
There could be several explanations for why a rash has been developing. These could include continence pads not fitting properly and rubbing against the skin, urine leaking onto skin, or using new personal care items like new washing powder or soap.
There are a few signs to watch out for in case the rash is a skin infection rather than a rash:
- hot or painful skin
- swelling or oozing fluid
- bad smell
In these cases, seek help from a health professional.
For further information, speak to your doctor or a continence nurse advisor on the free and confidential National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66, or visit continence.org.au.