Helpline Q&A – Autumn edition
Q. I am a 62-year-old lady with no bladder problems, but I’m wondering if I’m too old to start pelvic floor muscle exercises?
A. You’re never too old. If you’re willing to listen and learn how to do the exercises, then your continence health professional is there to help you as well. I have taught these exercises to people in their 90s with great success.
My message to everyone—male or female and of any age— is to learn how to do these exercises and then continue to do them for life. The Continence Foundation of Australia has just released excellent 3D animations of the pelvic floor. In just two minutes, this model allows you to visualise your pelvic floor and see exactly what it is, where it’s located and why it is important to train this hidden group of muscles.
Q. My 6 ½-year-old son is fully toilet trained both day and night, however, he does have occasional soiling with his bowels. When he goes to the toilet he has a good bowel motion – which is usually every second day. The soiling has never happened at school until last week. I’m very concerned that he will be bullied if this happens again. What can I do to help him?
A. Even though he is having a bowel motion every second day, he may have constipation. About one to three per cent of children can have this problem and some of them may have wetting as well. It is more common in boys. Soiling may vary from a ‘skid mark’ to larger amounts that need to be removed from underwear before it can be washed.
Seek medical help. Your GP is a good place to start if you are concerned about your child’s bowel habits or soiling.
Make a diary of all your child’s bowel actions and accidents for a couple of weeks and take this with you when you see the doctor. Request a Choose Your Poo chart to assist your child in providing details about the motions by contacting the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66.