Bladder and Bowel Control

Posted June 20th, 2011 by Kirrian Steer and filed in Uncategorized

Bladder and bowel problems – are you in control?

 Poor bladder or bowel control (incontinence) is a common problem that affects 4.6 million people in Australia.  

 From 20-26 June the Continence Foundation of Australia will celebrate World Continence Week – which encourages people to talk about this often hidden problem. 

 “It’s a shame that nearly 70 per cent of people with incontinence don’t speak to their doctor about it, because many cases of incontinence can be improved or cured” said Associate Professor Michael Murray, a Melbourne-based geriatrician, and President of the Continence Foundation of Australia. 

 “Many people mistakenly believe that incontinence is a normal part of ageing, or having a baby” said Associate Professor Murray “however the reality is that it isn’t normal at any age”.

 Whilst incontinence is more prevalent amongst women – especially women who have had a baby or have gone through menopause – it is also common in men who have prostate problems.  Research shows that there are also a range of lifestyle factors that can increase a person’s risk of developing incontinence, including obesity, smoking and lower back pain.     

 Some common symptoms of incontinence include accidentally leaking when you laugh, cough or sneeze, constantly needing to go to the toilet, and not making it to the toilet in time – which can lead those embarrassing little accidents.  “Don’t ignore or dismiss these symptoms though” warns associate Professor Murray, “as incontinence can have a huge impact on a person’s life in terms of their confidence and freedom if left untreated”.

 The main thing to remember is that incontinence can be treated, managed and in many cases cured.  There are also a range of free services available to support people with incontinence so speak to your doctor and get back in control.