Nearly a quarter of all Australians will suffer from incontinence at some stage in their adult life. This can range from Light Bladder Leakage (LBL) to permanent and severe loss of bladder (or bowel) function.
Urinary incontinence affects up to 13% of men and 37% of women. As many as 50% of women aged 45-59 years, experience some degree of mild, moderate or severe urinary incontinence.
These can be temporary or permanent conditions and due to a variety of reasons, including menopause, advanced age, dementia, pre and post-natal LBL, men’s prostate issues, obesity, neurological diseases, recurrent urinary tract infections (UTI), certain medications and various medical disorders eg diabetes.
Support is available
The fact that incontinence is such a widespread condition means that there are plenty of people around you who will show understanding and provide support to help you deal with any impacts on your daily living. Ideally you will be able to share your experiences with family and health care professionals. Some reluctance to do this is quite understandable, but there are numerous resources in place to assist you and specialist products available to help you manage your particular condition so you can enjoy your normal activities. Your GP is best placed to guide you to other specialists or services which may be able to help you, such as continence nurse advisors or physiotherapists.
One of the best organisations providing information and guidance is the Continence Foundation of Australia www.continence.org.au or you can call the Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66 to obtain discreet support. This helpline is staffed by a team of continence nurse advisors who offer free information, advice and support and can provide you with a wide range of information resources and referrals to local services.
They are also able to inform you about the various funding options which you may be entitled to if you have a diagnosed permanent condition.
Hopefully these resources will allow you to select the products and support you need for your personal management program.