Incontinence

About bladder and bowel health

Healthy bladder and bowel habits can help you avoid bladder and bowel control problems such as incontinence.  Incontinence can have a major impact on your quality of life. If you or someone you know is affected by incontinence it's important to remember that you're not alone - almost 4 million Australians are affected by incontinence, it affects both men and women, regardless of your age or background, it can be treated, managed and in many cases cured..

What is incontinence?

Incontinence is a term that describes any accidental or involuntary loss of urine from the bladder (urinary incontinence) or bowel motion, faeces or wind from the bowel (faecal or bowel incontinence).

Incontinence is a widespread condition that ranges in severity from 'just a small leak' to complete loss of bladder or bowel control. In fact, over 3.8 million Australians have bladder or bowel control problems for a variety of reasons. Incontinence can be treated and managed.  In many cases it can also be cured.

Think you might have a problem?

If you experience bladder or bowel problems, but are not sure if you should seek help, try the questionnaire below.

Bladder and bowel questionnaire

  • Do you sometimes feel you have not completely emptied your bladder?
  • Do you have to rush to use the toilet?
  • Are you frequently nervous because you think you might lose control of your bladder or bowel?
  • Do you wake up twice or more during the night to go to the toilet?
  • Do you sometimes leak before you get to the toilet?
  • Do you sometimes leak when you lift something heavy?
  • Do you sometimes leak when you exercise or play sport?
  • Do you sometimes leak when you change from a seated or lying position to a standing position?
  • Do you strain to empty to bowel?
  • Do you sometimes soil your underwear?
  • Do you plan your daily routine around where the nearest toilet is?


If You answered yes to any of these questions you may have a bladder or bowel control problem.
The first step is to talk to your doctor.

 

Urinary incontinence 

Urinary incontinence (or poor bladder control) is a common condition, that is commonly associated with pregnancy, childbirth, menopause or a range of chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes or arthritis. 

Poor bladder control can range from the occasional leak when you laugh, cough or exercise to the complete inability to control your bladder, which may cause you to completely wet yourself. Other symptoms you may experience include the constant need to urgently or frequently visit the toilet, associated with 'accidents'.

There are different types of incontinence with a number of possible causes. The following are the most common stress incontinence, urge incontinence, overflow incontinence, functional incontinence.

Urinary incontinence can be caused by many things, but can be treated, better managed and in many cases cured.  For this reason, it is important to talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.

Faecal incontinence 

People with poor bowel control or faecal incontinence have difficulty controlling their bowels. This may mean you pass faeces or stools at the wrong time or in the wrong place. You may also find you pass wind when you don't mean to or experience staining of your underwear. About one in 20 people experience poor bowel control. It is more common as you get older, but a lot of young people also have poor bowel control. Many people with poor bowel control also have poor bladder control (wetting themselves).

Faecal incontinence can have a number of possible causes. The following are the most common weak back passage muscles due to having babies, getting older, some types of surgery or radiation therapy, constipation or severe diarrhoea.

 

If you have any concerns please come and see one of our Brisbane Doctors for the best advice.

To Book an appointment please call 07 3351 8593 or book an appointment online.