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Incontinence In Australia

A seemingly unlikely condition that a surprisingly large number of Australians have in common

The personal nature of incontinence and the fact it’s hardly a welcome dinner party topic means it’s rarely spoken of openly. While many may assume incontinence is just a consequence of old age, the reality is there are more than 4.5 million Australians1 with incontinence living in the community and over 40% of those are below the age of 50. Like other chronic conditions, incontinence has many causes meaning it can impact people from all walks of life and all ages, though risk factors are higher for women as both pregnancy and menopause are major contributors to the onset of incontinence.

The taboo nature of talking about our bathroom habits, means that despite these numbers it’s not unusual for people with incontinence to feel like they’re alone often becoming social isolated as they try to minimise the risk of an embarrassing situation. But let’s put those numbers into perspective for a minute….

 

A lot of Australians play soccer. Every weekend the playing fields across the country are overrun with soccer teams – boys, girls, adults, kids – even masters teams! During the Football World Cup it was definitely dinner party conversation everywhere. Yet despite it’s popularity only 1.9 million2 people play soccer in Australia that’s less than half the number of those living with incontinence.

 

What about left handed people? Well there are approximately 2.4 million left handed people in Australia. That means roughly 1 in 10 dinner guests will swap their knives and forks around so you are still more likely to be sitting next to an adult using an incontinence aid than someone who needs to swap their cutlery to carve up their steak.

Ah, but there are more vegetarians, right? Plant-based diets may be a hot topic and abstaining from meat such a normal way of life that most good dinner party hosts will consider this dietary preference in their menu planning. But while it might feel like everyone you know is giving up meat according to Wikipedia3 there are only around 2.5 million Australians that identify as vegetarian. Meaning incontinence is a A LOT more common than vegetarianism!

 

If you’re still reading this, you are probably wondering by now ‘where does this end?’ and we could go all day but here is the punchline...

There are about as many people living with incontinence as there are people living in Queensland. And as we are all expected to live longer, that number is expected to rise to around 6.2 million1 by 2030.

So the next time you’re at a dinner party, we’re not suggesting you raise continence management as a topic of conversation, but take a look around at the left handers, or the vegetarians, or the soccer players and realise...

You're Not Alone !

 

Sources:

1) Source Deloitte study “The economic impact of incontinence in Australia”

2) Source http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/7539-women-in-football-december-2017-201803230556

3) Source Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegetarianism_by_country