Incontinence is any accidental or involuntary loss of urine (urinary incontinence), faeces or wind from the bowel (faecal or bowel incontinence).
It is a common problem which can be 'just a small leak' or the complete loss of bowel control.
There are over 4.8 million people in Australia who have problems with incontinence. Yet many don't seek help even though incontinence can often be treated or better managed and, sometimes, it can be cured.
Some questions to answer if you think you might have a bladder and bowel problem:
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, sneeze, cough or laugh?
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 and should get help.
The best idea is to talk to your doctor or contact the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66. This is a service provided by the Continence Foundation of Australia. They have 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.