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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.

For more information please visit the Continence Foundation of Australia www.continence.org.au OR call the National Continence Helpline 1800 33 00 66 The National Continence Helpline is a free and confidential service managed by the Continence Foundation of Australia for the Australian Government.

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THE FEMALE PELVIC FLOOR
Image courtesy of Continence Foundation of Australia ©2009

Common Signs and Symptoms of Urinary and Faecal Incontinence:

  • Wetting or dampness on the way to the toilet
  • Wetting or dampness with exercise, coughing or sneezing
  • Urinary frequency
  • Getting up to the toilet more than once a night
  • Weak pelvic floor muscles
  • Constipation and straining
  • Vaginal prolapse
  • Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)
  • Inability to empty your bladder
  • Difficulty controlling your bowels

Types of Urinary Incontinence:

  • Urge Incontinence Involuntary loss of urine associated with a strong desire to void
  • Stress Incontinence Involuntary loss of urine during physical exertion often with coughing, sneezing and exercise
  • Mixed Incontinence Relates to people who experience both stress and urge incontinence
  • Nocturnal Enures Wetting the bed while sleeping
  • Overflow Incontinence Involuntary loss of urine when people are unable to empty their bladder, which in turn causes over-distension and dribbling.

Text Courtesy of Continence Foundation of Australia