BLADDER CONTROL PROBLEMS?
You don’t have to put up with it! Over 3.8 million Australians have bladder control problems. Whilst this problem can affect men and women of all ages, it will often occur in women after pregnancy and childbirth. If you do nothing, it won’t go away. Bladder control problems can be managed, treated and even cured. Help is available so that you can regain control.
DO YOU HAVE A BLADDER CONTROL PROBLEM?
Do you leak urine when you cough, laugh or sneeze? Do you leak urine when you lift something heavy? Do you leak urine when you play sport? Do you have to rush to the toilet and then not make it in time? Are you often nervous because you think you might loose bladder control? Do you have to use the toilet more than twice over night? Do you plan your day around where the neqrest toilet is? Do you sometimes feel that your bladder might not be empty? Do you leak uring when you change your position from sitting or lying down to standing up?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you may have a bladder control problem so please read on.
WHERE CAN I GET HELP?
The first step is to see your doctor. Your doctor may refer you on to a physiotherapist (physical therapist) or a continence nurse specialist. You can freecall the national continence helpline within Australia on 1800 330 066. An initiative of the National Continence Management Strategy. Visit the website http://www.bladderbowel.gov.au
Source: Australian Government Department Of Health And Ageing
People with faecal incontinence have difficulty controlling their bowels. As a result of this, they pass faeces at the wrong time or in the wrong place. Underwear staining or passing wind without control may also be a problem. Faecal incontinence often affects the older age groups, but alot of younger people are also affected. 5% of the population will be affected by faecal incontinence in some way.
HOW TO COPE WITH FAECAL INCONTINENCE
Faecal leakage can be more than just a practical problem as it affects you emotionally. Often people will keep this problem to themselves as they feel embarrassed or ashamed. This will make it a challenge to feel good about yourself. You may even feel cut off from your family and friends who are the very people that usually support you.
No two people will cope in exactly the same way with this problem. Doctors and continence advisors are aware of these emotional issues and should be sensitive to the way you are feeling. Faecal incontinence is a health problem and you may find thaking that first step is the hardest, after that it should get easier.
SO WHAT CAUSES FAECAL INCONTINENCE?
There are several causes:
* Weakness of the anal muscles or sphincter due to childbirth, injury or some type of surgery
* Constipation and faecal impaction, where diarrhoea occurs without warning, along with infrequent hard bowel actions
* Bowel disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease – ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, previous radiotherapy to the pelvis affecting the rectum or small bowel, cancer, haemorrhoids, rectal prolapse, a tear in the skin of the anus (fissure), or an abnormal opening between the vagina and rectum (a fistula)
* The result of disease or injury to the nerves of the bowel, spine or brain (spina bifida, diabetic neuropathy, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, stroke or dementia
With so many possible causes, a comprehensive assessment is essential to identify the cause and possible contributing factors. Assessment might include:
* An interview and physical examination
* Charting of bowel habits and diet
* Tests such as abdominal x-ray, colonoscopy or barium enema
* Referral to a medical specialist
Anyone with faecal incontinence should be assessed so contact your doctor as soon as possible if you experience any of the following:
* A change in your usual bowel habits
* Pain or bleeding from the rectum
* A feeling your bowel is never completely empty
* Dark or black stools (if you are taking an iron supplement, your bowel actions will be black)
* Unexplained weight loss
Specific conditions of the bowel or nervous system will respond to treatment of the specific disorder. This may include:
* Treatment of infective diarrhoea
* Alteration of medication as advised by your doctor
* Use of medicaiton as prescribed by your doctor to slow down the bowel or firm up the stools
* Dietary changes such as increasing dietary fibre and fluid intake. Referral to a dietician may be necessary
* Treatment of constipation
* Treatment by a physiotherapist (physical therapist) can help with strengthening your pelvic floor and anal sphincter muscles
* Use of continence aids to contain leakage, protect skin and increase comfort
EVERY BLADDER OR BOWEL CONTROL PROBLEM, NO MATTER HOW SMALL DESERVES EXPERT ATTENTION
Incontinence is a common experience for women from all walks of life and can become apparent during the child bearing years. Remember that you are not alone. Incontinence is a very comon condition, but there are many health professionals qualified to assist you with bladder and bowel control problems. With a proper assessment, incontinence can be treated, more effectively managed ad frequently cured.
For more information freecal within Australia Monday – Friday on 1800 330 066 – National Continence Helpline or visit the website www.continence.org.au The helpline is stffed by a team of dedicated continence nurse advisors who provide confidential information and free brochures about bladder and bowel control problems. The helpline is funded under the Commonwealth Government’s National Continence Management Strategy and managed by the continence foundation of Australia.
Source: Continence Foundation Of Australia