I Laughed So Hard I Wet Myself – This is the title of the Continence Foundation of Australia’s poster for this year’s World Continence Week, which sums up what for many people is their day to day reality.
Those that suffer from incontinence are not alone. 4.8 million Australians are effected by incontinence and this figure is most likely higher due to the under reporting of the problem due to stigma.
Incontinence can affect a person’s quality of life dramatically and can frequently be a contributor to a decline in both physical and mental health. Urinary incontinence can present itself in a number of ways, but the most common are referred to as Stress Incontinence and Urge Incontinence.
Urinary leakage related to laughing, coughing sneezing or exercising is most commonly referred to as Stress Incontinence. The amount of leakage is usually smaller in volume each episode but over the period of a day can require the use of a continence pad or liner. Come flu season it can become a huge problem.
Weak pelvic floor muscles, connective tissue damage as a result of childbirth as well as age related changes can all play a role in the onset of Stress Incontinence.
Urge Urinary incontinence is leakage proceeded by a strong urge to empty the bladder and often is related to triggers such as running water or coming home and putting the key in the door.
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Leakage related to urge incontinence is often of a larger volume and can be extremely distressing when it happens, especially if outside of the home. How a person responds to the urgency sensation can often make the likelihood of leakage even worse. For example by rushing to the toilet or emptying their bladder too frequently, just in case.
And it is not only women who have problems with urinary incontinence. Men, after having prostate surgery and also just through age related changes, can also have continence issues.
Ann Traeger-Spees from Full Circle Physiotherapy is a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist who offers conservative treatments to address both of these problems. Ann is also able to treat a number of other pelvic health issues, including bowel dysfunction, sexual pain disorders and pelvic organ prolapse.
The good news is that in many cases incontinence can be cured with conservative intervention. The biggest hurdle many people face is overcoming the stigma that stops them from seeking help for this intimate and distressing problem.
No referral is required for a visit to Full Circle Physiotherapy, meaning it is a simple and private process. Ann is passionate about breaking down this stigma and will be presenting for the Continence Foundation at ECH in Victor Harbor on November 27, from 10.30am. Calling 1300 275 324 to RSVP.