Research indicates one in three Australians with bladder problems are avoiding social situations, holding back from new relationships and agonising over taking public transport.
The research identified that despite these feelings of social exclusion a staggering 27 per cent of Australians are doing nothing to manage their incontinence (the formal name for loss of bladder control) which is cause for concern, according to Neurological Continence Nurse Consultant, Joanne Lawrence.
“Over 4.8 million people in Australia are affected by incontinence and many simply put up with it thinking it?s normal and there is not much you can do about it,” Ms Lawrence said. “The fear of leaking or having an accident can have a huge emotional impact and people can feel very isolated.”
The research also revealed that 71 per cent of people find it hard to feel confident when they live with incontinence. Factors impacting people’s confidence included worrying about odour (70%), the feeling of it being an old person’s problem (68%) and feeling unattractive to the opposite sex (24%).
“These problems are so common among people affected by incontinence and many suffer in silence believing they are alone. But there is help on offer,” Ms Lawrence said.
“Among men and women affected by incontinence, 1 in 4 Australians said they hold back from new relationships agreeing they feel unattractive to the opposite sex and 34 percent said they rarely have, or feel too embarrassed to have sexual interaction with their partner. “Incontinence can put enormous stress on intimate relationships and limit sexual interaction.
“Using the correct product can make a large difference for incontinence sufferers. 1 in 5 people (21%) wear female panty liners which are not specifically for urine loss to combat the condition while 29% don?t use any products at all,” said Ms Lawrence.
“Wearing products which are designed specifically for high volume urine loss will immediately help to prevent odour providing one of many solutions to living with incontinence. “Other options include bladder training, scheduling bathroom trips and pelvic floor exercises,” said Ms Lawrence.
“The bottom line is that incontinence isn’t something you have to put up with and it certainly shouldn’t have a negative impact on your life. “Speak to your doctor or continence nurse (at your local area health service, hospital) about options available to you,” concluded Ms Lawrence.
The research was conducted by Kimberly Clark.
For more information about loss of bladder control contact The Continence Foundation of Australia National Continence Helpline free call on 1800 33 00 66.