In Australia 1 in 3 women and 1 in 10 men have a bladder control problem, resulting in accidental leakage of urine. We call this urinary incontinence. There are three common causes of urinary incontinence, and many people have more than one type. These are:
1) Stress incontinence – occurs with coughing or sneezing etc.
2) Urge incontinence – associated with a sudden and frequent urge to urinate
3) Overflow incontinence – when the bladder is unable to empty properly, gets too full, and the urine spills out
Although it might seem embarrassing to some people, it’s important to let your GP know if you have urinary incontinence because there are many things we can do to help. Your GP may be able to:
- Organise further investigations to determine the cause
- Help you access continence pads at a lower cost
- Refer you to a physiotherapist to help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles (also available through the public health system)
- Prescribe medication
- Refer you to a specialist such as a urologist or urogyneacologist for further management
The field of medicine is always advancing, and new treatments are often available. So even if you’ve been putting up with incontinence for years, don’t hold on any longer. Speak to your GP.