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  • Writer's pictureDr Majella Soumakiyan

What is urinary incontinence (leaky bladder)

Updated: Jan 21, 2020

Accidental or involuntary loss of urine from the bladder is called urinary incontinence. It’s widespread than what most people think and it can vary from from 'just a small leak' to complete loss of bladder control. Over 5 million Australians have bladder or bowel control problems for a variety of reasons. 

Do you know 

  • 13% of men and 37% women are affected 

  • 50% of women between 45-59 suffer from some degree of urinary incontinence

  • Yet, 70% of them don’t seek medical help

What does it mean to you ?

Urinary incontinence primarily affects your quality of life. Think of the times you planned your day around the nearest toilet. 

It doesn’t stop there. The urinary incontinence can also lead to recurrent infections and be a sign of bladder cancer, prostate cancer or other neurological conditions. In its also reported to increase the risk of recurrent falls in elderly.

What are the symptoms?

  • Do you sometimes feel you have not completely emptied your bladder?

  • Do you have to rush to use the toilet most of the time?

  • Are you constantly worried about losing control of your bladder?

  • Do you wake up twice or more during the night to go to the toilet?

  • Do you sometimes leak before you get to the toilet or just when lifting something heavy or play/exercise?

  • Do you strain to empty to bowel?

  • Do you sometimes wet your underwear?

  • Do you plan your daily routine around where the nearest toilet is?

How can your GP help ?

You GP will carry out a comprehensive contient assessment and look for any possible identifying underlying cause. They will be able to refer you to a urologist, gynaecologist or another specialist as required. They can also help you to access funding through the continence aids payment scheme if you are eligible.

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