Frequently Asked Questions


The following are some common questions that people may ask a health care professional:

How do I know if I am at risk of developing incontinence?
  • Do you feel the need to go to the toilet regularly but once on the toilet you only pass a small amount of urine?
  • Do you ever leak urine or faeces?
  • Do you ever leak urine or have gas escape when you cough, sneeze or laugh?
  • Do you go to the toilet "just in case" in might need to go later?
  • Do you get up at night two or more times to go to the toilet?
  • When you have to go, is it urgent?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you are at risk of developing incontinence. Advice on how to cure or better manage these problems is only a phone call away.

Contact us for more information. 

Can the medicines I take affect my bladder and/or bowel control?

Maybe. Some medicines can affect your bladder and bowel control.  

There are some medicines that will help to reduce bladder and bowel symptoms, whereas other may create or exacerbate bladder or bowel problems.

Medicines that may help with an overactive bladder include anticholinergic medicines such as oxybutynin (Ditropan) and Vesicare, and beta3 adrenergic receptor agonists such as Mirabegron (Betmiga). Some people benefit from Botox injections to the bladder when they have an overactive bladder that doesn’t respond to medication. 

Medicines that help with bowel problems include laxatives for constipation and anti-diarrhoeal medicines such as Imodium (Loperamide) for diarrhoea. 

Some of these medicines need to be prescribed by your doctor. The actions, possible interactions, risks and benefits can be explained to you by your doctor or pharmacist. Over the counter medicines may also interact with prescribed medicines, so always let your doctor know what other medicines or supplements you may be taking. 

Many medicines can potentially cause constipation. It may be possible to reduce this risk by drinking more fluids, having a diet rich in fibre and be physically active, otherwise laxatives may be required. 

There are four different types of laxatives, and it is important to choose the type most appropriate for your needs.   Whilst laxatives are not addictive it is important to seek advice from your healthcare professional. 

Always consult your doctor or pharmacist if you are concerned that your medicines are having a negative effect on your bladder or bowels. Altered bladder or bowel function can be due to other things, so always discuss any changes with your health care professional. Never discontinue or change the dose of prescribed medicines without first seeking medical advice.

Contact us if you would like more information. 

Can my diet affect my bladder and/or bowel control?

Changes to the diet may prevent and improve many bladder and bowel control problems Poor fluid intake along with insufficient fibre can result in constipation. Straining to empty the bowels weakens the pelvic floor muscles, and this may in turn lead to problems with bladder and bowel control.

Ensure you eat 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables daily, keep well hydrated (always follow the directions of your health care provider), and limit tea, coffee, cola and alcohol.

Some people find that certain foods and drinks may upset their bladder and bowels.

What are the pelvic floor muscles and how do you exercise them?

The Pelvic floor muscle supports the pelvic organs, including the bladder and bowel. Damage to these muscles can cause incontinence. Some ways that the pelvic floor muscles can be weakened include pregnancy and childbirth, straining to empty your bowels (constipation), constant heavy lifting, persistent coughing, being overweight and unfit, and prostate surgery. Regular pelvic floor muscle exercises improve many continence problems as well as enhancing sexual function and sensation.

To receive information on how to do pelvic floor muscle exercises contact us on (08) 9386 9777 or 1800 814 925 WA country callers only.

Can I retrain my bladder and take control again?

Yes, the bladder can be retrained. A bladder training program is usually based on learning strategies that will assist you to hold on longer, go less often, and to pass more urine when you go to the toilet. It is important to have a comprehensive continence assessment by a continence nurse or continence physiotherapist, so a specific program can be worked out for you.

Contact us on (08) 9386 9777 (or 1800 814 925 WA country callers only) to receive details of your local continence service.

What type of continence products do I need?

There is a wide range of incontinence products available from many supermarkets, pharmacies and other providers. To ensure that the type and use of products is appropriate a continence assessment is advisable. Contact us for further advice and information or visit our incontinence productspage. We can also provide you with details of local continence services that can provide continence assessments and assist you in selecting products appropriate to your needs.

Some products are available for purchase direct from suppliers in bulk quantities. Bladder and Bowel Health Australia has a product database providing details of products and suppliers. Contact us for further information 

Contact us to organise Education & Training (Western Australia only)

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Testimonial image:

Kylie – parent of a child that wets the bed 

Kylie rang our service as she was concerned about her five-year-old daughter, Mia, who was wetting the bed. Kylie had tried limiting Mia’s drinks in the late afternoon and evening and was also getting up at night to wake Mia and take her to the toilet.

Our advisor explained that it may take children until they around 5 ½ years old before they gain bladder control during sleep. Kylie was advised to encourage Mia to drink well throughout the day and was cautioned against cutting out drinks in the afternoon and early evening. Kylie was discouraged from waking Mia at night to take her to the toilet. Kylie was provided with information on obtaining a referral from Mia’s doctor to a bedwetting clinic if Mia continues to wet the bed past 5 ½ years of age.

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Anastasiya’s story

“As a mum of two young children, I have experienced the joys of two pregnancies and postpartum recoveries. I was shocked after the birth of my first child to discover that my pelvic floor muscles had become weak. I sought advice from Bladder and Bowel Health Australia and learnt the importance of exercising these muscles. This knowledge helped, and because I was better informed second time around, I have now fully restored the dignity of my body and truly enjoyed the changes - and my motherhood. Thank you, Bladder and Bowel Health Australia, for informing young families about bladder and bowel health issues.” 

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Doreen – carer of her husband who has dementia 

Doreen was becoming exhausted caring for her husband Tom, who has dementia. Tom was not always making it to the toilet on time and needed his trousers to be changed several times a day. Every day Doreen was also washing bedlinen and the four towels that Tom was laying on at night as he was soaking through his pull-up pants. 

Tom was receiving a high-level Home Care Package, and Doreen was able to arrange with their provider for some of Tom’s package to be allocated to funding continence assessment and management.  

Our advisor went to Tom’s home and conducted a thorough continence assessment. A continence management plan was developed with input from Doreen, and appropriate incontinence aids and linen protection were organised. Doreen is relieved that Tom’s incontinence has reduced, and her washing load has lessened. Doreen is now confident that she can continue caring for Tom in their home. 

Testimonial image:

Gary – experiencing leakage after his recent prostate surgery 

Gary met with one of our Bladder and Bowel Health advisors, as he was concerned about his urine leakage that was persisting after his radical prostatectomy five weeks earlier.   

Gary discussed his concerns with the advisor and was reassured that he was making good progress towards regaining bladder control. This reinforced the information he had received from his urologist. Gary was encouraged to switch to a smaller incontinence pad rather than continuing to wear the pull- up incontinence pants he had worn since his surgery. The advisor arranged some smaller pads for him to trial and provided details on where he could buy them close to his home. 

Gary was encouraged to drink plenty of fluid (particularly water) and to increase his fruit and vegetable intake to avoid constipation. Gary was uncertain if his pelvic floor muscles were working properly and he was referred to a pelvic floor physiotherapist. Gary left the clinic in a brighter frame of mind, confident that he was improving and had clear strategies to further support his recovery.