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Busting continence myths

Published 8th June, 2018
Karina SmithWritten by Therapy Focus PEBBLES Continence Nurse, Karina Smith

There are many misconceptions and myths surrounding incontinence. So to help people better understand some of the commonly misunderstood areas of incontinence, Continence Nurse Karina from Therapy Focus’ PEBBLES Team has shared the facts.

1. Laxative consumption is bad and can lead to dependence
Laxative use, even for long periods of time, is safe. If however you need to take laxatives regularly to open your bowels, you should seek medical advice to make sure there is no underlying cause for the constipation.

2. My child can’t be constipated, they are constantly pooing their pants
Faecal soiling can be a sign of constipation with overflow, and should be the first thing to be ruled out in managing faecal incontinence.

3. Urinary incontinence is inevitable with ageing and child birth
That’s far from the truth. Ageing and childbirth do increase the risk, but they aren’t always related. Urinary incontinence can be prevented, improved and/or resolved with the correct advice and assistance. It is important to seek help for urinary incontinence and not accept it as an inevitable fate. Fear of an accident and self-consciousness about odours, can inhibit the desire to leave the house, which can contribute to loneliness and depression.

4. Drinking less fluid will help to manage urinary incontinence
Wrong. In fact, urine that is more concentrated due to lack of fluid intake can irritate the bladder and cause more serious problems such as infection and dehydration. In addition, inadequate fluid intake can cause constipation, which may also make matters worse.

5. Having incontinence is a disease
Incontinence is not a disease; it is a symptom or side effect of another medical condition. That’s why it is so important to check with your doctor/ healthcare professional if you experience any type of bladder or bowel control problem.

6. Children wet the bed intentionally
Children don’t wet the bed intentionally. Like learning to walk or talk, a child’s bladder will develop at its own rate. So sometimes, no matter how hard your child might try, they might still urinate involuntarily. It’s a recognised medical condition known as nocturnal enuresis. Nocturnal enuresis is incontinence that occurs during periods of sleep at an age when a child could reasonably be expected to be dry (5 years+).

Therapy Focus offers specialist continence services for children and adults living with disability. Known as PEBBLES, the team of experienced clinicians provide assessment, advice and treatment for a range of bladder and bowel health issues, as well as toilet training.

Learn more about Therapy Focus’ specialist continence services

Alternatively, contact the PEBBLES Team on 1300 865 401 or email pebbles@therapyfocus.org.au

You can find more helpful information at:

www.bladderbowel.gov.au

www.continence.org.au

Client getting PEBBLES support
Pictured: A child having a bladder scan at the PEBBLES continence clinic

References:

https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/features/chronic-constipation-facts-vs-mths#2

Philichi.,L.(2018).management of childhood constipation. Journal of Padiatric Health Care. 32.(1).pp.103-111

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