Sharing the Facts on Incontinence Myths

By Karina Smith

Senior Continence Clinician

There are many misconceptions and myths surrounding incontinence. To help people better understand some of the commonly misunderstood areas of incontinence, Senior Continence Clinician Karina Smith shares the facts.

Laxative consumption can lead to dependence

Laxative use is safe, even for long periods, but if you need to take laxatives regularly to open your bowels, seek medical advice to make sure there is no underlying cause for constipation.

My child can’t be constipated because they’re always having accidents

Interestingly, faecal soiling – more commonly known as pooing your pants – can be a sign of constipation with overflow. It should be the first thing to be ruled out in managing faecal incontinence. Treating constipation with timed toileting routines, fluids, dietary changes and appropriate medication can often resolve faecal incontinence.

1-3% of children experience faecal soiling. It is more common in boys but still happens to girls. It is important to note that faecal incontinence is not caused by naughtiness, laziness or attention-seeking and punishing this behaviour can make it worse.

Urinary incontinence is inevitable with ageing and childbirth

This is far from the truth. Ageing and childbirth do increase the risk, but they are not always related. Urinary incontinence can be prevented, improved and resolved with the correct advice and assistance. It is essential to seek help for incontinence and not accept it as an inevitable fate. Fear of an accident and self-consciousness about odours can impact anyone’s ability to leave the house, which can contribute to loneliness and depression.

At Therapy Focus, our team of experienced continence clinicians help people understand what causes incontinence, and how it can be treated. We also offer a Bladder and Bowel Health Program for people aged 65 and over. 

A Therapy Focus clinician smiling at an elderly woman

Drinking less water can help prevent ‘accidents’

Absolutely not. In fact, urine that is more concentrated due to lack of fluid intake or water consumption can irritate the bladder and cause severe problems such as infection and dehydration. Further still, inadequate fluid intake can cause constipation, which can make matters worse.

Children wet the bed intentionally

Children do not wet the bed intentionally. Like learning to walk or talk, a child’s bladder develops with time and practice. Sometimes, no matter how hard a child might try, they can still urinate involuntarily.

Nocturnal enuresis – more commonly known as wetting the bed – is a recognised medical condition in children who are at an age when we would reasonably expect them to be dry. Usually this is around 5 years. Many children will stop wetting the bed naturally over time, but sometimes the help of a specialist may be required. Learn more about bed wetting and when to seek support. 

Incontinence is a disease

Incontinence is not a disease, it is a symptom or side effect of another medical condition. That is why it is so important to speak with your doctor or healthcare professional if you experience any type of bladder or bowel control problem.

Access continence advice and support

At Therapy Focus, we work closely with individuals, families, education staff and other health professionals to provide the best in continence care.