Incontinence myths busted

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.

Common incontinence myths

MYTH 1. Laxative consumption is terrible and can lead to dependence

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

MYTH 2. My child cannot be constipated because they are continually pooing their pants

BUSTED! Faecal soiling can be a sign of constipation with overflow. It should be the first thing to be ruled out in managing faecal incontinence.

MYTH 3. Urinary incontinence is inevitable with ageing and childbirth

BUSTED! That 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/or resolved with the correct advice and assistance.

It is essential 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 want to leave the house, which can contribute to loneliness and depression.

MYTH 4. Drinking less fluid will help to manage urinary incontinence

BUSTED! In fact, urine that is more concentrated due to lack of fluid intake can irritate the bladder and cause more severe problems such as infection and dehydration. Also, inadequate fluid intake can cause constipation, which may also make matters worse.

MYTH 5. Having incontinence is a disease

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

MYTH 6. Children wet the bed intentionally

BUSTED! Children do not 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 is a recognised medical condition known as nocturnal enuresis. Nocturnal enuresis is incontinence that occurs during periods of sleep. Particularly 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. Our team of experienced Continence Clinicians provide assessment, advice and treatment for a range of bladder and bowel health issues, as well as toilet training.

Need continence assistance?

Learn about our continence and toilet training services or call us on 1300 135 373.


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