The Continence Foundation of Australia says that the majority of over 5 million Australians who suffer debilitating bladder and bowel incontinence, could have their leakages helped or even cured.
This week during World Continence Week from 17 to 23rd June, the Continence Foundation of Australia continues their campaign Laugh Without Leaking. The Foundation is using humour to overcome the stigma of incontinence and to get people to talk about their bladder and bowel.
Bev Killick, Melbourne actress and comedian, has been at the forefront of the campaign, stimulating a growing national conversation about the once-sensitive topic in her newfound role as The Continence Champion.
Breaking down barriers of stigma with humour, Bev comments: “There’s a significant proportion of the population for whom laughing out loud is not just an option, no matter how funny they find a routine. Laughing out loud literally involves weeing themselves laughing. I know this personally, as for most of my life I was one of those people.”
The Continence Foundation CEO, Rowan Cockerell says that making pelvic floor exercises a daily habit could be both the prevention and cure for embarrassing bladder and bowel leakages for millions of Australians who unnecessarily suffer in silence. Whilst Laugh Without Leaking uses comedy to overcome the stigma of bladder, bowel and pelvic muscle issues it comes with a very serious health message.
Continence fast facts
- Over 5 million Australians – 1 in 4 people aged 15 years or over are incontinent (1)
- 80% of people with urinary incontinence are women
- 1 in 3 women who have had a baby wet themselves (2)
- Strong pelvic floor muscles are necessary for bladder and bowel control and good sexual function
- Pelvic floor muscle exercises have been shown to prevent and treat incontinence
- Less than two out of 10 women (17.6%) do their pelvic floor exercises daily (3)
- 70% of incontinent people do not seek help
- Bladder and bowel problems are not a natural part of ageing or having a baby
- Incontinence impacts self-esteem, motivation, dignity and independence
- The majority of incontinence cases can be better treated, better managed or even cured
- In 2010, the total economic cost of incontinence was estimated to be $66.7 billion and rising (1)
(1) Deloitte Access Economics Pty Ltd (2011). The economic impact of incontinence in Australia. Melbourne: Continence Foundation of Australia and Deloitte Access Economics.
(2) Thom, D, & Rortveit, G 2010, ‘Prevalence of postpartum urinary incontinence: a systematic review’, Acta Obstetricia Et Gynecologica Scandinavica, 89, 12, pp. 1511-1522
(3) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health (2018). Women’s Health Survey 2018. Australia.