Let’s not make bladder leakage taboo 52



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It’s a topic we don’t usually talk about but one that affects over 4.8 million people in Australia – I’m talking about bladder leakage.

A recent catch up with our community somehow veered toward the often unspoken conversation around bladder leakage. We were all surprised by just how many of us experience bladder weakness and leakage. The interesting thing is that the more we talked about it the more we all realised it really is something that can happen to anyone. And even though it is a big deal when it happens, there are plenty of things you can do to deal with incontinence so that you can get on with living life to the full.

It has the perception of an older person’s problem, but let’s face it – it isn’t one, as I know so many of my friends and family have experienced it on and off since they had children.

One of the girls shared: ‘Having to plan my trips around toilet stops is such a nuisance’. She then went on to tell us how her partner got a bit annoyed when their time together was punctuated by searching for a ladies.

Many of my friends have had that awkward and embarrassing heavy leakage moment. But then another lady chipped in with some advice – use the right product for heavy leakage. There is underwear that is specifically designed to protect against moderate to heavy leakage, as well as help prevent odour, to give you piece of mind that you’re protected, in case you don’t reach the toilet in time.

As well as wearing the right product, there are other things you can also do, including bladder re-training, keeping up your fluid intake, losing weight around your tummy and learning to do pelvic floor exercises, all of which help with bladder leakage as well as your confidence. The thing is, as we get older, or perhaps as more and more people have the same problems in our age group, we can talk about these problems more and share the solutions designed specifically to tackle them.

For those who have not experienced bladder leakage or incontinence themselves but may have a partner or friend who suffers, it’s important to normalise it –after all, it’s something that happens to so many. And, of course, share the solutions! As well as extensive product choices, there are also so many helpful resources. Depend® has a great online tool to help you find the right product and protection for your needs.

As our community chatted, we realised that at least half of the group were going through the same thing – many for different reasons. One had lost muscle tone as a result of childbirth and for some of them it is just a part of getting older.

Something that kept popping up was the fact that many of us had stopped doing our favourite activities for fear of experiencing bladder leakage, which is a shame as in reality there are products out there that can help manage the condition. And these products have come a long way so today they are surprisingly comfortable and discreet. No more having to worry about feeling uncomfortable or worrying about what to wear.

It’s nice to know you are not alone and that there are solutions out there that can help you or someone you know get on with living life to the full, despite having bladder leakage.

Does this sound familiar to you?  Do you find that your weak bladder is getting in the way of planned activities? Do you talk about these issues and possible solutions with your friends? Share with us your stories of how you have tackled this and help open up this once taboo subject.

This is a real story, supported by Depend® to make the discussion about incontinence and bladder issues less taboo among over 60s. Depend® Real-Fit Underwear for men and women with bladder leakage was developed in response to research that identified a distinct consumer need. Real-Fit Underwear are specifically designed to fit and feel like real underwear and protect against moderate to heavy loss of bladder control.


Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. 3 mornings in a row last week I woke up as usual. Took the necessary 7 steps to the toilet as usual but for 3 mornings in a row my bladder was leaking as I walked. I thought to myself “I’ve read something years ago about bladder leakage and bread” Yes! That’s it! We started buying Brumby’s Bread (no preservatives we keep it in the freezer) because of what I read. I had had supermarket brand sandwich loaf bread for the last week (preservatives) I so stopped having that bread and went back to Brumbys and guess what! No more morning leakage!.
    Here is what the Fedup page says on bread preservative….. –

    ” I was not surprised by this as I saw urinary incontinence develop during challenges in two of the children in my bread preservative study. Check your bread labels. Avoid propionate preservatives 280, 281, 282, 283 (in Europe E280 etc) and do NOT eat bread that contains anything cultured” such as Cultured Dextrose – it’s another name for bread preservative 280 ”

    2 REPLY
    • True! And amongst that are the diet drinks with the substitute sugars, which stimulate the bladder. Once I stopped drinking them I had less of a problem.

    • One can of Solo Soft drink per day and I have stomach pains the next morning. I keep thinking surely one can can’t be doing this – but it looks like it probably is.

  2. Incontinence was increasingly affecting my activities which made me fearful as I saw how it made my mother housebound . I did not believe that pelvic floor excercises worked at all but, in desperation, I tried them. I now go walking without fear & can hold on if I have to. The exercises do work ladies so get advice from an incontinence nurse or your doctor & persist with them. It changed my life.

  3. Yes gets in the way always. Very hard when shopping because toilets are never where you want them and most of the times the men’s toilets are closer than the women’s. Having weight on you makes the matter worse.

  4. All I can say is that normally I don’t have a problem, but I have pneumonia at the moment and coughing brings this issue to the fore. I cough so hard and for so long that I have to dash to the loo, not always in time. Embarrassing, inconvenient, and bloody annoying.

    6 REPLY
    • It happens to me when I’m coughing a lot. I get bronchitis now and then. It doesn’t happen at first, only after I’ve had the cough for a week or so.

    • Ive been coughing for about 12 days this time, and I am so tired. Sneezing, wheezing and losing my breathe, then this added indignity. My lungs are damaged from when I was a child, so every sniffle goes to my chest. I’ve never seen myself as a woman who needs pads, but obviously that’s going to change! I think I would rather have this problem being caused by laughter!

    • My husband says thank you too. He’s had a stroke and I brought him home after 16 months in care. He can’t walk but his mind is clear and sharp. He is as delighted as me to see these glorious flowers. Thanks again. You’ve made two oldies very happy.

  5. I suffered this from when I had my first child .Had another 4 children . It would go from one extreme to another .After 3 of my children ,I could not pass water for 3 days . I kept myself fit , did all my pelvic core muscle exercises . One year after my last child was born , I had a hysterectomy and bladder repair ,1974 ,it wasOK for until 1982 , then it was to continue . 2000 I had bladder neck suspension , could last between 5 to 10 years . Had to have mesh put in for prolapse in 2002 .OK 2009 bladder kept going down wearing up to 10 pads daily , 2014 had Bulkid injections into bladder did not help now I have a permanent catheter in .? What could have been different right back at the start !

    6 REPLY
    • I had same experience ,one time my mesh from the sling was rejected by my body, sympathy from a fellow sufferer goes to you

    • So sorry for you from one who has little problems except I carry a spare pair of knickers in my bag, just in case! Best wishes! X

    • After suffering severe urge incontinence for many years and being on numerous tablets etc. I am scheduled to have a Botox injection in the bladder this Friday at the Mercy hospital in Melbourne.

    • After my first child, I had a slight prolapse. My doctor said it would go away. (After 46 years, I was still waiting.) It gradually got worse and after my fifth child, it ‘dropped out’ while I was still in hospital. The doctor inserted the biggest pessary he could get but it fell out the next time I sat on a pan. Having an operation was discussed but my brother, a doctor, said it was like ‘sewing up brown paper.’ I managed fairly well over the years but it definitely got worse when I stopped wearing step- ins in summer. During this time, incontinence was occasionally a problem but once I started taking magnesium, it disappeared. This is saying something because when I stood up after lying down, the urine just poured out. When I took magnesium, I was back to normal. Eventually this year I went to see a specialist/ surgeon whose only recommendation was to have a colpocleisis. (Look it up on Google). At first, I decided the operation wasn’t for me but was persuaded to consider it. It is usually only recommended for women who are not active sexually but with my extra weight, the risks of the more complicated surgery was out of the question. I have written this because it might help someone with a similar problem. I appreciate that the government gives me an allowance for incontinence pads which I still need at times such as when I cough.

  6. Had this problem 18months ago was referred to an excellent continence physio. Excercises helped but the thing that worked best was changing to de caf tea. Iwas amazed at the difference it made. Try it!!!

  7. As a fitness freak I’m interested in learning more about the pelvic floor excercises. We have carpet, vinyl and wooden floors. Do the excercises work effectively with these floors? If not where does one buy pelvic flooring? I asked at Bunnings but all I got was funny looks. It appears they don’t stock it.

    3 REPLY

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