The conversation we need to have in the bathroom

It’s not the most comfortable subject to talk about but the reality is that many Australian men and women are experiencing bladder leakage every day. While it can be brushed off as just a part of getting older, there’s no denying that incontinence is unpleasant and embarrassing.

There’s a certain stigma attached to speaking about bladder leakage but there is a new survey that shows that we need to open the conversation about the issue – it affects over 1 million Australians. And it isn’t just affecting them in the ways you would assume, some are even putting off holidays and travel plans because of it.

In the new research from Depend, it has been revealed that 67 per cent of sufferers experience anxiety about locating bathrooms in new environments, which is affecting their travel plans and lifestyle. It can also affect self-confidence, so it is sad but no wonder that around 70 per cent of people with urinary incontinence do not seek professional help.

60-year-old Lyn has had bladder leakage for almost 20 years, and first noticed it occurring when she sneezed and coughed. Her lack of control got worse but using Depend pads has allowed her to gain control of her life. She said, “I was initially embarrassed by my condition but I realise now that lots of people are affected by it and I have confidence in my pads to keep it discrete”.

According to Neurological Continence Nurse Consultant, Joanne Lawrence, “incontinence is a highly prevalent, yet little discussed condition which can have a deep impact on the lives of sufferers. The stigma still associated with incontinence, despite the millions of sufferers, has allowed embarrassment and coping strategies to affect what people do, where they go, how they travel. We found a quarter of sufferers found it affected their everyday travel, but this almost doubles when longer trips are considered”.

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Incontinence sufferers make an average of ten trips to the bathroom a day, but it doesn’t have to take over your life. Joanne also said, “It is important you don’t let this condition stop you from doing all the things you’ve wanted to do in your retirement. With some simple planning, you can manage and take on that trip of a lifetime!”.

If you are experiencing bladder leakage, Joanne recommends: planning ahead – use the National Public Toilet Map and take plenty of incontinence pads; get the right product – find the right protection for your needs by visiting; and know where to get help – visit or call 1800 33 00 66 to receive information, education and advice.

Are you suffering from incontinence? Has it been affecting your life? How do you deal with it day to day? If you feel comfortable, share your stories below.