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Bronwyn Ford’s journey with pelvic organ prolapse has been emotional. She describes frustration, sadness, anger and disbelief but on the other side – acceptance, resilience and empowerment.
As COVID-19 crept across our shores and lockdowns followed, a typical scenario was the panic buying seen in Australian supermarkets. Whilst toilet paper was in high demand, spare a thought for those who also had trouble accessing essential continence products. Living with incontinence is already challenging without the fear of not being able to access the right products, such as continence pads and pants.
Of all the changes a woman can face after giving birth, for Elicia O’Reilly, unexpected incontinence was the worst. After giving birth to a large overdue baby, Elicia was shocked when this happened to her and although a midwife explained that immediate post-partum incontinence was common after vaginal birth, it was something Elicia felt completely unprepared for.
It is a little-known fact that as many as 40% of women will experience some form of pelvic organ prolapse (POP), and 11% will undergo surgery for prolapse or experience incontinence at some point in their lifetime.
The pelvic organs, which include the bladder, vagina, uterus, and bowel, are held in place by the pelvic floor muscles and supporting tissues such as 'fascia' and 'ligaments'. These help to join the pelvic organs to the bony side walls of the pelvis and keep them in place.
Margaret Wilson worked at a Nurse Continence Specialist- led pessary clinic in a rural service, and provides women with advice and reassurance. At the clinic, specially trained nurses see women who are usually referred by their GP for pelvic muscle assessment and to be fitted for a pessary.
Many older women don’t have regular vaginal examinations, but this is important for a woman’s health throughout her whole life. Nurse Continence Specialist Janie Thompson, Clinical Services Manager, leads the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66 and addresses this important issue.
The Australian Prostate Centre (APC) is a not-for-profit medical centre in Melbourne, created to help men living with prostate cancer. They share three ways to balance the important parts of wellbeing including continence, sex, exercise and psychology.
The Continence Foundation of Australia recently hosted an online webinar Live fearlessly: the continence products you’ll wish you knew about sooner. Catch up on the full webinar on YouTube for more clinical advice and lived experience.
Stay on top of your continence health and find out how your prostate can affect your bladder and bowels.
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland with a big impact on the urinary system. It surrounds the urethra (the tube that carries urine to the bladder). This is why changes to the prostate can often lead to changes in bladder and bowel health too.
Exercise can unleash some great effects in us. After all, who doesn’t want improved mood and better sleep?
Men’s Health Physiotherapist Thomas Harris takes us through his top tips for men to think about their pelvic floor while strength training or doing active hobbies.