Incontinence affects 1 in 4 adult Australians

statistics on Urinary incontinence

  • Urinary incontinence affects up to 10% of Australian men and up to 38% of Australian women1.
  • 80% of those with urinary incontinence in the community are women2.
  • Over half of women living in the community with urinary incontinence are aged under 50 years2.
  • 65% of women and 30% of men sitting in a GP waiting room report some type of urinary incontinence, yet only 31% of these people report not seeking help from a health professional3.
  • 70% of people with urinary leakage do not seek advice and treatment for their problem 4,5.
  • Urge incontinence [a sudden and strong need to urinate (wee)] commonly occurs with prostate disease. It is low in younger men and increases to 30% for men aged 70-84 and 50% for men aged 85 years and over6.

statistics on Faecal incontinence statistics

  • Faecal incontinence affects 6% of Australian men and 10% of Australian women1.
  • 62% of those with faecal incontinence in the community are women2.
  • 44% of women living in the community with faecal incontinence are aged under 50 years2.

statistics on Older australians and incontinence

  • In 2010, an estimated 1.17 million Australians aged 65 years and over living in the community and 128,473 Australians in residential aged care facilities were incontinent2
  • Faecal incontinence is one of the three major reasons (along with decreased mobility and dementia) for admittance to a residential aged care facility7.
  • Between 75 and 81% of people living in residential aged care facilities are incontinent, with the majority in the most dependent category8.
  • In 2009, 67% and 55% of residents of aged care facilities were found to need care for urinary incontinence and faecal incontinence, respectively2.  

References

1. Hawthorne G. Measuring Incontinence in Australia. Commonwealth of Australia; 2006. 
2. Deloitte Access Economics. The economic impact of incontinence in Australia. The Continence Foundation of Australia; 2011.
3. Byles J, Chiarelli P, Hacker A, Bruin C. Help seeking for urinary incontinence: a survey of those attending GP waiting rooms. Australian and New Zealand Continence Journal. 2003;9(1):8-13. 
4. Millard R. The prevalence of urinary incontinence in Australia. Aust. Continence J. 1998;4:92-9. 
5. Avery JC, Gill TK, Taylor AW, Stocks NP. Urinary incontinence: severity, perceptions and population prevalence in Australian women. Australian and New Zealand Continence Journal. 2014;20(1):7-13. 
6. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Australian incontinence data analysis and development. Cat. no. DIS 44. Canberra: AIHW; 2006.
7. Pearson J. Incidence of incontinence as a factor in admission to aged care homes. Canberra: Australia Government Department of Health and Ageing; 2003.
8. Hibbert PD, Wiles LK, Cameron ID, Kitson A, Reed RL, Georgiou A, Gray L, Westbrook J, Augustsson H, Molloy CJ, Arnolda G, Ting HP, Mitchell R, Rapport F, Gordon SJ, Runciman WB, Braithwaite J. CareTrack Aged: the appropriateness of care delivered to Australians living in residential aged care facilities: a study protocol, BMJ Open, 2019. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-030988.

 

The Deloitte Access Economics report The economic impact of incontinence in Australia (920KB) explores the current prevalence and economic impact of incontinence in Australia, and provides an outline of the future projected growth of this financial burden.

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Last Updated: Fri 06, Nov 2020
Last Reviewed: Mon 30, Mar 2020