Wed 29, May 2019

This year’s profusion of grass will create much more pollen than we have been used to in recent years, when the winters have been relatively dry.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, one in seven Australians suffers from hayfever – a condition more prevalent between the ages of 15 and 54.

And there’s nothing better than a good sneezing fit to remind us of the state of our pelvic floor muscles. Sneezing or coughing from conditions like hay fever, asthma or a chronic cough contribute significantly to the risk of bladder leakage.

The cause essentially comes down to physics; the result of greater downward force on the bladder (caused by the sneeze or cough) than the closure force of the urinary sphincter – the ring of muscle we relax to urinate.

One of the most effective ways to  help prevent bladder leakage is to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles - the sling-shaped muscles suspended from the tail bone to the public bone and between the sitting bones. These muscles are critical in helping close off the urinary and anal sphincters. (They’re also critical for sexual pleasure and function, and for keeping our pelvic organs up where they belong.)

Bladder leakage is preventable and manageable in the majority of cases. So is hay fever.

  • For a start, see a health professional and treat the hay fever, asthma or cough.
  •  Learn how to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles at Pelvic Floor First, or consult a continence physiotherapist, or phone the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66.
  •  Download the  Good Bladder Habits for Everyone pamphlet

For further advice and information on bladder or bowel issues, contact the National Continence Helpline (1800 33 00 66), a free and confidential service staffed by continence nurses and managed by the Continence Foundation of Australia.