Incontinence is expensive. We’re talking the kind of expensive that totals 67 billion Australian dollars. That’s the estimated total cost of incontinence in Australia, based on a 2010 Deloitte report.

The estimate includes money spent on health systems, productivity loss in workplaces and employment, aged care and carer costs. For individuals, the personal cost all adds up. This could include laundry costs, pads, other incontinence products, and unexpected costs like replacing clothes and having to head home to change after leaking.

The Deloitte report estimated a week’s worth of incontinence products in Australia. We’ve updated these prices to show the change in cost (inflation) from 2010 to 2019.


Number used per week

Cost per week




Incontinence pads



Incontinence pants/protective underwear




This adds up to whopping $1,698.32 over a year for someone using about 18 incontinence pants a week.

This good news is you can access help to pay for continence products.

Take the pressure off

Financial help is available through the Continence Aids Payment Scheme (CAPS) offered by the Australian Government, and other state and territory schemes.

An applicant is eligible for CAPS if the applicant is five years of age or older and meets one of the following requirements:

  • permanent and severe loss of bladder and/or bowel function (incontinence) due directly to an eligible neurological condition; or
  • permanent and severe loss of bladder and/or bowel function (incontinence) caused by an eligible other condition, provided the applicant has a Centrelink or Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) Pensioner Concession Card entitlement.

CAPS is just one of the funding schemes available to Australians who need support for their incontinence products. Because the funding system is complex, the National Continence Helpline can help make sense of it for you.

Our Continence Nurse Advisors are standing by to take your calls on funding, or any other questions you have relating to incontinence. Phone now on 1800 33 00 66.

This story was first published in Bridge magazine. Subscribe to Bridge online.