Bladder control problems? What you need to know

Bladder control problems (urinary incontinence) affect the day-to-day activities of around 4 million Australians. Urinary incontinence can affect people of any age, but it is more common as we get older. It has many different causes and with the right treatment, can be well managed or possibly cured.

What to do

  • Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about bladder control.
  • If you have bladder control problems, tell your doctor about all the medicines you are taking. This includes medicines from:
    • other health professionals
    • health food shops
    • supermarkets
    • pharmacies.
  • Ask your doctor to review your medicines. Your doctor may suggest a Home Medicines Review, where a pharmacist visits you at your home to review all your medicines.

Your doctor will be happy to discuss any concerns you may have about bladder control.

Always talk to your doctor before stopping any medicine.

Medicines and bladder control problems

Some commonly used medicines may cause or worsen urinary incontinence.

A medicines review organised by your doctor can help identify whether one or more medicines could be causing the problem.

If a medicine is found to be causing the incontinence, your doctor may suggest:

  • a lower dose of the same medicine
  • a different medicine
  • a different therapy.

Treatment is available

Treatment of urinary incontinence depends on the cause of the problem.

With the right treatment, urinary incontinence can be well managed, improved or possibly cured.

For the best results, have symptoms regularly reviewed.

Services that can help

A number of health professionals can help:

  • general practitioners (GPs)
  • continence nurse advisors
  • physiotherapists
  • medical specialists.

DVA’s RAP service provides a range of continence products for eligible veterans. Your doctor can make a referral to a health provider (eg registered nurse, occupational therapist or continence advisor) who will make an assessment and order specific products for you.

Helpful tips

If you have urinary incontinence, here are some useful tips to help manage each day:

  • Ensure home toilets are safe, free from obstacles and easy to access.
  • Plan ahead to find out where you can access toilet facilities.
    • Find more than 14,000 toilet locations across Australia on the National Public Toilet Map (
For free information and advice about bladder control problems, call the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66.

The helpline is staffed by a team of continence nurse advisors who can provide you with free brochures, the details of local services and discuss your eligibility for product subsidy schemes.

For more information:

Talk to your doctor and pharmacist.

Visit the Continence Foundation of Australia website

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