Managing bladder and bowel problems

Managing everyday life when you have a bladder or bowel problem can be challenging. With some planning and a routine, life can get back to normal. Find out how you can best manage your bladder and bowel problems.

Management plans

There are many ways to manage bladder or bowel problems. This depends on the type of problem you have. The first thing to do is to see your doctor (GP) to have a continence assessment. After this your doctor or continence assessor will develop a management plan with you.

A continence management plan can include:

The plan can also help with day-to-day activities like managing:

  • relationships, intimacy and sex
  • home life 
  • work life
  • social outings
  • exercise and sport
  • travel.

If you are caring for someone with bladder or bowel problems, practical tips and advice are available to assist you with your care.

Continence products

If you, or someone you care for, have a bladder or bowel problem there are many continence products to help you manage leaks and accidents.

Talk to your doctor or a continence advisor for advice on what products you may need.

You may also be eligible for financial help when buying continence products. The Continence Aids Payment Scheme (CAPS) can help with some of the costs of the products.

Residential aged care homes will supply continence products to their residents if they need them.

There are also state and territory government funding schemes available. For more information please contact the National Continence Helpline

Getting out and about

The National Public Toilet Map app shows the location of more than 19,000 publicly available toilets across Australia. This map is helpful if you have a bladder or bowel problem.

The map also has a trip planner function. This lets you plan your trip and find toilets you can use along the way. The toilet map app provides:

Using the My Health Record system

It can be hard to keep track of all your health information. Having a My Health Record means that you and your healthcare professionals can access information about your health. This information can include:

  • a summary of your most important health information
  • a list of your medications.

Visit My Health Record.

How to prevent bladder and bowel problems

There are simple everyday things you can do to help prevent bladder and bowel problems.

Get help as soon as you think you have a bladder or bowel problem. The problem will not go away on its own and can get worse over time.  Speak to your doctor or call the National Continence Helpline.

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