Personal Stories

Rachael

Rachael is a mother of 2 children at primary school

I'd had some problems after my first child was born, which started during the pregnancy. Just a little leak now and then, but my baby isn't a baby anymore!

I made a joke to one of my friends at the gym - to my surprise she said she had problems too, but was able to get them sorted out. I was relieved, but also a bit ambivalent about seeking help. My friend gave me the brochure (which was already at the gym!) and I gave the Continence Advisory Service a call.

I had no idea one in three of us mums have this problem! Or that there were things I could be done to help. I certainly didn't know there was a name for it. They were able to give me the contact details for my nearest Continence Physiotherapist.

It was through the continence physio that I discovered Pelvic Floor First. This program was designed by the Continence Foundation of Australia and provides guidance on how to do pelvic floor exercises effectively and safely. It also points out the kind of exercises you can do at the gym that will reduce the strain on our pelvic floor. The physiotherapist showed me how to do them the right way in the clinic; it's true that nobody can tell you are doing it, if you are doing it correctly.

I have put the gym director onto this info and she is looking at having an information session at the gym. Continence problems are not something we women just have to "put up with"!

 

Tom

Tom, 58, works up in the mines

I don't really remember when it started, just that after a while, I was getting up about three times a night. Needless to say, this was exhausting! I tried to ignore it, but in the back of my mind there was a gentle nudge about a bloke up here who had prostate trouble.

I've always been a strong guy – you have to be to survive for long up here – but I have to admit, it's hard to acknowledge that there's a problem with the 'waterworks'. I gave my mate who is a GP a call and asked him about it. He said that in most cases it will not be cancer; however, it is important to get it checked out. So, next time I was home, I booked in to see the doctor.

An enlarged prostate! Or Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia if you want to get technical. The doctor told me that this is fairly common in men of my vintage but it is well worth a visit to the GP surgery. To cut a long story short, I went to see a Urologist and while I don't need surgery, there are things I can do to help manage the symptoms and get more sleep.

I am happy to report that things are easier to manage at this point and I am finally getting a good night's sleep.

 

Taylor

Taylor is an 11 year old boy

I really wanted to go to my mate's place for his birthday – all the guys were going. But I was embarrassed because I wet the bed. It's not fair! Mum could see I was really worried. I hated having to wake up in bed with wet sheets in the morning, but I just couldn't help it. I knew the same thing happened to my older brother. He stopped wetting the bed when he as ten years old and I had already had my eleventh birthday.

Mum took me to the doctor to find out about why I was wetting the bed. He said this happens to lots of kids, and that I might not be drinking enough water. He said that bodies do funny things sometimes. He's not wrong there!

I had to go to a special clinic at the hospital where they showed me and mum how to use an alarm on the bed. This rings when I start to wet the bed, and wakes me up so that I can get out of bed get me up to go to the toilet. Another thing I've had to do is make sure that I am drinking enough water. This was hard at first, but I'm getting used to it now.

I went to the sleepover and had the most awesome time! I was still a bit nervous that I might have an accident, or that I might smell. But, none of the guys said anything and nobody noticed the special pair of pants I was wearing just in case. In the end I have stopped wetting the bed and can now have my own sleepovers!

My little brother is looking like he is going to be a bed wetter too. The continence nurse has let Mum know that if he is still wetting the bed when he is 5 ½ that he can start treatment then.

 

Fran and Lilly

Fran and Lilly

My mum Fran is 89, lives independently, and as her daughter, I was worried that she was isolating herself. She had stopped going to the choir she used to get so much joy out of and seemed generally unwell. I took mum to the GP. She has had several urinary tract infections in the past few months and was showing signs of dehydration. She admitted to the doctor that she had been restricting her fluid intake to try and stop herself from "having accidents" and was always constipated. She also said that she wants to stay living in her own house. She was worried that if she said anything about her problems that she would end up in a nursing home

The doctor gave mum a referral to a continence clinic at the major hospital nearby. The staff there have further qualifications in continence problems and we were able to get some valuable advice. It seems that not drinking enough fluid can make bladder problems worse (not the other way around) and that lack of exercise doesn't help either. With Mum's input, we were able to come up with a plan of action to achieve her goal of getting mum out of the house and back to the choir.

It's been a team effort. We found out mum was using products not really suited to her problems. She was also able to get help to offset the cost of purchasing the right products. Now by following her action plan, keeping hydrated and getting regular exercise, she has been able to reduce the use of these products and get her independence back.

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