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Aug 5, 2009
When Laughter Is Not the Best Medicine
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(from a blog in "Parenting Australia" magazine).
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Three-quarters of Australian women have literally laughed until they have wet themselves, a new survey has found. The research, commissioned by the Continence Foundation of Australia, ahead of Continence Awareness Week (2-8 August 2009), found that 75% of women have wet themselves while laughing, coughing, sneezing or exercising.
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But the findings are no laughing matter - this common condition, known as stress incontinence, can be be prevented, treated, managed and in many cases cured. Despite the high number of women who suffer from stress incontinence, the survey found only a quarter of Australian women have spoken to their doctor about it.
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Continence and Women's Health Physiotherapist Dr Margaret Sherburn said stress incontinence was usually caused by the weakening of the pelvic floor muscles. "In many cases, stress incontinence can be treated through simple interventions such as a pelvic floor muscle training program," Dr Sherburn said.
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Pregnancy, childbirth and menopause are the main causes of stress incontinence in women, however factors including constipation, obesity, heavy lifting or a chronic cough contribute to stress incontinence in women as well as men and children.
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Dr Sherburn said ignoring the problem won't make it go away, and may even make it worse. "Women are often too embarrassed to talk to anyone - or for many women their baby is the key focus after birth - so they do nothing to tackle the problem. This can lead to the pelvic floor muscles becoming weaker and the problem getting worse over time".
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The Continence Foundation advises anyone experiencing bladder or bowel problems to speak to their doctor or contact the National Continence Helpline on freecall 1800 33 00 66. In the meantime, some simple life changes that can help include:
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==> Eating a healthy diet rich in dietary fibre
------ we need at least 30gms of fibre each day.
==> Limit consumption of bladder irritants:
------ caffeine, alcohol and fizzy drinks.
==> Exercise regularly
------ aim to exercise for 30 minutes most days.
==> Learn how to keep your pelvic floor toned
------ by speaking to a Continence and Women's
        Health Physiotherapist.
==> Practice good toilet habits
------ don't go to the toilet 'just in case' or
        put off going when you need to.
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For more information about bladder and bowel health, visit www.continence.org.au or freecall 1800 33 00 66
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References:
http://twitter.com/ParentingOz
http://www.parentingaustralia.com.au/blog
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Posted: Aug 5, 2009 11:02pm

 

 
 
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Jenny Dooley
, 3, 2 children
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