News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Continence Awareness Week 1-6 September 2008

Media Release – 28 August 2008

Continence Awareness Week 1-6 September 2008
“Life’s little spills” – Mothers & Children

New Zealanders know what it’s like to experience “Life’s little spills”. Loss of bladder or bowel control regularly affects nearly 600,000 of us. Mothers and children are especially vulnerable and the focus of this year’s Continence Awareness Week (1-6 September).

The NZ Continence Assn is promoting the importance of good bladder and bowel control under the banner “Life’s Little Spills”. Mothers have the highest risk for bladder and bowel problems due mainly to the physical demands of pregnancy and childbirth. About 1 in 3 women who have had a baby have an incontinence problem.

Child-bearing can weaken the pelvic floor and cause loss of control. The pelvic floor is the “support structure” of muscles stretching from the pubic bone at the front to the tail-bone at the back and from side to side. It is important because it helps in both bladder and bowel control.

Often, problems experienced around childbirth can recur or worsen later in a woman’s life. Especially bladder leakage, but also bowel incontinence, can significantly affect a woman’s lifestyle. Leakage can lead to loss of confidence, reduced sport and exercise and avoiding social outings.

Incontinence can also put stress on close relationships. Leakage can interfere with sexuality and weaken the intimacy enjoyed by partners. In the same way, embarrassment and anxiety about leaking can isolate people from their friends and relatives.

Childhood bed-wetting can be a sensitive issue for many parents. Children differ in their physical development, emotional maturity, and living environments. Parents often feel confused about the advice they get from family and friends.

This is why health professional guidance such as talking to a nurse advisor who runs a bedwetting programme is recommended by the NZ Continence Assn. The Helpline can give you contacts in your local area. The helpline also provides information pamphlets on toilet-training, bed-wetting and how to help children establish good bladder and bowel habits for life.

The Associations CEO, Jan Zander, points out, ``Many of us seem to have grown up with a very blurred picture of our body’s ‘waste management’ system. Many adults are unaware of the importance of the basics: how to sit on the toilet properly, what ‘regular’ actually means, how aspects of diet and fluid intake affect incontinence. They are not recognising constipation correctly, how toilet frequency and urgency, haemorrhoids or wind can be linked to control problems, or how medicines taken for other health conditions might cause or worsen their incontinence.’’

The NZCA points out that ``The common picture of our bladder and bowel function is all too ‘grey’ - it’s the work of the Association to give this picture the colour it deserves! We also owe it to our children to give them a positive and educated approach to bladder and bowel function that will last for life.’’

Incontinence is never normal at any age - and life’s little spills can get bigger!
Incontinence often shows itself as “small” problems that are too easily dismissed. The NZ Continence Assn encourages people to take “Life’s little spills” seriously and to seek professional help. When signs are dismissed as “just a part of getting old” or “because I’ve had children” or “something children will grow out of ”, an opportunity to prevent or reduce incontinence can be lost.

Incontinence is a very significant health problem for the NZ community – physically, socially, emotionally and financially. The NZ Continence Assn is the peak national body for the promotion of continence and operates the National Continence Helpline.

If you have questions about your bladder or bowel function, contact the
National Continence Helpline 0800 650 659
Free pamphlets covering many aspects of incontinence are available free of charge


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


40 Years On: Prime Minister Delivers Erebus Apology

"That loss, in and of itself, was huge. It sent ripples across the country, and trauma that those who weren’t directly affected would probably struggle to fathom. But that loss and grief was compounded. It was undeniably worsened by the events that followed." More>>


The Testaments: Margaret Atwood Announces Three NZ Events

The evening will also feature Atwood’s remarkable career, her diverse range of works and why she has returned to the fictional world of Gilead 34 years later. More>>


Transit Of Mercury: Historic Viewing Recreated

Keen stargazers gathered at Te Whanganui o Hei, or Mercury Bay, on the Coromandel Peninsula to watch a rare astronomic event this morning. More>>


Forest And Bird: Hoiho Crowned Bird Of The Year For 2019

Widely considered an underdog, the valiant hoiho (yellow-eyed penguin) has smashed the feathered ceiling to win Bird of the Year, a first for seabirds in the competition's 14 year history. More>>


Howard Davis: Very Silly Stormtroopers - Jojo Rabbit

Described as “an anti-hate satire,” Taiki Waititi's latest movie depicts the growth of a young boy in Nazi Germany who seeks advice on how to become a tough man from his 'imaginary friend' - a highly eccentric version of Adolf Hitler.




  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland