What does incontinence mean?

Incontinence refers to the accidental or involuntary release of urine from the bladder (known as urinary incontinence) or an accidental or involuntary bowel motion, faeces or wind from the bowel, (known as faecal incontinence).

A common condition affecting one in four Australians, incontinence can occur for a number of reasons.  It impacts men and women of all ages and varies in how often it occurs. While some experience light leakage, others may encounter a complete loss of bladder or bowel control.

Types of incontinence

Urinary incontinence 

A common condition, that is often linked to:

  • Pregnancy
  • Childbirth
  • Menopause
  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis


An experience with urinary incontinence may occur when you laugh, cough, sneeze, or exercise. Urinary incontinence can occur for several reasons including:  

  • Stress incontinence: Leakage occurs when you exert pressure on your bladder by coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercising.
  • Urge incontinence: A sudden, unexpected urge to urinate is followed by an involuntary loss of urine.
  • Overflow incontinence: Regular or continual leakages occur as a result of the bladder not fully emptying.
  • Functional incontinence. A physical or mental impairment prevents you from reaching a toilet prior to leakage.


Faecal incontinence

It is estimated that 1 in 10 people will encounter faecal incontinence, an experience that is defined by passing faeces at the incorrect time. While young people can also have poor bowel control, it is more commonly experienced in later life and often occurs alongside urinary incontinence as well.

Some people are affected by faecal incontinence daily, while others only experience it from time to time. There are several causes of faecal incontinence, including:

  • Weakened rectum muscles as a result of childbirth, aging, surgery or radiation therapy
  • Constipation
  • Severe diarrhoea


Finding the incontinence products that are right for you

Incontinence can occur for many different reasons and if you need help talk to a suitable health professional like a continence nurse advisor, pelvic floor physiotherapist or your GP. 

We hope that urinary or faecal incontinence doesn’t prevent people from going about their daily activities. Fortunately, incontinence can be manageable and the Bcause store stocks a wide range of products to assist men and women of all ages.

Products specialising in both male incontinence and female incontinence are available, as well as incontinence pads, incontinence pants, care products and bedding protectors. 

TENA Pads Male

14 items per carton.


TENA Liners


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