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Bladder and bowel health

As you get older, your bladder and bowel may not work as well as they used to.

Learn more about how to have good bladder and bowel control (continence), treatment and management options and the bowel cancer screening test.

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There are many things you can do to maintain good bladder and bowel control as you get older. For example, you can:

  • eat a balanced diet
  • drink plenty of water
  • do regular physical activity
  • maintain a healthy weight
  • strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.

Read about Bladder leakage: fact versus fiction.

Read about Your pelvic floor: The forgotten muscles.

Learn more about bowel incontinence.

Treatment and management

If you are worried about incontinence, talk to your doctor. They will ask about your medical history and symptoms. It can be embarrassing to talk about your bladder and bowel habits, but it’s important to find the cause and best treatment options.

Depending on your situation, your doctor may recommend:

  • you see a pelvic floor physiotherapist or a continence nurse
  • different types of medicine
  • surgery (in some cases).

You can also manage incontinence with products such as:

  • absorbent pads and underwear (reusable or disposable)
  • absorbent bed pads and chair pads.

Visit the Continence Foundation of Australia website for more information about continence.

Bowel cancer screening test

If you’re aged between 50 and 74, you can get a free bowel screening test every two years. The test checks for early signs of bowel cancer.

Learn more about the bowel cancer screening test.

This con­tent has been reviewed by a group of med­ical sub­ject mat­ter experts, in accor­dance with Jean Hailes pol­i­cy.

Last updated: 
12 March 2024
Last reviewed: 
02 February 2024

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