Ontex Healthcare

Incontinence Guide

About Incontinence guide
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Incontinence is the partial or complete loss of bladder and or bowel control. Did you know that incontinence is not a disease but a condition? Unfortunately, it is estimated that over 70% of those struggling with bladder leakage do not seek medical advice.

Incontinence is nothing to be ashamed of and is not always related to your age but many health and lifestyle factors such as pregnancy and obesity. Other causes of incontinence include Autism, Cancer, Cerebral Palsy, Parkinson’s, Dementia, Fistulas, Prolapse, Ulcerative Colitis, Stroke and Spinal Cord Injuries.

Incontinence is often a symptom of other medical issues, and sometimes it results from certain medications. If you are experiencing a form of incontinence, you are not alone.

Urinary incontinence affects up to 10% of Australian men and up to 38% of Australian women. Furthermore, according to the Continence Foundation Australia, bowel incontinence affects up to 6% of Australian men and 10% of Australian women.

Whilst incontinence is not widely discussed, many men and women suffer from the condition every day, and whilst there is no cure, it can successfully be managed with the right treatment plan. There is no need to continue to feel out of control; there are different steps you can take to return to your daily activities.

Let’s take a look at the different types of incontinence.

Urinary/Bladder Incontinence Overview

Urinary incontinence is the leaking of urine that you can't control. Urinary incontinence can happen for several reasons and is experienced by men, women and children. However, it can be effectively managed and treated when assessed by a medical professional. Urinary incontinence affects people of all ages and is not only reserved for elderly patients.
You mustn’t ignore symptoms of bladder incontinence as it can affect both your physical and mental health. Bladder incontinence is when the normal process of urination is disturbed and maybe a short or long term concern. However, many commonly presented symptoms can be improved with simple adjustments to fluid intake, diet, and reassessing medications.
A detailed assessment of your fluid intake is usually the first step toward understanding why you are experiencing bladder issues.
A health professional will ask you to track how much fluid you typically drink, what you drink and what time of day or night you drink. In addition, they may advise you to reduce your caffeinated beverages and alcohol intake as these substances may irritate the bladder.
A great way to reduce symptoms is by understanding what drinks trigger your incontinence.

What increases your risk of developing bladder incontinence?

  • Pregnancy
  • Childbirth
  • Menopause
  • Prostate problems
  • Certain medications
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Overall poor health

Faecal/Bowel Incontinence Overview

Bowel incontinence is when you have trouble controlling your bowel movements. This can cause constipation, diarrhea, gas and bloating, affecting your overall health and wellbeing.
Bowel incontinence movements can occur once daily or multiple times a day depending on your condition and result in the inability to stop yourself from having a bowel movement. Bowel incontinence is typically seen in the elderly, but it can affect people for many reasons, such as medications or injury.
There are many possible causes of bowel incontinence. A medical professional is the best option for addressing the root cause of your symptoms. It is important not to self-diagnose your symptoms as this may cause you to make incorrect adjustments to your lifestyle or delay your ability to seek appropriate treatment.
Preventing faecal incontinence is complicated primarily as it is caused by situations we may feel we can't control, such as prolonged labour for women giving birth, injuries from over-straining due to constipation, physical activities such as sport or heavy lifting, and as a side effect of certain prescription medications for other conditions.
You can make many lifestyle choices to keep your bowels healthy, such as drinking enough water, eating a whole food diet, high in fiber, limiting alcohol and processed foods, and maintaining a healthy weight for your body.
What increases the risk of developing bowel incontinence?
  • Long-term or severe constipation
  • Long-term or severe diarrhea
  • Crohn's Disease
  • Irritable Bowel Disease
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Piles or Hemorrhoids
  • Childbirth
  • Certain surgical procedures
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Spina Bifida
  • Muscle Damage
  • Nerve Damage

Types Of Incontinence

Did you know that there are different types of incontinence?
This is why it is essential to check with a medical professional if you feel you are dealing with signs or symptoms to determine which type of incontinence you may have and how to manage your condition. Knowing the correct type of incontinence is the best way to discover the right path for treatment.

Urge Incontinence:

A person with urge incontinence typically feels overwhelmed with the sudden urge to go to the toilet and urinate. Urge incontinence is also known as overactive bladder.
It is caused by a problem in the detrusor muscles, which are located in the walls of the bladder. When these muscles contract too frequently, it can create the constant urge to urinate.
Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, a stroke, a brain tumor or a spinal injury can interfere with nerve signals involved in bladder control, causing urinary incontinence. In addition, underlying health conditions can also cause an overactive bladder, so it is essential to have your symptoms checked by a doctor.

Stress Incontinence

A person with stress incontinence will experience bladder incontinence usually caused by internal abdominal pressure from simple daily tasks like sports, coughing or laughing.
One or both of the following can cause this:
  • Weakened pelvic floor muscles can cause this or
  • Damaged urethral sphincter
This type of incontinence is typically seen in women and is a prevalent condition after childbirth.
Men who have had treatment or surgery on their prostate can also experience stress incontinence.

Overflow Incontinence

People with overflow incontinence cannot fully empty their bladder when they urinate. This then causes the bladder to remain whole and overflow (the muscles can not hold on) and is often caused by an obstruction in the bladder.
This condition is also known as chronic urinary retention and may cause frequent leakage from the bladder. Chronic urination may or may not be painful, depending on the level of symptoms you experience.

Functional Incontinence

A person who has working use of their bladder but can often make it in time to the bathroom. This is linked to physical or mental impairment in most cases but can be caused by other illnesses and muscle weakness.

Reflex Incontinence

In this case, iatrogenic incontinence directly results from medication, including muscle relaxants and nervous system blockers.

Nocturia Incontinence

Nocturia is when a person has to wake up at night to pass urine, often disrupting sleep. Nocturia incontinence can occur due to a number of medical or lifestyle factors such as age, pregnancy, caffeine and alcohol intake and diabetes.

Other Forms Of Incontinence

Mixed Incontinence
A person may be diagnosed with mixed incontinence if one or more types of incontinence (above) are experienced.
Total Incontinence
A person may be diagnosed with total incontinence if there is no control over the use of the bladder and they experience consistent bladder leakage throughout the day.
Transient Incontinence
A person may be diagnosed with transient incontinence when the symptoms are directly triggered by transient causes such as a urinary tract infection or specific medication. This condition is also known as involuntary urination. Transient incontinence is a type of urinary incontinence caused by an illness or a specific medical condition that is short-lived and quickly remedied by appropriate treatment.
Faecal Incontinence
A person can not control the passing of the stool from the bowel.
Passive Incontinence
A person involuntarily and unknowingly loses control of their bowel movements.


Incontinence vs Continence: Continence is the ability to control bladder and bowel movements. Incontinence is the involuntary loss of bladder or bowel control.
Types Of Medications That Can Cause Incontinence
Certain types of prescriptions medication and over the counter medicines can cause incontinence as a side effect.
It is essential to talk with your healthcare provider about incontinence if you are taking any of the following medications:
  • Alpha-blockers (medicine for high blood pressure)
  • Drugs with anticholinergic effects (antihistamines)
  • Diuretics (causes frequent urination)
  • Antidepressants (can reduce your awareness of needing the bathroom)
  • Steroids
  • ACE inhibitors
  • Antacids that contain magnesium
  • Weight Loss medication

Continence Aids

When dealing with bladder or bowel incontinence for the first time, there are several issues you need to consider to feel confident and know you have peace of mind in your daily life.
First, you have to decide which continence aid can provide you with the comfort and support you need to manage your incontinence symptoms.

Continence aids are designed to support individuals by providing absorbent, discreet, and comfortable products. Ontex continence aids provide odour protection and all iD products are 100% breathable to preserve the integrity of the skin plus approved by dermatologists.

Ontex Healthcare products offer different absorbency levels, from light to heavy, to suit different personal needs. If you are unsure of the correct product required for your level of incontinence, it is best to check with your healthcare professional.

Different Types Of Continence Aids

Washable Bed Pads

Ontex manufactures the iconic range of Kylie washable bed protection range. Kylie’s have been providing quality bedding protection for over 45 years and are suitable for all levels of incontinence. Advanced technology with a five layer system that ensures the users stays dry and comfortable. The range includes bedding protection, chair pads, mattresses covers, sheets and pillow covers for adults and children.

Disposable Bed Pads

Disposable bed pads are designed to provide a high level of protection and are available in a range of sizes and absorbencies. The iD Expert range has a soft top layer and comes in a pack of 30 bed pads. The iD Protect range has a fast absorbing protection sheet with a unique cushion design that is ideal for home-care.

Disposable Incontinence Pads

A single-use product that needs to be disposed of after use. Disposable pads are the most popular products as they are worn discreetly inside or instead of your underwear to keep you fresh and dry. Sanitary pads are not as absorbent as incontinence pads for bladder leakage, and it is vital to use the correct product to avoid further health complications.

Incontinence Light pads are one of the most popular continence aids as they line your regular underwear, have a super absorbent core and are thin and discreet. The iD Light Advanced range keeps you fresh for up to 10 hours, has double anti leak barriers for security and the top sheet has camomile which has a soothing and calming effect.

Light Pads For Men

Ontex has a range of Light Pads specifically for men which are ideal for men who want ultra protection. The iD mens pouch designed with power dry technology, has a cotton sensation, ultra discreet with rapid absorption and has odour control.

The iD mens pouch is available in three levels of absorbency. For sport activities we recommend iD for men Level 3

Large Shaped Anatomic Pads (Forms)

Large shaped pads are ideal for those who are managing moderate to heavy urinary incontinence, thanks to the anti-leakage protection that keeps you dry. They provide comfort and protection throughout the day or overnight. The large shaped anatomical pads are suitable for anyone requiring assistance with toileting, as they quickly absorb heavy urine leakage. The iD range has Dry Zone Technology with fast absorption/instant dryness and a double wetness indicator.

Pull Up Pants

Pull up pants feel like regular underwear and can ensure a good night's sleep. They are available in a range of sizes and absorbency levels. Pull up pants are ideal for active independent people. The iD Classic range of pants have complete skin protection- fast absorption and instant dryness, 100% breathable and skin friendly top sheet, which reduces the risk of skin irritations. Easy to use, discreet and specifically designed for those who prefer a higher waist.

The Maxi level of absorption will keep you feeling dry for up to 10 hours and is recommended for overnight usage. In tests 98% of participants confirmed skin integrity after wearing the iD Classic Pants overnight.
All In One Pads - Slips

All in one tab style slip incontinence pads are ideal for people with limited mobility with moderate to heavy incontinence. The four resealable tabs make it easy to apply and keep the pad secure. The Slips are 100% breathable, have a double wetness indicator and integrated cuffs for maximum protection. The all-in-one slip range comes in various sizes, from small to XXL

Adjustable Briefs (Belts)

The iD Belt range is designed to offer protection for moderate to severe incontinence and are easy to apply and adjustable. They provide 6-8 hours protection and come in sizes from small to XL in Plus, Super and Maxi absorbencies.

Net Pants

Net Pants are purposefully designed to be figure-hugging, form-fitting and comfortable to wear with incontinence pads. Comfort and security are why so many people love wearing net pants; they are soft to the touch and help hold disposable iD Form pads in place. They are ideal when you need extra security and greater freedom of movement.


Boosters are rectangle-shaped absorbent pads that can be added to all-in-ones and briefs. Boosters are hypo-allergenic and feature a unique air-flow system that is 100% breathable.

Skincare Products

Taking care of your skin, ensuring it is well protected, nourished and hydrated, will help you avoid any unwanted discomfort and minimise the risk of skin infections. iD has a range of specifically designed skin care products for treating sensitive skin including, moisturising creams, wipes, cleansers, wet wash gloves and shampoo caps for total continence care and well being.

The iD barrier cream will help to prevent and calm irritations, apply a thin layer for maximum results.

Hygiene Products

Maintaining excellent hygiene is essential when managing bladder or bowel incontinence symptoms. However, cleaning can be a significant cause of stress and fatigue for those managing such symptoms and their caretakers. This is why purposefully designed hygienic products such as cleansers and wipes are beneficial.

The correct, high-quality products will reduce cross-contamination, infection and odour. We recommend following a 3-step approach to hygiene using the iD skin care range of products to Cleanse, Moisturise and Protect.

Download the PDF
iD Incontinence Brochure

Common Issues

Skin Irritation & Skin Rashes:

These can occur when wearing a product for too long. Skin reactions can also be an allergic reaction to a specific ingredient or material and should be discussed with your health care professional. If you are sensitive or have an allergy to latex, be sure to request a latex-free product. The most crucial step is finding the correct fit; a too big or small product will irritate or rub, leading to an increased chance of a rash or infection. All iD incontinence products are dermatologically tested.


Children may require additional support with the use of an incontinence aid past the age of three for a wide variety of reasons, including anxiety, bladder training, diabetes, overactive bladder, ADHD, slower physical development, structural problems in the urinary tract, small bladder, stressful events, and more.

In addition, children may require a continence aid through their teenage years. The iD Comfy range of pants and slips has been designed to feel like real underwear, making them the perfect solution for urinary. iD Comfy Junior Pants are available in XS and S sizes with soft side panels and highly absorption core for maximum protection. The iD Comfy Junior Slip has high absorption capacity and covers waist sizes from 40 to 70cm.

Where Can I Buy Continence Aids?

Selecting the right continence aid can be overwhelming. There are so many products available on the market, from bed pads to pull-up pants, so that is why we have a product selector tool to find the best product for your needs and you can also order Free Samples so you can try the perfect product before you buy.
Have you already found what you are looking for? Our trusted iD, Lille & Kylie brands can be conveniently purchased through the below distributors:

Go to www.ontexheathcare.com.au/where-to-buy for full list of national, state and local suppliers

Foods That Irritate The Bladder

Certain foods can irritate the bladder and exacerbate your symptoms. Avoiding trigger foods can make a big difference in your daily life. It is best to cut down or avoid consuming foods that will worsen your condition.
If you are experiencing bladder pain, bladder control issues, urge incontinence or a loss of control over your bladder or bowel movements, your diet is essential.
For example, suppose you are diagnosed with a type of bladder incontinence such as urinary urgency or a sensitive bladder.
In that case, you may like to eliminate irritating foods and slowly reintroduce them into your diet to see which ingredients you can tolerate. Not all ingredients need to be eliminated; some can be enjoyed in moderation, depending on your tolerance levels.
Overall, it is essential to reduce your intake of acidic foods, including citrus fruit, coffee, alcohol and vinegar. In addition, what you eat and drink plays a crucial role in your bladder health.
We understand that symptoms vary significantly from person to person, but all incontinence conditions have in common is irritating and inflammatory foods. Managing your fluid intake is also essential for balancing an overactive bladder.
One of the best places to start treating your incontinence symptoms is in the kitchen! Consider these foods as part of a lifestyle change rather than a diet, embracing what you can eat rather than focussing on what you can't eat.
Managing your incontinence does not mean you have to stop eating the foods you enjoy; however, research shows that certain food groups worsen symptoms.
It is a great idea to list what foods you can and can not tolerate when you start your food journey. In addition, keeping a food diary is helpful so you can discover which ingredients are likely triggering your bladder irritation.

Here are the most common foods that irritate your bladder:

Cranberry Juice

  • It can assist with avoiding Urinary Tract Infections but can increase bladder problems.

Apple Juice

  • Apple juice is less acidic, meaning some can tolerate it better than other juice varieties.
  • Try diluting apple juice with water.


  • Rich and heavy diary ingredients such as sour cream and aged cheese can be triggering.
  • Dairy products can trigger bowel symptoms and may need to be avoided depending on your sensitivity.
  • Many dairy-free alternatives are available, including dairy-free cheese, coconut yoghurt, soy milk, and additional plant-based milk that can easily replace dairy in your diet.

Carbonated Beverages

  • Soda Water
  • Soft drinks such as Coca Cola.
  • Energy Drinks
  • Carbonated Drinks
  • Stimulates and irritates the bladder.

Tomato-Based Products

Tomato is a fruit, and it can irritate the bladder.
  • Pasta Sauce
  • Ketchup/Tomato Sauce
  • Tomato Soup
  • Pizza Sauce
  • Salsa
  • Irritate the bladder

Citrus Fruits

Acidic fruits can irritate a sensitive bladder.
  • Lemon
  • Orange
  • Lime
  • Grapefruit
  • Clementines
  • Pineapple

Dried Fruits

  • Dates
  • Prunes
  • Sweet dried fruits
  • Irritate the bladder


  • Avoid raw onion
  • Swap for a milder version, such as shallots.
  • Avoid spicy foods

Coffee, Tea & Chocolate

  • Stimulates the bladder and creates an urgency to urinate.
  • Causes dehydration
  • Acts as a diuretic
  • White chocolate contains less caffeine and is an alternative to milk or dark chocolate.

Artificial Sweeteners

  • Honey
  • Sugar
  • Artificial colours and flavours
  • Artificial preservatives
  • Fructose
  • High Corn Syrup
  • Sugar replacements like Stevia
  • Sorbitol, fructose and mannitol
  • Sweeteners are commonly hidden in condiments, carbonated drinks, processed food and chewing gum.


Interferes with the brain’s signals to the bladder for urination.
  • Beer
  • Brewers Yeast
  • Wine
  • Causes dehydration

High Sodium Food

High-sodium foods may cause you to feel thirsty, leading to overconsumption of liquids.
  • Salty Chips
  • Nut Mix
  • Pretzels
Foods That Can Help Manage Your Incontinence
  • Fibre-rich foods such as whole grains, brown rice, barley and oatmeal.
  • Raw vegetables.
  • Rice & Beans.
  • Fruits that are low in sugar, such as blueberries, pears and avocados.
  • Vegetables that are high in magnesium, such as potatoes.
  • Caffeine replacements such as herbal tea and low-acidic or decaf coffee.
  • Herbs without the heat such as rosemary, thyme and garlic (avoid onions and chilli).
By removing certain foods from your daily diet, understanding how certain medications affect your overall health, you can learn to manage your symptoms best. Healthy foods and drinks that help you maintain a healthy weight will play an essential role in managing a sensitive bladder.
Don't forget to journal your results in a food diary to keep track of which foods appear to be making your bladder or bowel symptoms worse.
If you have concerns about your bladder symptoms, it is recommended that you see a health professional who can provide medical advice. Urinary incontinence can be successfully managed with the correct path of treatment.
Furthermore, a medical professional can assist you with your fluid intake management, such as how much fluid to drink and find out through an assessment if you are consuming too much fluid or too little contributing to your urine production.
Anyone who experiences urinary incontinence desires to gain more control and find a solution and diet that can bring much-needed relief to symptoms.

Professional Resources

If you're a healthcare professional you can access a wide range of exclusive resources and order up to 40 free samples. Register today so we can help you make a difference in delivering trusted & affordable continence care!
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