Well it’s World Continence Week – and it’s no laughing matter. Here comedian, actress and mother-of-two Bev Killick is out to break the ice and open the conversation about this common condition that affects over a third of Aussies, regardless of age.

 

Laughing out loud shouldn’t be a scary thing. But for many people laughing is just not an option – no matter how funny they might find one of my standup routines. Which is very funny, by the way.

And I know this personally, as for most of my life I was one of those people.

I’ve had some continence issues over my life and then after having babies it became worse. And I thought I was doing the right thing by doing these pelvic floor exercises – but turns out I was doing them wrong and I didn’t realise!

In my standup I tend to talk about my everyday life in a very honest way. I find humour is the best way to tackle anything with stigma attached. It’s a great icebreaker.

So I already had a heap of stand-up material on me weeing myself and not doing my pelvic floor exercises before the Continence Foundation of Australia even approached me to be their ambassador. Now, I’m their Continence Champion. It’s the perfect fit.

And you wouldn’t believe how many people have come up to me after my shows to tell me they peed themselves while they were laughing. It’s very common. So many people leak when they laugh. They quite literally wet themselves laughing.

It can happen to anyone, regardless of age. Young or old. Man or woman. Postpartum or not. There are so many different factors that come into play: stress, anxiety, fear, and many different illnesses can cause incontinence.

There’s definitely an embarrassment factor out there that comes with it. But there shouldn’t be.

Really I’m just trying to spell it out to your regular Joe Blow that if you’ve got a wee problem, or bowel and bladder health issues, you don’t have to live with it. There are ways of dealing with it.

It wasn’t until I became the Continence Champion and sought the help of physio that I learnt the right way to do my pelvic floor exercises.

I’ve noticed a huge difference – especially on stage. I used to have a few little accidents when I was on stage just from singing loudly or nerves or whatever, but I just don’t have that problem any more.

I used to have a few little accidents when I was on stage just from singing loudly or nerves or whatever, but I just don’t have that problem any more.

I’m testament to the fact that doing your pelvic floor exercises daily and regularly can definitely help.

Because pelvic floor muscles are what starts to deteriorate. You can tighten all that area up with pelvic floor exercises – which is both a prevention measure and a cure. And the best part is it doesn’t hurt one bit.

A lot of people will put it off and instead they’ll reach for stop-gap measures like pads or they just won’t go to see a comedy show for fear of laughing. Or drop their singing career. But you don’t have to suffer in silence. You can do something about it.

You can go to your health professional and have it looked at, get checked out and all the rest. Or call the free National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66. It’s as easy as picking up the phone and having a chat with someone.

My father has had some continence issues related to diabetes and he recently went into a retirement home. One day I took him out to lunch when I noticed this bulge in the front of his pants and I said, “Dad, what’s going on there?”

And he said, “Oh that’s my continence underpants.”

And what he’d done is he just chucked the whole thing down the front of his jocks. He didn’t know how to put them on properly. So I showed him the right way and he was so chuffed and so proud.

He was like, “Oh my daughter is the ambassador for the Continence Foundation and it’s lucky you’re here!” We couldn’t stop giggling about it.

When it comes to the exercises, it can be a different technique for men and women, but a physio can instruct you on the right way to do it. The only trick is to remember to do them every day.

When I retire for the night and I’m in bed on my iPad relaxing, I’ll do my reps then. Because you’ve got to do 10 at once. Just one won’t do it. It’s like working out at the gym – you’ve got to do a few reps for the muscles to be exercised properly.

It’s like working out at the gym – you’ve got to do a few reps for the muscles to be exercised properly.

Plus I’ll always be doing them whenever I’m out there talking about the issue as the Continence Champion. Yep, that’s right. I’m doing my pelvic floor exercises right now.

For more info, visit Laugh Without Leaking, the Continence Foundation of Australia or call the free National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66.