The Continence Foundation of Australia is launching its 2019 national health awareness campaign, Laugh Without Leaking to coincide with World Laughter Day (5 May). It features humour to help the 1 in 4 Australians who today suffer from bladder and bowel leakage, and the millions more at risk of this debilitating condition, to make a simple change that could significantly improve their lives.
Bev Killick, Melbourne actress and comedian, has been at the forefront of the campaign, stimulating a growing national conversation about the once-sensitive topic in her newfound role as The Continence Champion.
Breaking down barriers of stigma with humour, Bev comments: “There’s a significant proportion of the population for whom laughing out loud is just not an option, no matter how funny they find a routine. Laughing out loud literally involves weeing themselves laughing. I know this personally, as for most of my life I was one of those people”.
The Continence Foundation CEO, Rowan Cockerell says that making pelvic floor exercises a daily habit could be both the prevention and cure for embarrassing bladder and bowel leakages for millions of Australians who unnecessarily suffer in silence.
“Women make up 80 per cent of people who report living with incontinence with more than half being aged 50 and younger - many experiencing problems after childbirth and during pregnancy. With 1 in 3 mums regularly wetting themselves, this is a common problem but, for the majority, it can be fixed. However, it will not get better on its own,” says Mrs Cockerell.
Last year, the Continence Foundation started its bold approach of using humour to spread the good news that most bladder, bowel and pelvic floor problems can be better treated, managed or even cured.
“This year we want all Australians to know that a simple behaviour change - that is making pelvic floor exercises a daily habit – can make a world of difference to not only the mums suffering incontinence but people of all ages and genders,” says Mrs Cockerell.
Laugh Without Leaking features a series of fun 15-second video clips being shared across social media with Bev championing when and where you can do these simple exercises throughout the day.
“You can do them when you wake up, at the bus stop, ordering your morning coffee, picking up the kids from school, watching a scary movie … you can do them here, there and everywhere! Matter of fact, I’m doin’ them now,” says Bev with a cheeky grin.
Whilst Laugh Without Leaking uses comedy to overcome the stigma of bladder, bowel and pelvic muscle issues it comes with a very serious health message.
“Prevention is always better than a cure, but early treatment is really key to fixing the problem. Ignoring the issue can have a huge impact on your physical and mental health as well as lifestyle, whether it be avoiding exercise or limiting social engagements for fear of an embarrassing accident,” says Mrs Cockerell.
The 2019 Laugh Without Leaking campaign will culminate with hundreds of events, displays, talks and activities across Australia during World Continence Week (17-23 June) which is celebrated globally as an internationally-designated health awareness movement.
To find out how to Laugh Without Leaking, go to continence.org.au or call the free National Continence Helpline 1800 33 00 66.
Laugh Without Leaking and World Continence Week 2019 is proudly supported by