Sharing experiences on managing bladder health

9 July, 2020

In June, the Central (Bendigo) Community Network welcomed Jessica, Continence Nurse Consultant, from Bendigo Health’s Continence Service Clinic. The Network also welcomed a new member from Mildura.

The meeting was full of productive discussions as Jessica shared her clinical knowledge and experience of managing bladder health, and each member complemented the discussions with their lived experience knowledge. Everyone had the opportunity to share their knowledge and learn from others. 

The discussions revealed many useful tips and reminders:

  • To prevent or manage urinary tract infections, have regular continence reviews with the local Continence Clinic who will review technique, type of lubricant and continence product used, fluid intake, and bowel management.
  • Drink enough water (may be approximately 3L) for urine to look dark yellow in the morning, and straw coloured by the afternoon.
  • A healthy bowel = healthy bladder.
  • Botox in the bladder can help reduce spasms and feelings of urgency. One is still able to pass urine but with less bladder spasms. Work with your local doctor to find the right amount of botox that works for you.
  • If the product is not reusable, dispose after one use.

Jessica also introduced new products on the market:

  • Double balloon catheters (pictured), which may be useful for people with frequent contractions, urgency and blockage. Currently there are two sizes: 14 and 18 gauges. There is a balloon at tip which prevents the catheter from rubbing in the bladder than the tip of the catheter, which makes it more comfortable and prevents blockage.
  • Glass catheters made of glass, which is reusable and steadier than plastic.
  • Flip flow valves with “on / off” stickers clearly printed.
  • Catheters with a bag already attached for people who self-catheterise, which may be useful for people who travel or use public toilets.
  • Queens bladder stimulator which is a vibrating device that helps empty the bowel
  • Peristeen Transanal irrigation system to help clean out the bowels and address constipation.

Everyone agreed that everyone is individual in their bladder and bowel management, so it is best to consult with the Continence Nurse Specialist to find out which product works best for you. It was a great discussion with everyone enjoying being able to share lived experience and provide informal peer support. The Network thanked Jessica for sharing her professional experiences.

The Continence Service Clinic has two separate services:

  • Regional Continence – a newer service where staff support people in their own homes;
  • Outpatients Clinic – where people come to the Clinic. Staff are also able to manage more complicated catheter care.

You can call Bendigo Health for a GP, NDIS or self-referral to the Clinic (call 1300 733 581). They can also refer you to the appropriate service. Appointments can be done over Telehealth or in person.

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