This week (25 to 30 June) is World Continence Week, an initiative organised by the International Continence Society and coordinated in Australia by the Continence Foundation of Australia (CFA).
It was created to raise awareness about this issue and inform both those in the workforce and the wider community of the problems it can cause.
To coincide with World Continence Week, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) released a report on 21 June that demonstrates incontinence can have a substantial impact on the health and wellbeing of those in the workforce.
The report, titled Incontinence in Australia, reveals that 316,000 people (or 1.5 per cent of the population) admitted to experiencing severe incontinence during 2008 and 2009.
Incontinence in Australia also states that a total of $1.6 billion was spent on this health problem by the aged and health care systems. Across the country, hospitals alone spent $145.5 million on treating patients with this condition.
"Severe incontinence refers to instances where people always or sometimes need help with controlling bladder or bowel functions," explains AIHW spokesperson Dr Pamela Kinnear.
While it is more common among the elderly, incontinence can affect people any age.
It is more likely to impact women than men (70 per cent to 30 per cent), according to the (CFA). Many women may begin experiencing incontinence after childbirth or menopause.
The young can also suffer from incontinence, with the same source revealing that 3 to 5 percent of children aged between 5 and 17 have this problem.
Dr Kinnear says this condition can "profoundly affect" those who experience it and have a detrimental effect on their quality of life. It can also inhibit their ability to participate in work and social activities.
Of those who participated in the report and said they were suffering from incontinence, 26 per cent stated they were currently part of the Australian workforce.
Your employees could be affected by incontinence or other health problems that are preventing them from performing at the top of their games and helping your business reach its full potential.
If you are a business owner who would like to make sure your staff have access to the health care they need when they require it, you may want to consider organising business health insurance.
HICA can help you find a corporate health plan that suits your company's needs.