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Footy legend lifts lid on incontinence

Aussie footy legend Robert ‘Dipper’ DiPierdomenico has opened up about his struggles with incontinence and the challenges faced by millions of men who, like him, encounter harrowing moments dealing with their health issue.

Unlike women, who can reliably expect to find bins in the corner of a public lavatory cubicle to place their sanitary napkins, tissues and tampons, men typically have nothing. Which is a massive problem for the 1.4 million men in Australia suffering from incontinence.

“I was going to the bathroom maybe four or five times and then it went to 10 or 12 times and then 30 or 40 and I did nothing about it,' DiPierdomenico, 65, told Channel 7 this week.

“And then, of course, the pain started to come and then I had my operation and now I am 95 per cent back to where I was.”

The Brownlow medallist said he’d had to wear a nappy for a period of time until he eventually sought help for his condition and was able to control his bladder with prescribed exercises.

“What you've got to do is if you're feeling you're going to the bathroom a few more times than normally and the pain is starting to come in, what you need to do is go to your doctor, talk to him or her about what your problems are and it's fixed the next day, basically, after an operation,” he said.

“And then you've got to do your pelvic exercises like we all do now and you can live a normal life, which I am now.”

DiPierdomenico was promoting Continence Australia’s Bin for Blokes initiative at the MCG, “which is obviously in the bathrooms of pubs and toilets so people can go to the footy or the Olympics, they can go and change their nappy if they need to.”

Dipper experienced his first serious bout of incontinence two years ago after months ignoring pain, and was diagnosed with urinary retention after being rushed to hospital.

The prime time Channel 7 news report stated that, if the MCG was full of 100,000 men and boys, “around 10,000 of the crowd would be silently dealing with incontinent issues.”

Of these, 36% would be under the age of 50. Twenty new bins for men’s products are now installed in men’s toilets at the MCG.

This week 19-25 June 2023 marks World Continence Week, and Continence Foundation of Australia is encouraging people to seek help and feel empowered to live confident lives.

Over 5 million Australians – 1 in 4 people aged 15 years or older – experience bladder or bowel incontinence.

Hear more from those experiencing incontinence.

Read Also:

Bins 4 Blokes: It's in the Can (AMHF 2020)

Bins 4 Blokes marks World in Continent Week 2021 (AMHF 2021)


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