It is estimated that around 14 million people in the UK suffer from continence problems and around 6.5 million with some form of bowel problem.
Men, women and children can all be affected but many suffer in silence because it is not a topic that is openly discussed. This is true even today in the world of social media where individuals share a lot of information bladder and bowel issues are not openly discussed.
Common bladder problems include urgently needing to pass urine, bladder leakage, bed wetting or difficulty emptying the bladder. Common bowel problems may include faecal leakage, constipation and difficulty emptying the bowel.
Continence problems can cause embarrassment, anxiety and distress and often has a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life.
It can be difficult to discuss symptoms but it is important to know that help and support is available and the choice of treatments and management options has never been greater. With the right interventions symptoms can often be significantly improved with a positive impact on quality of life. Interventions may include lifestyle changes, pelvic floor exercises, medication or possibly surgery.
Most areas within the UK have specialist services that can provide excellent clinical care and many accept self referrals so no need to see a GP first. These are usually called the Continence Service or Bladder and Bowel Service.