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What is Incontinence?  

Incontinence is an involuntary loss of urine or bowel motion at an inappropriate time or in an inappropriate place.  The amount can vary from slight to copious.  It is important to remember that incontinence is not a disease but a symptom of an underlying disorder.

Incontinence is Common

Incontinence is a bigger problem than most people realise.  In fact, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 9 men will suffer with incontinence at some point in their lives.  Approximately 20% of women over the age of 40 have some degree of urinary incontinence.

Unfortunately, incontinence is still considered to be a taboo subject with many individuals suffering in silence without getting any help and it is estimated that there are 16 million people in the UK that suffer with incontinence.

The risk of becoming incontinent increases with age, but 70% of people with symptoms of incontinence can be cured or greatly improved with the help of a medical professional.

For further advice or information regarding incontinence issues contact:


Disabled Living, Burrows House, 10 Priestly Road, Wardley Industrial Estate, Worsley, Manchester, M28 2LY

Helpline: 0161 607 8219


36 Old School House, Britannia Road, Kingswood, BS15 8DB

Helpline: 0845 370 8008

General Enquiries: 0117 960 3060

Bladder & Bowel Foundation

SATRA Innovation Park, Rockingham Road, Kettering, Northants, NN16 9JH

Helpline: 0845 345 0165

General Enquiries: 01536 533255

[email protected]

The Cystitis & Overactive Bladder Foundation (COB Foundation)

Kings Court, 17 School Road, Birmingham, B28 8JG

Helpline: 0121 702 0820

[email protected]


Myths and Facts

We have collected a range of myths and facts about bladder control that might help clear up some uncertainties or questions you may have on this subject. The important thing to remember is that bladder weakness often can be treated with good results. If you are uncertain about what treatment would be best for you, we recommend you talk to your continence advisor or urologist to get help and advice.

Myth: Bladder problems only affect older people

Myth: bladder problems affect older people

Young people, both men and women, can be affected by bladder weakness, for a variety of reasons. Although there are several aspects of aging (menopause and prostate conditions) which can have an effect on bladder health the phenomenon is definitely not limited to our grandparents.

Fact: Bladder Training might help

Myth: bladder training

Bladder training is a first step that may help some people with overactive bladders. You resist the first urge to go and wait for the scheduled time. Gradually, you can try holding on longer. Another approach is to perform pelvic floor exercises, and these two methods together can sometimes substantially cut overactive bladder episodes. Talk to your continence advisor or urologist on how to get started. Have a go at pelvic floor exercisesas they can ease discomfort of overactive bladder. We recommend that you make an appointment with your doctor.

Myth: Small Bladder, Large Problems

Myth: small bladder

Some people blame a small bladder for frequent leaks, but your body's normal "capacity" is rarely the true cause of a problem with bladder weakness. In healthy people, that capacity ranges from one to two cups of fluid. The real issue is more likely to be weak muscles, medication side effects, infection, or damage to the nerves -- and effective treatments could be available.

Fact: A Healthy Bladder in a Healthy Body

Myth: healthy lifestyle

A healthy lifestyle may play a supportive role in preventing and lessening some bladder problems. Doctors say getting regular physical activity and doing pelvic floor exercises can reduce stress incontinence, the leakage caused by coughing, laughing, or sneezing. Smoking less, or, even better, stop smoking altogether will reduce extensive coughing which also has an effect on bladder weakness.

Myth: Drinking Less Is Best

Myth: glass of water

Waving off the waiter when he tries to refill your glass may help a little. But doctors say a fully functioning bladder should be able to handle a normal fluid intake. You might want to consider downsizing that morning cup of coffee or skipping the cola because caffeine is a bladder stimulant and having a glass of water instead.

Myth: Bladder Problems Are a Fact of Life

Myth: bladder problems are a fact of life

If bladder problems are bothering you, talk with your health-care provider. Incontinence is a medical problem - not an inevitable part of aging. Treatments will depend on a person’s specific problem and overall health, and people who seek help often see improvements in their symptoms resulting in improvements to their day-to-day life.

If you are uncertain about your condition, we recommend you contact your continence advisor or urologist. 


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