Bladder and Bowel UK Partnership with TENA.

"Bladder and Bowel UK are delighted to be involved in collaborating on this national campaign, helping to further raise awareness of bladder and bowel issues, during COVID and beyond.  We would encourage people with incontinence issues to step forward, seek professional help and advice and not self – manage, or suffer in silence." 
Karen Irwin, Service Manager/ Specialist Nurse at Bladder and Bowel UK.  

Key statistics

Good bladder and bowel health is essential for overall wellbeing and health at any stage of life. Problems with the bladder and bowel are quite common and do affect young people as well as adults.
• An estimated 14 million people in the UK live with bladder problems.  Incontinence is generally thought of as a female problem, but continence problems can also affect men of all ages. 
• Around 34% of women are living with urinary incontinence.
• About 6.5 million adults in the UK suffer with some form of bowel problem with 1-10% of adults are affected by faecal incontinence, with nearly two-thirds of these, also experiencing urinary incontinence.

How to seek help

Your GP should always be your first port of call if you notice any changes in the health of your bladder or bowel. This can be difficult to do for most people, but it is much better to receive advice and get checked out and not put this off. There are also specialist help services available for either you or someone you care for, for this we advise speaking to your GP for more information.
Bladder and bowel problems may not simply get better over time, sometimes they may even get worse. A GP or healthcare professional will be accustomed to having conversations about bladder and bowel problems and will be able to provide support, start treatment or suggest a specialist within the area.
If a child has bladder or bowel problems, their health visitor, school nurse of GP will also be able to provide support and a referral if required.
There are many products, aids and adaptations that are available that can improve your independence and quality of life, such as toileting aids, handheld urinals and clothing adaptions.
Most areas have a dedicated pelvic floor physiotherapy service, offering treatments for bladder and bowel symptoms for both men and women. As well as this, specialist services are  available in secondary care such as Urology, Urogynaecology and Bowel Specialist Consultants, in addition to specialists for children and young people.

Self-help tips

If you are waiting to be seen by your GP or specialist, more information on practical self-help strategies can be found at

Did you know?

  • Incontinence can occur when simply going about normal daily tasks
  • Incontinence is an Issue affecting all age groups, not just the elderly
  • Incontinence is still considered as a taboo subject


  • 54% have experienced incontinence when coughing, 34% when exercising and 24% just when walking
  • 67% have sought help with their incontinence
  • 34% of sufferers actively keep their condition as secret as possible


  • 64% of people think that urinary incontinence is a normal aspect of getting older
  • 58% of people think that urinary incontinence is a normal post-childbirth symptom
  • 55% of people think that urinary incontinence is something that mainly older people suffer with 

Dr. Emily MacDonagh

Dr. Emily MacDonagh
Mum of two, Dr Emily MacDonagh, who is working with TENA, said: “Contrary to popular belief, incontinence isn’t something that only affects the elderly, or women who have had children – although this is common – it can affect anyone at any stage of life.
“Although daunting, I would urge incontinence sufferers to take that initial leap and seek help from their GP or the Bladder and Bowel UK hotline. They are the experts and are there to provide effective treatment that can help to change your life for the better.
“Though incontinence is sometimes seen as a ‘taboo’ subject, there really isn’t anything to be embarrassed about, and we hope the TENA campaign will show sufferers that they shouldn’t feel they have to simply put up with the condition or suffer in silence!”

Get in touch with Bladder and Bowel UK!

If you would like to speak to a member of the Bladder and Bowel UK team about your condition, please fill out this form.

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