According to NHS Choices, bowel incontinence affects about one in 10 adults at some point in their lives; although numbers are vague because of the embarrassment factor. People avoid asking for advice or help. And, in my experience, men with incontinence are more reluctant to come forward than women.
Incontinence At Work
For many returning to work after a stroke or bladder surgery, having access to toilet facilities is a key problem. If there is no trustworthy person to talk to about this, such as occupational health, safety, line manager or HR, the return can be delayed for many weeks. Also, the incontinence pad is usually bulky and may be smelly, there may be issues with personal protective equipment and hygiene (such as in food preparation).
Faecal incontinence is especially difficult; but this and urine incontinence effects self-esteem and well-being. Remember too that it is not just a problem in old age.
New Resource from RCN
The Royal College of Nursing has responded to the issue by designing an online learning resource on bowel and bladder problem. The course is mainly for nurses but members of the public will benefit as well. The text is in plain English and there are simple diagrams too. The resource covers topics such as how the equipment works (the anatomy and physiology of the urinary tract and bowel), maintaining dignity and how to talk to people about issues.
Did you know, for example, that there are mainly three causes of bladder incontinence:
- overactive bladder
- stress incontinence
- emptying difficulties.
And each problem needs different solutions.
Incontinence Resource Contents
There are also case studies.
They also recommend a supplier Bladder and Bowel UK (formerly PromoCon) as a great resource for both staff and patients. They have a range of equipment and ideas to manage incontinence in young or older people. Go to Bladder and Bowel website
Good resource and it’s great that it is free. Well done RCN!