Diane Benson.jpgWorld Continence Awareness Week is held annually in June.

Diane Benson, Community Bladder and Bowel Service Team Lead at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It also helps highlight that you don’t have to suffer with incontinence to have a problem with your bladder and/or bowel and you are not alone.”

“More people suffer with bladder problems than suffer with diabetes or asthma”.  It is estimated that 61 per cent of adult men experience lower urinary tract symptoms and 34 per cent of women suffer from bladder problems.”

Bowel problems are reported as one in 10 of the population which equates to 65million adults in the UK suffering from Faecal Incontinence. 

Combined incontinence affects 10% of women and 5% to 6% per cent of men living in their own homes and 50% of those in care homes.

Diane said: “Women are more likely to seek help but figures are estimated as many people do not come forward.”

It was highlighted that bladder and/or bowel problems affect not only those who suffer with the problem but can affect their partners too. These problems can impact not only physical health through sleep deprivation and skin breakdown but cause mental health suffering through social isolation, relationship and body image issues.

There are four main types of bladder problem and people can suffer from one or a combination. 

Some of the signs you may have a bladder problem are:

  • Going to the toilet more than seven times in 24hrs
  • Getting up through the night before the age of 55
  • Not making it to the toilet in time
  • Leaking with movement or cough/sneeze
  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Recurrent water infections (UTI’s)

Diane added: “Bowel problems can be caused through a variety of ways including muscle or nerve weakness or simply poor diet and fluids.  If you think you have a bladder and/or bowel problem and would like an assessment and treatment plan there are two ways to access the service:-

“If you are under the care of a Social Worker or Health professional including the GP, they can discuss some general tips and submit a referral on your behalf.

“If you do not have any health or social professional involvement you can ring 01946 68643 and give your contact details.  These will be passed to the Community Bladder and Bowel Service where someone will ring you back and take a referral. This is usually within seven working days. You will be asked general and specific questions so your referral can be passed to the most appropriate nurse to see you. Once the referral has been processed you will be contacted again to make an appointment.”

If you have any of the symptoms below it is best to get them checked out by your GP

  • Blood in urine or rectal bleeding
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections
  • Loin pain
  • Any masses seen or felt
  • Unintentional and unexplained weight loss
  • In people over the age of 60, a change in bowel habit for more than 6 weeks with loose and/or more frequent stools.


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