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Bladder and Bowel Q2 2022

Do not ignore a bladder or bowel problem

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Karen Irwin

Service Manager and Specialist Nurse, Bladder and Bowel UK

Bladder and bowel problems are very common, but many individuals prefer not to openly discuss what, in essence, is private to us all. However, help and support is available.


People are often reluctant to come forward and present to health professionals to seek the help and advice they need. This is commonly due to embarrassment, fear or not realising that there are solutions to treating and managing bladder symptoms. 

Common problems may include increased urinary frequency and/or urgency, frequently getting up at night to pass urine (nocturia), passing large amounts of urine at night, urinary incontinence or difficulty voiding or passing urine. It is also important not to ignore other symptoms, such as blood in your urine.

Increasingly common conditions

We would suggest speaking to your GP or other health professional in the first instance. They will be able to suggest the best way forward, undertake initial screening and advise if further investigation of symptoms is required.

It is estimated that 14 million men, women, young people and children of all ages are living with bladder problems and 6.6 million adults in the UK suffer with some form of bowel problem. According to NHS England, one in 10 of the population are affected by faecal incontinence.

Community based support

People should be encouraged to know that much can be done to cure, treat and improve continence symptoms. Where this is not achievable, an individualised management plan can help improve the quality of life for most individuals. The initial assessment, treatment and management for continence issues is best undertaken by staff trained in continence care. 

By talking openly about your condition, you can find the help and support that is available.

These services, often referred to as bladder and bowel or continence services, are usually based in the community, consisting of a team of specialist of nurses and other continence healthcare professionals. These professionals assess and advise on conservative treatment options, such as dietary advice, lifestyle adjustments, bladder retraining, medication advice and pelvic floor muscle exercises. 

Those individuals experiencing more complex problems, or who have not responded to initial treatment, can be referred to specialist services, such as urology, urogynaecology, geriatrics or specialist physiotherapy.

Please be encouraged to seek help and advice. By talking openly about your condition, you can find the help and support that is available. Don’t suffer in silence.

Bladder & Bowel UK supports bladder and bowel health for everyone. They offer confidential advice from specialist nurses and product experts. Information on preventing and dealing with bladder and bowel issues can be found online at www.bbuk.org.uk

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