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Men's Healthcare Q4 2023

Institutional support is central to the future of European continence care

A doctor checking a patient
A doctor checking a patient
iStock / Getty Images Plus / Rawpixel

Prof Eamonn Rogers

Patient Office Chair, EAU

Patient voices are leading the way to better continence care in Europe. Momentum is building and patients are demanding policy change and institutional support.

Incontinence is a pervasive issue with a heavy physical and psychosocial toll on patients and their loved ones. Incontinence is also connected to higher rates of anxiety and depression.

Support for patients with incontinence

The stigma and taboo around incontinence only exacerbates the issue, causing many patients to ignore symptoms or delay diagnosis, particularly in men who hesitate to seek help with their continence health. Support for patients living with incontinence should be forthright and readily available. 

EU Continence Health Summit

A new multistakeholder campaign, An Urge to Act, seeks to take strong policy action towards achieving this support. In a huge step forward, on 8 November 2023, the EU Parliament hosted the first EU Continence Health Summit in Brussels.

The summit, as a first step of the Urge to Act campaign, is focused on policy reform in the EU to support those living with incontinence. The manifesto released at the Summit addresses the current impact of incontinence — not only the personal impact on the 55–60 million Europeans who suffer from continence health problems but also the larger economic impact for society.

Incontinence costs European society
over 40 million euros per year.

Cost of incontinence in Europe

In collaboration with the EAU’s Urology Week, some of the findings by the Urge to Act campaign were shared, including the alarming number that incontinence costs European society over 40 million euros per year. Without action, this number is expected to increase, furthering the economic and environmental burden of incontinence.

The manifesto calls for swift and strong policy action to tangibly improve continence care in Europe. By identifying 10 key points, it advocates for a systemic response to incontinence care, calling for equitable access to facilities and care, better patient education outreach and funding for the research of healthy and sustainable solutions. The manifesto is a huge step forward in patient-centric solutions in continence health.

Continence health is driven by patients

The patient voice is a key driver in shaping the future of continence care. The risk of continence problems often correlates with conditions that develop or intensify as people age; as Europe ages, that number is only expected to rise.

Patient advocacy groups and dedicated patient resources like the European Association of Urology’s Patient Office continue to amplify the patient voice and drive change through collaboration, empowerment and action. The Urge to Act campaign is a much-needed step in growing the movement towards patient-centric care.

Learn more about EU Continence Health Summit:
For Urology Week 2023:

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