Prof. Christopher Chapple
Secretary General, European Association of Urology (EAU)
Although urinary incontinence (UI) is a common issue, it is still very much a taboo subject. This has been revealed by a new survey commissioned by the European Association of Urology (EAU) for its annual Urology Week.
UI, the inability to hold your urge to urinate, is a treatable condition yet only a third of the people who experience some loss of urine seek help from a professional, a general practitioner or a medical specialist.
Around 35% of this group gives as reason that they expect that UI will cure by itself. Another 27% are not comfortable talking about it with a professional. Notably, more women than men feel uncomfortable talking about it.
The survey examined the knowledge of and experience with UI of 3,029 men and women over the age of 18 in the United Kingdom (UK), France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.
The UK recorded the highest number of people lacking awareness, with 47% not knowing about treatment possibilities.
One of the reasons for the taboo may be the misconception that surrounds the incidence of UI. UI is a common condition, affecting 10% to 20% of people across Europe according to the European Institute of Women’s Health. However, only 8% of the respondents indicated the right incidence rate.
Experiences with UI differed widely amongst the participating countries and between men and women. Interestingly, 27% of the 18-24-year-old respondents in the UK experience some loss of urine either once a week or more often. Yet 28% of the Brits in this age category don’t know what UI is.
Although most of the respondents think that UI can be treated depending on the cause, a quarter still feel that you just have to accept it. The UK recorded the highest number of people lacking awareness, with 47% not knowing about treatment possibilities.
Don’t accept UI
The truth, however, is that in most cases UI can be treated or cured with various treatment options. Professor Christopher Chapple, Secretary General of the EAU, clarifies: “Many people suffer from some degree of incontinence. It is important that the fact something can be done about it in most cases is more widely disseminated amongst the population. People inflicted with incontinence should not take it for granted but seek appropriate specialist advice instead, in particular from a urologist.”