Some Statistics about Urinary and Faecal Incontinence

  • Bladder problems affect more than 200m people worldwide according to the World Health Organization.
    (World Health Organization Calls First International Consultation on Incontinence. Press Release WHO/49, 1 July 1998.)
  • The NHS estimates that between 3 and 6 million people in the UK have some degree of urinary incontinence.
    (Source: Irwin, D., Milsom, I. et al. Impact of overactive bladder symptoms on employment, social inteactions and emotional wellbeing in six European countries. British Journal of Urology International: 2005; 97, 96-100)
  • Studies suggest that in the UK "major faecal incontinence" affects 1.4% of the general population over 40 years old and constipation affects between 3% and 15% of the population.
    (Perry, S. et al. Prevalence of faecal incontinence in adults aged 40 years or more living in the community. Gut 2002; 50: 480-484)
  • In 2001 an English study about prevalence of faecal incontinence in adults over 40 years old concluded that "faecal incontinence is a common symptom in men as well in women", particularly in older people.
    (Denis, L. et al. Continence Promotion: Prevention, Education and Organisation. Abrams, et al (eds) Third International Consultation on Incontinence 2004: Monaco; vol 1, p38.)
  • In the UK, 24% of older people are affected by urinary incontinence. Of those older people in institutional care, 30-60% are affected by urinary incontinence, and 25% by bowel incontinence.
    (Hunskaar, S., Lose, et al. (2003) Prevalence of Stress Urinary Incontinence in Women in Four European Countries, 2002. ICS: UK)
  • A study in 2002 found that 32% of women in the UK, 34% in Germany, 32% in France and 15% in Spain had symptoms of urinary incontinence in the previous 30 days.
    (Hunskaar, S., Lose, et al. (2003) Prevalence of Stress Urinary Incontinence in Women in Four European Countries, 2002. ICS: UK)
  • Women are more likely to suffer from stress urinary incontinence than men. That's because of the effects of childbirth and the menopause.
  • Men, on the other hand, are more likely to have urinary retention due to prostate gland enlargement as they age.
  • In 2002 the American-based International Federation for Gastrointestinal Disorders surveyed people who live with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and found that 25% of respondents with IBS reported loss of bowel control.
    (International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. IBS in the Real World. IBS Research Findings by IFFGD. August 2002)
  • In 2004 an American survey (by the National Association for Continence) reported that women wait 6.5 years and men 4.2 years after beginning to experience bladder control problems before seeing a healthcare professional.
  • Women are 5 times more likely to develop urinary incontinence then men.
  • Half the female population will experience urinary incontinence at some time in their lives.
  • Only one if five women affected seek help for incontinence issues.
  • 6% of women between 15 to 44 experience continence issues.
  • Over 10% of men over 65 have urinary incontinence to some degree.