Continence Week

Posted on: 24/06/2021

World Continence Week (WCW) is a health campaign run by the World Federation for Incontinence and Pelvic Problems (WFIPP) to raise awareness of incontinence related issues.

This year it takes place from the 21st – 27th June and is talking about how urinary incontinence  impacts many lives. It encourages those living with these problems to seek help so they no longer have to suffer in silence.

With around 14 million people in the UK suffering with some form of bladder condition and 6.5 million with a bowel condition, this is a health concern for so many, who often suffer in silence.

Did you know that 1 in 8 of us live with an overactive bladder? Based on the UK population, that’s around 8.5 million people.

Around 61% of men the UK will experience lower urinary tract symptoms and around 34% of women are living with urinary incontinence.

What is urinary incontinence?

Incontinence describes any accidental or involuntary loss of:

  • urine from the bladder – known as urinary incontinence
  • faeces or wind from the bowel – known as faecal incontinence

Incontinence can range in severity from a small leak to complete loss of bladder or bowel control.

There are several types of urinary incontinence, including:

  • stress incontinence – when urine leaks out at times when your bladder is under pressure; for example, when you cough or laugh
  • urge incontinence – when urine leaks as you feel a sudden, intense urge to pee, or soon afterwards
  • overflow incontinence (chronic urinary retention) – when you're unable to fully empty your bladder, which causes frequent leaking
  • total incontinence – when your bladder cannot store any urine at all, which causes you to pass urine constantly or have frequent leaking

It's also possible to have a mixture of both stress and urge urinary incontinence.

Who is at risk of developing incontinence?

Incontinence affects women, men and children of all ages, physical ability and background. There are however some health conditions and life events that can put you at an increased risk of developing either urinary or faecal incontinence.

Factors that increase your risk of developing urinary incontinence include:

  • Gender – Women are more likely to have stress incontinence. Pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and normal female anatomy account for this difference. However, men who have prostate gland problems are at increased risk of urge and overflow incontinence.
  • Age – As you get older, the muscles in your bladder and urethra lose some of their strength. Changes with age reduce how much your bladder can hold and increase the chances of involuntary urine release.
  • Being overweight – Extra weight increases pressure on your bladder and surrounding muscles, which weakens them and allows urine to leak out when you cough or sneeze.
  • Smoking – Tobacco use may increase your risk of urinary incontinence.
  • Family history – If a close family member has urinary incontinence, especially urge incontinence, your risk of developing the condition is higher.
  • Some diseases – Neurological disease or diabetes may increase your risk of incontinence.

What are the symptoms of incontinence?

The following are some of the common symptoms people with incontinence experience:

  • leaking urine when coughing, sneezing, laughing or exercising
  • leaking urine before getting to the toilet
  • passing urine frequently
  • urgent need to pass urine
  • difficulty starting to pass urine
  • wetting the bed when asleep
  • a feeling that the bladder doesn’t empty completely


Complications of chronic urinary incontinence include:

  • Skin problems – Rashes, skin infections and sores can develop from constantly wet skin.
  • Urinary tract infections – Incontinence increases your risk of repeated urinary tract infections.
  • Impacts on your personal life – Urinary incontinence can affect your social, work and personal relationships.

How can Progress Lifeline help people living with incontinence?

At Progress Lifeline, we provide a variety of solutions that help people live safely and independently in their home. If you or a loved one are living with incontinence, the enuresis sensor is very beneficial.

The enuresis sensor detects involuntary urination or incontinence and raises an alert if moisture is detected. It reduces the need for intrusive and undignified checks by carers and can enable appropriate support to be provided quickly, reducing discomfort to individuals.

To find out more about the enuresis sensor and its benefits, click here.