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Men’s Health - Is your plumbing in order?

‘Life Without Limits’ - Continence Awareness Week:
2-8 September 2007

Men’s Health - Is your plumbing in order?

The New Zealand Continence Association urges men to check their waterworks

Give yourself a check-up for Father’s Day !

New Zealand men are being urged to check their plumbing is in top condition this week. Almost 60,000 men live with incontinence but many don’t do anything about it with research showing that 30% of men who visit a doctor experience bladder and bowel control problems – but only a third seek help for it.

Of the estimated 600,000 adult New Zealanders affected by incontinence, men are least likely to do anything about it and although it may not be life threatening, incontinence can significantly impact quality of life and may be a sign of larger health problems.

The NZ Continence Assn wants men to use Continence Awareness Week (3rd-8th Sept) as a reason to check their plumbing and start taking continence seriously. Rather than ignore any issues they are being urged to call the Bladder Helpline on 0800 650 659 for information pamphlets on men’s continence issues and a list of free continence services available in their area, visit or to see their doctor.

Jan Zander, CEO of the NZ Continence Association urges men not to ignore any bladder or bowel
symptoms. “At any age, men are not particularly good at visiting their doctor but poor bladder or bowel control should never be dismissed as just a small problem. Incontinence should never be ignored – it deserves careful attention from a health professional. It may be embarrassing, but if you get help it can be treated, more effectively managed and often cured.”

Incontinence in men is largely related to prostate problems (a recent study found that 60% of men are affected by incontinence following surgery for prostate cancer) and medical conditions such as diabetes, obesity, constipation and chronic cough. Any bladder and bowel symptoms should be treated along with the underlying condition. The association is publishing a new booklet specifically for men about to or having undergone prostatectomy.

Incontinence is widespread in New Zealand, but it can be treated, more effectively managed and often cured. Visit or call the National Bladder Helpline on 0800 650 659 for further information.


Key bladder and bowel health statistics

Statistics taken from recent Australian research show that;

- Urinary incontinence affects up to 13% of men and up to 37% of women.

- Faecal (bowel) incontinence affects up to 20% of men and up to 12.9% of women.

- 65% of women and 30% of men sitting in a GP waiting room report some type of urinary incontinence, yet only 31% of these people report having sought help from a health professional.

- Faecal incontinence is one of the three major causes (along with decreased mobility and dementia) for admittance to a residential aged care facility.

- Around 77% of nursing home residents are affected by incontinence.

- Urinary incontinence among males increases with age with up to 40% of men over the age of 85 reporting some level of urinary incontinence.

- Women comprise over 70% of people affected by incontinence, with problems arising primarily after childbirth and menopause.

- 40-60% of people in nursing homes will wet the bed tonight.

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