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Dispose with Dignity Campaign Launches to Address Male Urinary Incontinence Taboo

Dispose with Dignity Campaign Launches to Address Male Urinary Incontinence Taboo
20 February 2023 | Updated 22 February 2023

Prostate Cancer UK and phs Group are urging the government to make legislative changes and ensure male toilets provide male incontinence bins.

A report commissioned by washroom specialists phs Group and charity Prostate Cancer UK reveals that more than half (51 per cent) of the men surveyed, of all ages, have experienced symptoms associated with urinary incontinence, leaving nearly eight in 10 men anxious to leave the house.  For the over 475,000 men living with or after prostate cancer in the UK, many will experience urinary incontinence as a side effect of treatment for the disease.

The new results also show that one in five men experience symptoms as early as 18-25 years of age, contradicting the assumption that the condition is only experienced by older adults.  


Washroom Facilities For Men Not Adequate


These men experience additional challenges when using public washroom facilities, as over a third of men (34 per cent) had found it hard to locate a hygiene bin in a public toilet to throw away used incontinence pants and pads. Nearly eight in 10 men (78 per cent) feel anxious about leaving home due to a lack of facilities.

As a result, men are resorting to desperate strategies to overcome the near certainty that they will be unable to find somewhere appropriate to throw away used products after leaving home. These include taking a bag out with them that they can empty when back home, asking their partner to keep them in their handbag or wearing the pads longer than advised, which can cause further health risks.

A quarter acknowledged that they have resorted to flushing used incontinence products in the toilet. 


 “The anxiety around going out and the stress of not being able to dispose of pads, or fearing smelling of urine, turned me into a kind of hermit."

– Steve Baughan



Steve’s Story – Isolated Because of a Lack of Washroom Facilities


Fifty-two-year-old engineer, Steve Baughan, from Gillingham in Kent became incontinent after undergoing a radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer: “The anxiety around going out and the stress of not being able to dispose of pads, or fearing smelling of urine, turned me into a kind of hermit. The isolation and the experience affected me mentally. I would often burst into tears in the evenings. The anxiety related to the incontinence was tearing me apart.

“The lack of facilities available for me to change my incontinence pads in public added to the pressure I was already under, so I just didn’t go out.  Thankfully I am fine now as I made a steady recovery from incontinence, and was given great support by Prostate Cancer UK, but I believe it’s up to businesses and organisations to step up to support men like me.”


Boys Need Bins Campaign


A new, dedicated male incontinence bin has been designed by phs Group and Prostate Cancer UK, and several companies have already pledged to provide them to their customers and staff. These include Moto service stations; the first of phs’ customers to sign up to receive the bins.

Prostate Cancer UK is also working in collaboration with the APPG for Bladder and Bowel Continence Care to support their “Boys Need Bins” national initiative, in conjunction with Bladder Health UK, British Toilet Association, International Longevity Centre, Men’s Health Forum, Tackle Prostate Cancer and the Truckers Consortium.  

The campaign aims to make a legislative change, calling for a dedicated incontinence bin in male toilets to give men the dignity of easy, hygienic and discreet disposal of incontinence pants and pads, stoma bags, wipes and other personal care products. 

Picture: a photograph of a washroom with a sink, toilet and mirror. Image Credit: Pexels

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 20 February 2023


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