Together, we can help men get comfortable with incontinence

    An elderly man, whose incontinence is now under control, enjoys drinking coffee.

    Today, we are all used to sharing. We share photos and videos on social media, while annual awareness initiatives like Movember encourage people to share their experiences around different health issues. But even though more people are now speaking up, the issue of male incontinence is still shrouded in silence. To help start the conversation, we have put together some useful tips and a conversation guide for pharmacists to get your customers talking about male incontinence. We have also collected some support information to share. 

    Studies show that 1 in 4 men suffer from some form of incontinence. This can be caused by an enlarged or inflamed prostate (prostatitis), diabetes, diuretic medication or surgery. In fact, 70% (2) of men experience incontinence after prostate surgery, while 40% (3) have trouble controlling their bladder after radiotherapy. But even with all this evidence showing how common male incontinence is, only 4% (4) of men ask for help.

    Treating incontinence takes understanding – not just pads

    At TENA, we have been helping people manage incontinence for over 60 years, so we understand how hard it can be for men to ask for help. But we also understand the risks if they don’t ask – skin health issues, depression, withdrawal, even long-term care. With TENA showing men that incontinence protection has moved on, and initiatives like Movember proving that attitudes around male health issues are changing, hopefully more men will realise that there is a whole world of support out there for them. All they have to do is ask.

    How pharmacists can start the conversation around male incontinence

    1. Take the drama out of the situation 
      It’s common for men to feel ashamed when seeking help for incontinence. So, as a pharmacist, a good first step is to de-dramatize the situation by making incontinence products easy to find. This will also help you identify customers who may need help. You can then approach them with a common, open-ended question. For example: Do you need help with what you are looking for today? Would you prefer to speak in private? 
    2. Provide lifestyle advice 
      TENA studies have shown that men appreciate lifestyle advice that can help improve their situation. So try to find out as much as you can about the customer’s lifestyle by asking questions. For example: Describe a typical day. When do you experience urine leakage the most, e.g. at work, during exercise, eating and drinking? 
    3. Recommend the right products
      With so many incontinence products to choose from, picking the right protection is a problem for a lot of men. Asking the right questions can help you guide the customer to their ideal product. For example: Can you describe the amount of leakage and when it occurs, e.g. a few drops or more/daytime or at night/when you’re more active?

    Support to share with your customers

    1. Based on survey conducted by Essity in 2012, with men over 40 in the US, UK, Germany, Italy,Russiaand Mexico by Essity. Data on file not published. 
    4. Source: 1.EngströmG., Walker-EngströmM.,LööfL.,LeppertJ. Prevalence of three lower urinary tract symptoms in men—a population-based study. Family Practice. February 2003. p 7-10.