A surprisingly common problem

If you have incontinence, you're not alone. Incontinence is much more common than many people think. And it's not just a problem for older people: young people are affected as well.

A recent Canadian study, the Canadian Urinary Bladder Survey, estimated that the rates of incontinence in Canada are approximately:

  • 10% to 16% for people 18 to 40 years of age
  • 16% to 33% for people 41 to 64 years of age
  • 30% to 55% for people 65 years of age and older

Incontinence is more common in women than in men (the lower numbers of these ranges are the rates in men, and the higher numbers are the rates in women).

Reaching out for help: your first step

There are many sources of help for incontinence. Your first stop should be your doctor, who can diagnose the problem and suggest a treatment plan to help manage your incontinence. See the Incontinence channel to learn more about your treatment options.

Did you know that only 26% of Canadians with bladder problems seek a doctor's help? Don't let embarrassment get in your way! Speak to your doctor about what can be done to manage your incontinence.

Your support network

Your support network is the group of people who can help you cope with incontinence by offering medical care, coping tips, encouragement, and understanding. Your doctor and other healthcare professionals, such as nurses and pharmacists, are a valuable part of your support network.

But there are also other members of this "team." You can also get valuable help and support from others with incontinence. By joining an online or in-person support group, you can connect with others who can share their experience and coping tips, and offer a sympathetic ear. Find an incontinence support group near you.

Family and friends can also form part of your support network. You may feel uncomfortable talking about incontinence with family and friends. But trying to hide your incontinence can cause problems too. You may find yourself shying away from social situations and becoming more isolated. So give it a try: talk to at least one friend or family member you trust today, and watch your support network grow.