I’m all for busting myths about health. The more informed we are about health issues, the greater our chances of addressing problems if they come along.

It’s World Continence Week (18 – 24 June) this week. As part of an awareness initiative from Essity and the Hygiene Matters campaign, I was asked to consider the following statement:

Urine leakage is just an inevitable part of getting older.

Fair enough, I thought. Surely it’s just something that come with getting older? Right? Wrong!

Urine leakage can be experienced by any man, at any age and can sometimes indicate an underlying health issue.

This came as a bit of a sobering surprise to me. I guess like most of us, I associated incontinence as being an older person’s problem. I never thought that it could happen to a younger fella.

I suppose the fact that us blokes sometimes find it difficult to talk about health issues means that such topics are buried away without proper consideration. After all, who would want to have to tell their mates that they are suffering from incontinence. There’s that stigma again. Men and health.

Women don’t have seem to have that problem so much. They seem able to discuss, in detail, their bodies and suchlike with friends without batting an eyelid. I wonder if they’re more brave. Or less uptight. Either way, I think their support network for health issues is so strong because of the open discussion.

I’ve written before about men & health. We need more discussion, though. The bravest bloke will be the first one to talk about any health issues with his friends. To set a precedent. To let his mates know that this topic is not out of bounds. I’ve talk openly about my vasectomy. The result of that was that some people have spoken to me about their own experiences, and their own concerns too. I’m not saying it was the easiest conversation in the world to begin but, once the stupid idea that this was a taboo subject was out of the way, it was pretty open and comfortable.

Campaigns like Hygiene Matters are extremely important in educating people about health related issues. Like that fact I mentioned about urine leakage happening to younger guys. The more you learn, the better prepared you are for any issues that come your way. And the better informed you are in case some more myths throw themselves at you!

Here, for example, are five facts that may surprise you:

It’s time to bust some myths, and be more open about these things. If you’re bottling things up because of stigma, because of a worry of what other blokes may think, then just stop. I, for one, pledge to always be willing to listen when a fellow fella wants to open up about health worries. And I reckon that you’re a decent enough bloke to make the same pledge.

Learn more about continence issues at Hygiene Matters. World Continence Week runs from 18th to 24th June 2017.
Amazing photos above are by Nik Shuliahin and Clem Onojeghuo at Unsplash.