Guys. We need to talk.


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.

15 Comments

  1. I genuinely had no idea this was a male issue too – so well done for spreading awareness. It’s so important. Had no idea men should be doing pelvic floor exercises too!

  2. I think this is great that men talk about it too – health issues that is. I find my husband changing the subject as soon as I mention the word doctor, or any health issues I think he has (which to him doesn’t exist). I wish he were more open about it, without me having to nag him 🙁

  3. 22 June 2017
    Reply

    I do find that women are just as hesitant to talk about issues like bladder weakness, but they do tend to share with close friends and family, more so if they know someone else has it too. Overall it does seem to be a taboo subject. Who wants to admit it?
    Men can be very hush hush about anything to do with personal health. Maybe it is the feeling that it isn’t masculine enough to admit these things. Which is saddening. Would be nice if we didn’t have such stigma’s attached to such things. More talking, more sharing, more understanding is needed.

  4. 22 June 2017
    Reply

    I think this is such a great and important campaign and we definitely need to talk more on this to break the taboo – for both men and women!

  5. 22 June 2017
    Reply

    It’s a very tricky subject to approach, and I agree that it seems easier for women to discuss continence (I’ve only ever seen continence products aimed at women). I think that we need to encourage more health discussions in general between everyone!

  6. 22 June 2017
    Reply

    Wow I hold my hands up and admit that I had no clue either! There is so much about female incontinence but I have never heard it with regards to males! Good on you for raising awareness!

  7. 22 June 2017
    Reply

    I too had no idea men could have this too. It just shows that it doesn’t get talked about! It’s great that your supporting a campaign to raise awareness 🙂 x

  8. 22 June 2017
    Reply

    Thank you for this very interesting article. It is a shame that most of the people don’t know that.

  9. 23 June 2017
    Reply

    I had no idea about bladder problems men can experience. Well done for raising the awareness!

  10. 23 June 2017
    Reply

    Well done for creating awareness. I didn’t know about this and clearly it should be known.

  11. 24 June 2017
    Reply

    I never really thought that this is a male issue too. Hopefully this will help raise awareness of a difficult topic

  12. 24 June 2017
    Reply

    I have had family members who have suffered from this and they have had underlying health issues related to it. It’s great that awareness is being raised so others can understand what might be going on.

  13. 24 June 2017
    Reply

    A great campaign to support. Men defo don’t talk as much as women about their health problems

  14. Great that you are raising awareness of this to support the many men and women affected by this. I think women are more encouraged to think about it (having had ‘the talk’ with midwives and health visitors after each birth about the need for pelvic floor exercises…)

  15. 26 June 2017
    Reply

    Never knew hat it could affect Somen, so extremely pleased with this post.

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