Clinical update

Continence

Continence is the ability to voluntarily control emptying the bladder and bowels effectively, in a socially acceptable and hygienic way.

Essential facts

Continence is the ability to voluntarily control emptying the bladder and bowels effectively, in a socially acceptable and hygienic way. According to NHS England, more than 14 million adults in the UK have bladder problems, while 6.5 million have bowel control issues. About 900,000 children and young people have difficulties. A normal bladder empties four to seven times each day and can hold up to a pint of urine.

New guidance published by NHS England is aimed at improving the care of children and adults with continence issues, bringing together the most up-to-date evidence-based resources and research to support best practice. The framework includes assessment, diagnosis and treatment aimed at recovery where possible.

Picture credit: SPL

Common forms of long-term bladder problems include stress incontinence, when a person lets out urine when they cough, sneeze, laugh or exercise. Urge incontinence is an involuntary

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