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Nurses win concession after objecting to continence product advertisement

They claimed advert normalised postnatal incontinence and failed to mention treatment 
Advert for a Tena incontinence product

They claimed advert normalised postnatal incontinence and failed to mention treatment

Nurses have persuaded a continence products company to tweak an advertisement they claimed conveyed a false message about incontinence.

Members of three RCN forums took Tena to task because they believed one of its advertisements gave new mothers the impression it was normal to experience incontinence following childbirth. The college's bladder and bowel, midwifery, and womens health forums joined forces to complain to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

Availability of treatment was not acknowledged

In their letter, the nurses said the advert wrongly suggested postnatal incontinence was normal, providing no data to support the claim and with no acknowledgement that there is treatment available.

They claimed advert normalised postnatal incontinence and failed to mention treatment 

Nurses have persuaded a continence products company to tweak an advertisement they claimed conveyed a false message about incontinence.

Members of three RCN forums took Tena to task because they believed one of its advertisements gave new mothers the impression it was normal to experience incontinence following childbirth. The college's bladder and bowel, midwifery, and women’s health forums joined forces to complain to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

Availability of treatment ‘was not acknowledged’

In their letter, the nurses said the advert wrongly suggested postnatal incontinence was normal, ‘providing no data to support the claim and with no acknowledgement that there is treatment available’.

Tena denied its material normalised postnatal incontinence, adding the advert signposted the audience to a website where advice is available.


Amanda Cheesley, professional lead
for long-term conditions at the RCN.
Picture: David Gee

However, it has agreed to revise the wording, which now advises women to seek healthcare advice if they experience regular urinary incontinence.

Incontinence is not inevitable following childbirth

RCN professional lead for long-term conditions Amanda Cheesley, said: ‘Such adverts must do more to provide advice as to where people can get help rather than inaccurately portraying it as an inevitable consequence of childbirth.’

The ASA did not uphold the RCN forums' case, saying: ‘The ad does not explicitly claim incontinence is an inevitable part of childbirth, but used this as an example of someone who is experiencing incontinence, to promote a positive message.

‘We considered that the ad does not break our rules on the grounds the RCN suggested.’

NHS England estimates 34% of women in the UK have urinary incontinence.


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