Between 3-6 million people in the UK suffer from urinary incontinence. But whilst leaks have traditionally been seen by society as a women's issue, men can leak too (Prostate Cancer UK, 2023a). Recent figures reveal that 1 in 25 men aged over 40 will experience some form of urinary leakage every year in the UK and that 1 in 20 UK men aged 60 and over will experience bowel incontinence (Prostate Cancer UK, 2023b). Despite this prevalence, men’s lives are being limited by the taboo which surrounds incontinence (Prostate Cancer UK, 2023c).  

1 in 8 men will get prostate cancer, and some men experience urinary and bowel problems as a side effect of their treatment. A lack of public understanding of the condition, the stigma surrounding incontinence and the lack of facilities for men are damaging men’s physical and mental health (Prostate Cancer UK, 2023c).  

New research shows that following treatment for prostate cancer, 66% of men (two thirds) are worried about becoming incontinent (phs Group[a]). As many as 57% of men who have a radical prostatectomy may experience urinary incontinence (Hislop Lennie et al, 2020). 

A national campaign has started to encourage conversations to break the stigma and to tackle the taboo surrounding male incontinence and support the large number of men who suffer in silence.   

In November last year I was invited to attend an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) - Bladder and Bowel Continence Care meeting in the Houses of Parliament. The APPG for Bladder and Bowel Continence Care’s aims are to break the taboo by raising awareness of bladder and bowel continence for adults and children and to promote cost effective funding for assessment, treatment and appropriate product provision.  

One of the speakers was Jonathan Hall, an advertising executive from Hampshire who is incontinent as a result of treatment for prostate cancer. He highlighted the lack of bins in male toilets to dispose of incontinence pads. Stories like this have been the catalyst for the ‘male incontinence – dispose with dignity’ campaigning for legislation for male hygiene bins to be provided in male toilets, addressing the needs of men who are incontinent and men who wear stomas. 
Bladder & Bowel UK and Initial Washroom Hygiene have partnered together for ‘Stalls for All’, campaigning for public washrooms in men’s toilets to have adequate and hygienic sanitary disposal in stalls to ensure inclusivity for all. They state: 
  • New research reveals the challenges male incontinence sufferers face, with 50% afraid to leave their homes 
  • Insufficient public washroom facilities preventing male incontinence sufferers from living a normal life 
  • New partnership between Initial Washroom Hygiene and Bladder & Bowel UK aims to confront the taboo surrounding incontinence 
  • Organisations call on UK Government to introduce first of its kind legislation to make sanitary bins in male public washrooms mandatory (Bladder & Bowel UK, 2022). 
They also highlight research revealing that fewer than a fifth (17%) of men have facilities in their place of work to dispose of sanitary waste in male washrooms, demonstrating a severe lack of support from businesses (Bladder & Bowel UK, 2022). 

The World Cup-winning England rugby player Lewis Moody has also issued a taboo-breaking demand for sanitary disposal bins to become compulsory in male public bathrooms to cater for men with incontinence. In a recent article, he tells of his experiences of bowel incontinence as a result of ulcerative colitis and how he kept the condition secret from teammates. He would plan journeys around toilet stops, moved house to be closer to the training ground, and would sometimes have to dash off mid-session (The Guardian, 2022).  

Prostate Cancer UK and phs Group have partnered together to promote this message. At phs, they believe in equality and inclusion in the washroom. As the leading hygiene services provider in the UK, Ireland, and Spain, they feel they have the responsibility to encourage lasting change (phs Group[a]). 
They have prepared a toolkit to help fight incontinence stigma in the workplace, and enabling you to share your involvement in creating an inclusive washroom environment for all. From case studies to media resources, example blog copy and a prostate cancer risk checker, all available to download for guidance on how to spread the word and raise awareness on male incontinence (phs Group[b]). 

One case study is Errol. Errol Mckellar is 65 and based in Dunmow, Essex- originally from Brent in North London. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2010 and continues to experience urinary incontinence as a result. Errol says, ‘I got the all-clear for prostate cancer in 2017, but I still have to live with the side effects and issues, although things are not as bad now as they were’. ‘The incontinence is an interesting one, and it can really affect you and your confidence and how you behave, how it affects your family and your partner. It’s trying to always know where your nearest toilet is. Adjusting is hard work, but you do get there. Initially it was very difficult. I’m so thankful for this campaign from Prostate Cancer UK and phs Group. I feel at last someone is taking this situation seriously.’ 

In 2018, Durham County Cricket Club became the first sports venue in the UK to install sanitary bins for men (BBC, 2018). 

Garic, a leading sustainable solutions provider to the construction industry and major infrastructure projects across the UK, have partnered with phs Group in helping men live well with male incontinence solution (phs Group[c]).   

Moto have also partnered phs Group and are proud to be the first Motorway Services Agency to have the new phs male incontinence bins. As the largest UK Motorway Services Operator, Moto are continuing their mission to transform the UK’s rest stop experience and help customers feel as comfortable as possible, whatever their circumstances (phs Group[d]).   

Hopefully, by more people talking about this issue there will be increased public awareness, helping to diminish the stigma surrounding incontinence in men. Improved legislation will help the campaign leading to an ever increasing number of bins for boys available in public toilets.  

If you would like to write to your MP and support the campaign, then follow the link here: 
Clare Morris is Managing Editor – UCCT and Clinical Manager Wound Care People.  


BBC (2018) Durham Cricket Club installs male sanitary bins. Available online:  

Bladder & Bowel UK (2022) New campaign to deliver ‘washroom dignity’ for men. Available online:  

Hislop Lennie K, Clancy B, Westbury J, et al (2020) Urinary incontinence post radical prostatectomy: what men need to know. J Community Nurs 34(6): 52-57 

Prostate Cancer UK (2023a) Let’s talk about incontinence. Available online:  

Prostate Cancer UK (2023b) Boys need Bins. Available online:  

Prostate Cancer UK (2023c) Tell your MP, Boys need Bins: Help us tackle the male incontinence taboo. Available online:  

phs Group(a). Male incontinence. Available online:  

phs Group(b). Male incontinence toolkit. Available online:   

phs Group(c). Helping men live well with male incontinence solution. Available online:  

phs Group(d). Breaking the male incontinence taboo, creating a safe space behind the cubicle door. Available online:  

The Guardian (2022) England rugby player calls for incontinence pad bins in men’s loos. Available online: