Incontinence is a prevalent health condition that is rarely discussed as people living with the condition are often embarrassed to discuss it with their healthcare providers; for many it is a medical taboo, not to be spoken aloud.
The continence care community generally agrees that the prevalence of incontinence in Canada is about the same as in the United States – about 10% of the population. That means approximately 3.5 million Canadians experience some form of incontinence. Even though incontinence is not life-threatening or overly disabling per se2, it has a major impact upon the quality-of-life for those affected – physical, social, mental, and emotional. The care of incontinence in the community is often funded out-of-pocket which can be a burden on seniors, in particular, on low, fixed incomes. With elders, family caregiving is often strained resulting in institutionalization and the accompanying loss of independence.
The total costs to Canada of both Urinary Incontinence and Fecal Incontinence would total about $4 billion annually. Considering that continence does not yet have a high profile in Canada, it is important that Canadians are given accurate information on the true burden of the condition, the treatment options available, as well as health policy and funding issues.