Abrams P, Cardozo L, Fall M The standardisation of terminology in lower urinary tract function: report from the standardisation sub-committee of the International Continence Society. Urology. 2003; 61:(2)37-49

Baker P. A European men's health strategy: here at last. Trends Urol Mens Health. 2019; 10:(1)21-24

Banks P, Baker P. Man and primary care: improving access and outcomes. Trends Urol Mens Health. 2013; 4:(5)39-41

Buckley BS, Lapitan MCM. Prevalence of urinary incontinence in men, women and children – current evidence: findings of the Fourth International Consultation on Incontinence. Urology. 2010; 76:(2)265-270

Cottenden A, Fader M, Beeckman D Management of incontinence using continence products, 6th edn. In: Abrams P, Cardozo L, Wagg A, Wein A (eds). Bristol: International Continence Society; 2017

D'Ancona C, Haylen B, Oelke M The International Continence Society (ICS) report on the terminology for adult male lower urinary tract and pelvic floor symptoms and dysfunction. Neurourol Urodyn. 2019; 38:(2)433-477

Diaz DC, Robinson D, Bosch R, Constantini E Initial assessment of urinary incontinence in adult male and female patients, 6th edn. In: Abrams P, Cardozo L, Wagg A, Wein A (eds). Bristol: International Continence Society; 2017

Esparza AO, Tomas MAC, Pina-Roche F. Experiences of women and men living with urinary incontinence: a phenomenological study. Appl Nurs Res. 2018; 40:68-75

Haylen BT, de Ridder D, Freeman RM An International Urogynecological Association (IUGA)/International Continence Society (ICS) joint report on the terminology for female pelvic floor dysfunction. Int Urogynecol J. 2010; 21:(1)5-26

Helfand BT, Smith AR, Lai HH Prevalence and characteristics of urinary incontinence in a treatment seeking male prospective cohort: results from the LURN study. J Urol. 2018; 200:(2)397-404

Raising the profile of men's health. Lancet. 2019; 394:(10211)

Macaulay M, Broadbridge J, Gage H A trial of devices for urinary incontinence after treatment for prostate cancer. BJU Int. 2015; 116:(3)432-442

Milsom I. The prevalence of urinary incontinence. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2000; 79:(12)1056-1059

Murphy C, de Laine C, Macaulay M, Fader M. Development and randomized controlled trial of a continence product patient decision aid for men postradical prostatectomy. J Clin Nurs. 2020; 29:(13-14)2251-2259

NHS England. Monitoring equality and health inequalities: a position paper. 2015. (accessed 20 April 2021)

NHS England. Excellence in continence care: practical guidance for commissioners and leaders in health and social care. 2018. (accessed 20 April 2021)

NHS England. NHS Long Term Plan. 2019. (accessed 20 April 2021)

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Lower urinary tract symptoms in men: management. 2015. (accessed 20 April 2021)

Nursing Times. Best practice: identifying and managing male incontinence problems. (accessed 20 April 2021)

Queen's Nursing Institute. Men's health: nurse-led projects in the community. 2018. (accessed 20 April 2021)

Shamliyan TA, Wyman JF, Ping R, Wilt TJ, Kane RL. Male urinary incontinence: prevalence, risk factors, and preventive interventions. Rev Urol. 2009; 11:(3)145-165

United Kingdom Continence Society. Minimum standards for continence care in the United Kingdom. 2014. (accessed 20 April 2021)

Yates A. Incontinence and associated complications-is it avoidable?. Nurse Prescrib. 2017; 15:(6)288-289

Addressing the gender gap in urinary continence care

02 May 2021
Volume 26 · Issue 5


Urinary incontinence is a common condition that affects both men and women, and with profoundly negative effects. Prevalence figures do show that it is more common in younger women than men, but as people age the difference decreases, with research identifying that one in three older men have continence issues. However, even with this increase, there is little direct best practice guidance on addressing male urinary incontinence compared to that for women. Professionals seem to be unaware that men have known existing barriers to accessing health care and this would be especially true of such an embarrassing condition. There seems to be a lack of education in identifying symptoms and assessing and little thought to appropriate management if required. This can also be true of manufacturers that provide continence management equipment. This article will look at some of these themes and highlight the gender gaps and give guidance on how professionals may address these.

Urinary incontinence is a common condition that can affect both women and men of all ages, and it can have profoundly negative effects on quality of life (Nursing Times, 2019). Meeting the required needs of both male and female patients can be challenging, especially as incontinence is predominantly considered a female problem, with a ratio of nearly 2:1 female sufferers (approximately 55% cases are among females) (Helfand et al, 2018). This mindset has led to health inequalities and disparity in continence services provided for men with incontinence, with most male continence needs being unmet or neglected (Stenzelius, 2005; Nursing Times, 2019). The World Health Organization (WHO) defined health inequalities as differences in health status or in the distribution of health determinants among different population groups (NHS England, 2015). Health professionals are aware that men access healthcare less than women, with detrimental consequences (Lancet, 2019), and this is no different within continence care. Health professionals should not assume that guidance and clinical policies are adequate for addressing male incontinence, and this has been identified by the WHO, which now has a strategy to make health systems ‘gender responsive’ (Baker, 2019).

Register now to continue reading

Thank you for visiting Community Nursing and reading some of our peer-reviewed resources for district and community nurses. To read more, please register today. You’ll enjoy the following great benefits:

What's included

  • Limited access to clinical or professional articles

  • New content and clinical newsletter updates each month