• Germany edition
 
Incontinence is 'secret widespread ailment'
Photo: DPA

Incontinence is 'secret widespread ailment'

Published: 10 Nov 2012 10:00 GMT+01:00
Updated: 10 Nov 2012 10:00 GMT+01:00

Nine million, or one in ten Germans, are unable to control fecal or urinal defecation. Yet despite the high numbers of people affected, it remains a taboo subject in society. Many suffer from the ailment from birth, or following an operation, or due to the effects of age, said experts as they met for a conference on Friday.

“The subject has negative connotations. Nobody likes to admit: 'I wet my pants,'” said Klaus-Peter Jünemann, head of the German Continence Society at the meeting of around 1000 medical professionals in Würzburg, Bavaria, who gathered to discuss diagnosis and treatment methods.

Around a quarter of women and one in ten men over the age of 60 suffer from a lack of bladder control, but despite its reputation as an ailment associated with old age, incontinence can also affect young people and children.

“Only ten percent of those affected are adequately treated. And that's a big problem,” said Jünemann, who called for the wall of silence surrounding incontinence to be broken down, not just by those affected, who are often embarrassed, but also by the medical establishment.

“Incontinence is also trivialised by doctors” said Ursla Peschers, Chief Physician at the gynecology unit at the Munich-Bogenhausen surgical hospital.

“If those affected overcome [their embarrassment] and succeed in talking about their problems, doctors should at least know the right contact places [to refer them to],” said Christoph-Thomas Germer, director of a surgical clinic at the University clinic in Würzburg.

People suffering from incontinence must find the courage to seek information from competent advice centres and not carry the problem around with them for years in secret, said the Continence Society. If left alone, urinal incontinence can lead to difficult psychological and social complications such as depression, anxiety or social isolation.

DPA/The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

18:38 November 10, 2012 by Englishted
Verbal fecal incontinence has been a overlooked problem in the Bundestag for as long as I can remember.
19:35 November 10, 2012 by realist1961
i've come close to wetting my pants while looking for money to pay for the toilet
22:16 November 10, 2012 by McM
I think the posters are just taking the p..s outer the readers on this issue.(sorry couldn't resist)

Sadly it is a very serious problem having witnessed a close relative go through this in old age. Luckily she had a great sense of humor and often had us in fits of laughter with stories of emergencies. Little Britton also comes to mind.
02:00 November 11, 2012 by Steve1949
Maybe that's why you see so many men taking a leak on trees, bushes and on the sides of buildings in Germany. Just like dogs.
15:50 November 16, 2012 by DiaperDynamo
It really is beginning to become more acceptable. Its a common medical condition that many people suffer from and deal with.

If you or a loved one has recently become incontinent check out www.wearing-adult-diapers.com for reviews on adult diapers and other incontinence products.
Today's headlines
Lufthansa pilot strike spills into second day
Photo: DPA

Lufthansa pilot strike spills into second day

In the second day of their strike, Lufthansa pilots have, as promised, extended their industrial action to include long-haul international flights until the end of Tuesday. READ  

Merkel tells allies to pay Ukraine's gas debts
Chancellor Angela Merkel in Bratislava, Slovakia, on Monday. Photo: DPA

Merkel tells allies to pay Ukraine's gas debts

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday called on Ukraine's allies to help the war-scarred nation pay off its gas debts to Russia, amid concern over gas supplies this winter. READ  

Steinmeier wants epidemic task force
Frank-Walter Steinmeier speaks at the World Health Summit in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Steinmeier wants epidemic task force

At the World Health Summit in Berlin, the Ebola crisis took centre stage at talks meant to create plans for how to handle future outbreaks. READ  

Nazi-stolen painting put on display, sort of
The Wiesbaden Museum in Hessen. Photo: DPA

Nazi-stolen painting put on display, sort of

The Wiesbaden Museum was once a collection house for art stolen from Jewish owners by the Nazi. With one painting, they hope to right at least one wrong while bringing awareness to its ongoing restitution work. READ  

JobTalk Germany
When should interns demand to get paid?

When should interns demand to get paid?

After a woman was denied pay for working at a supermarket as an 'intern' for eight months with no wages, The Local looks at the warning signs for abusive internships. READ  

Single parents, common law families on rise
Photo: DPA

Single parents, common law families on rise

The German family structure is changing, with nearly a third of every family no longer living in the "classic model" and big differences in what family looks like in the former East and West, statistics agency Destatis announced on Monday. READ  

Four arrested in raids against Isis
Photo: DPA

Four arrested in raids against Isis

Police raided 15 homes across Germany over the weekend and arrested four suspected supporters of the Islamic State (Isis). They are alleged to have smuggled a teenager and thousands of winter military clothes to the terrorist group's frontlines. READ  

Munich Refugee Crisis
'There's no room but we have nowhere else to go'
Hassan, pictured outside the Bayernkaserne with two of his children, arrived in Munich from Syria. Photo: Mariane Schroeder

'There's no room but we have nowhere else to go'

Around 300 refugees are arriving in Munich each day, but accommodation centres are full. With authorities struggling for answers, The Local meets those at the sharp end of the crisis. READ  

Train Strike
Buses up prices, football fans brawl, trains return
Photo: DPA

Buses up prices, football fans brawl, trains return

UPDATE: Deutsche Bahn trains are chugging along again after a 50-hour train strike cost the service "tens of millions" and brought travel headaches across the country, leaving millions of passengers struggling for transportation over the weekend as well as at least one mass brawl in its tracks. READ  

Foreigner toll to hit motorways only
Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt. Photo: DPA

Foreigner toll to hit motorways only

Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt plans to limit his road toll for foreigners initially to motorways only, Spiegel reported on Sunday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: Facebook
Society
German motorcycle gang joins Isis fight
Photo: DPA
Politics
UKIP ‘seeks EU pact’ with German satirical party
Photo: DPA
Travel
This is the man who has stopped Germany's trains
Photo: Shutterstock
Business & Money
Expats: Should I stay or should I go?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: World's biggest erotic fair opens in Berlin
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Photo: Shutterstock
Business & Money
Which expat foods do you miss the most?
Sponsored Article
International School on the Rhine: a legacy
Photo: Shutterstock
Business & Money
How to get hired at a Berlin startup
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The ten richest people in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,464
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd