• 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
Germany has just ten Ebola beds
Photo: DPA

Germany has just ten Ebola beds

Doctors at high-level infectious disease clinics say that caring for patients with the Ebola virus is much more intensive than they first thought, meaning they can handle fewer cases at once. READ  

Refugee Crisis
Now Berlin turns to tents to house refugees
A refugee protests on the roof of the former Gerhart Hauptmann School in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Now Berlin turns to tents to house refugees

Berlin has turned to huge tents and shipping containers to shelter growing numbers of refugees. With winter approaching, city politicians have called on the federal government for help. READ  

Ludwigshafen explosion kills one, injures 11
An eyewitness captured the moment of the explosion on their phone. Photo: DPA

Ludwigshafen explosion kills one, injures 11

UPDATE: One person has died and at least 11 others are injured after a huge explosion in western Germany on Thursday. READ  

Clueless Merkel forgets the F-word
Merkel suffers from Wortfindungsstörung at the IT summit in Hamburg. Photo: DPA

Clueless Merkel forgets the F-word

Angela Merkel's government is often criticized for its lack of understanding of all things digital and an appearance by the chancellor in Hamburg, which was supposed to change those perceptions, has only made things worse. READ  

Greenpeace finds danger in kids clothes
Photo: DPA

Greenpeace finds danger in kids clothes

Research released on Thursday by environmental group Greenpeace showed that more than half of clothing sold by German discount brands contain chemicals known to be dangerous to health and the environment, with items from Aldi being the worst offenders. READ  

Woman sues for accidental pot raid
Photo: DPA

Woman sues for accidental pot raid

A Bavarian woman is suing police for unlawful search after a reported break-in at her home led authorities to discover 158 cannabis plants in her basement. READ  

Germany lags in permits for non-EU migrants
Photo: DPA

Germany lags in permits for non-EU migrants

Germany gave out fewer residency permits last year per head to non-EU citizens than any other major European economy. READ  

Hamburg volunteers test Ebola vaccine
Hamburg's UKE has helped lead the fight against Ebola. Photo: DPA

Hamburg volunteers test Ebola vaccine

Volunteers have rolled up their sleeves for the first phase of the human trial for an Ebola vaccine at the Hamburg-Eppendorf University Clinic (UKE), it was announced on Wednesday evening. READ  

US adds voice to chorus telling Germany to spend
Jacob Lew and Sigmar Gabriel. Photo: DPA

US adds voice to chorus telling Germany to spend

US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, in a meeting on Wednesday with German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, called on Germany to boost public spending to stimulate stuttering eurozone growth, the Treasury said. READ  

Man leaps with son, 5, from third-floor window
Schönhauser Allee in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Man leaps with son, 5, from third-floor window

A father and his young son are in serious condition after police and firefighters were called to their home in northeast Berlin early on Wednesday morning. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: Huge explosion rocks Ludwigshafen
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
Which high school cliche is your German city?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Storm hits southern Germany
Sponsored Article
An international school unlike any other : School on the Rhine
Photo: Fitzpatrick family
Society
'We still don't know what happened to Matthew'
Photo: Mariana Schroeder
Munich
Special Report: Hope and chaos at Munich's refugee shelters
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Robbers blow up Berlin bank
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/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
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

3,523
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd