International research on urinary incontinence shows that the cost of continence care is expected to reach €69.1 billion by 2023, and could rise by 25% by 2030 without intervention. The European Association of Urology and other stakeholders have initiated the Urge to Act campaign to instigate policy change around continence in Europe. A socio-economic report highlights how the economic burden of urinary incontinence is four times higher for women than for men and could increase by 16% when accounting for caregiver costs.
Increasing Economic Impact of Urinary Incontinence Calls for Urgent Action
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Approximately 55-60 million Europeans struggle with continence health issues. Seeing the hefty societal, environmental, and economic impact attributed to urinary incontinence, the European Association of Urology and 22 other stakeholders have initiated an Urge to Act campaign. This initiative aims for a significant change in policies relating to incontinence throughout Europe, launching on November 8 at the first European Continence Health Summit.
At the summit, a socio-economic report presents the burden of urinary incontinence in the European Union (EU) from 2023 to 2030. It reveals that the estimated economic burden was €69.1 billion in 2023, with women bearing the burden 4 times more than men. This cost increases by 16% when accounting for caregiver support. Additionally, while incinerating continence pads cost less than recycling, the latter offers a significantly lower carbon footprint.
The manifesto for policy reform on transforming EU Continence Health is launched in parallel. This manifesto, backed by 23 organisations, calls for policy changes to address the challenges outlined in the report. It makes 10 high-level recommendations to European and national policymakers to recognise patient-centred continence care’s importance and promote a holistic understanding of continence health’s links with healthy ageing, women’s health, and disease areas like cancer, mental health, neurological problems, and other comorbidities such as obesity. It demands increased funding for continence health research.
Professor Philip Van Kerrebroeck, a leading expert in incontinence, states: “Continence issues affect all genders, ages, and socio-economic backgrounds, seriously impacting individuals’ quality of life. Current health systems are not adequately equipped to support continence care. Both EU Member States and non-member European countries tend to overlook continence care, despite its prevalence, serious impacts, and readily available solutions. It’s time to address the continence health challenge Europe faces, improve the health, reduce the expenses, and alleviate the burden on patients, their carers, and society.”
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