Incontinence in the News: Poor Coverage

Jasmine Schmidt Health Guide
  • To keep up with the world of incontinence I often turn to the Google News function. This site allows me to type in any keyword, and the magical world of Google will return any and all news articles mentioning that keyword. It searches everything from press releases to local small-town papers to the likes of Time and the Washington Post.


    Sadly, but not all-together unexpectedly, the keyword "incontinence" rarely yields a plethora of results. Search for keyword "Alzheimer" and the first 16 pages are results just from today's news articles. "Epilepsy" has three pages of today's results. "Breast cancer" has a whopping 59 pages of news articles that came out just today! "Incontinence?" As I'm writing this, there is exactly one page of news articles that have come out today making any mention of the word incontinence.

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    I'm not saying that any of these conditions are more impactful than the others, or deserve more or less press coverage. The comparison is drawn to show that incontinence is truly a hidden condition. It's no wonder the general public knows so little about it and is generally very tactless when the topic does come up. Chances are good that most people have learned very little to nothing about incontinence, other than what they've been exposed to through tasteless jokes about growing old.


    To make matters worse, from my own observations it seems that one of the more common news "sources" with an article pertaining to incontinence is a satirical website out of the UK. This site features made-up news topics, such as John McCain's staving off incontinence during the debates by refusing a bathroom break, and the Pope appealing to youth through a rap group, "The Incontinence Crew". While none of the articles appear to be taking an obvious or intentional stab at individuals with incontinence, they highlight the fact that our world associates leaky bladders with growing old, rather than taking it seriously as a medical condition affecting men, women and children of all ages and backgrounds.


    It's time that we harness the power of the media for our good. Journalists write about what they feel their readers will find interesting. I encourage you to search for news articles about incontinence as well as the related topics of bladder, bowel, and pelvic floor health. Write to the authors thanking them for covering such a closeted topic. Tell them about your own story and struggle. Ask them to write more! It is only through greater media coverage that the general public will start to become exposed to the truth about this condition and take it seriously and with a bit more compassion.


Published On: October 09, 2008