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Promoting bladder and bowel health


Promoting bladder and bowel health

Professor Nikki Cotterill is conducting a study on pharmacy’s role in helping people with continence problems, and wants to hear from you…

More people experience bladder or bowel leakage than is often recognised. It affects women and men, and children as well as adults, which is often misunderstood.

Commonly, stigma and an enduring taboo prevent disclosure of these symptoms, meaning that many people that could benefit from the lifestyle and behaviour strategies that might help them remain unaware of their availability.

Early self-help is key to preventing a deteriorating journey that can include physical and mental health decline and significant impact on daily quality of life. Continence pads are often used to manage these symptoms.

Although they can play an important role in enabling people to function, they fail to address the underlying cause. However, prevention and education are key areas for innovation to enable more people to be more effectively managed and treated.

Pharmacist Ade Williams and I are conducting a study to explore people’s experiences and views on Pharmacy’s Role In proMotion of continencE (PRIME –

PRIME is funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research’s ‘Research for Patient Benefit’. It is a programme of work to learn from current experiences and explore what is feasible to develop, for improved bladder and bowel continence promotion closer to home.

The study includes three phases:

  • review of existing evidence
  • hearing from the people who know
  • working together to develop a pharmacy bladder and bowel service (PBBS).

We want your views to inform this project and ensure PBBS is fit for purpose.

If you take part in our online survey, you’ll be entered into a prize draw. The survey takes about 15 minutes to complete. All community pharmacy staff in the UK are being invited to complete the PRIME survey.

To express an interest in taking part, contact me on and check the PRIME website for further updates at

Nikki Cotterill is the professor of continence care at the University of the West of England in Bristol.

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