Janet Ellis, ex-Blue Peter presenter and Five’s The Wright Stuff panelist, today kick starts a UK initiative to help women suffering from stress urinary incontinence (SUI).

Janet hopes that three simple steps may help women start to overcome the debilitating1 difficulties the condition can cause.

New research commissioned to mark the start of ‘TRIumph’ – so called as SUI symptoms are thought to affect an estimated 1 in 3 women over 18 years of age in the UK2 – reveals that SUI is considered to be the most embarrassing and socially unacceptable ailments affecting women in the UK3 when compared to other female ailments including osteoporosis, thrush, mastitis, pre-menstrual tension and menopausal symptoms. Therefore the need to break the barriers associated with incontinence, the last health taboo4 has never been greater.

Janet has been joined by the leading interest groups Women’s Health Concern, Incontact and The Continence Foundation in devising the ‘Three Steps to TRIumph’ action plan, encouraging women who have SUI to ASK for help by:

  • Acknowledging that if you have SUI, you are not alone – SUI is a very common condition2
  • Sharing your SUI concerns with other people – talk to your friends or family, doctor or nurse
  • SeeKing help – advice and treatments are available

Janet Ellis says; ‘I’m leading TRIumph in order to tell women suffering from SUI that they are not alone. It is a very common condition, affecting adult women of all generations, not just the elderly as some people think. Childbirth, pregnancy and the menopause are all risk factors5.’

She continues; ‘There really is no need for women to feel embarrassed or avoid seeking help, particularly when there are treatments available. As women, we naturally talk about everything to do with health, including periods and childbirth yet we don’t talk about the one thing so many of us have in common! ASKing for help is an important step in the right direction.’

‘Independent Women’

The TRIumph research, which was analysed by expert social psychologists Elaine Bowyer and Rosemarie Simmons, also indicated that women today feel more independent compared to their mothers and grandmothers due to advances in birth control and greater work opportunities3. The research also showed that in terms of quality of life a long, loving and healthy life is far more important to those questioned than financial or career success3.


1 Stress Urinary Incontinence and Women: Discovering the Truth, conducted among 4,558 women over 18 years of age in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Sweden and the UK. Wirthlin Worldwide, sponsored by the International Continence Society in partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly and Company, October 2003

2 Hunskaar S et al. The prevalence of urinary incontinence in women in four European countries. BJU International 2004; 93(3): 324-330

3 Tickbox.net. Online Survey: ‘TRIumph in Life Market Research’ Summary Tables. May 2005.

4 Abrams P. International Group seeks to dispel incontinence taboo. JAMA. 1998 280(11):951-953

5 Leaking Urine: All about stress urinary incontinence. Incontact

6 Abrams P et al. The standardization of terminology of lower urinary tract function: report from the Standardization Sub-committee of the International Continence Society. Neurourol Urodyn 2002;21:167-178