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When I was at school (a very long time ago) we had a disgusting way of dealing with menstrual pads and tampons. It involved some type of incinerator in the girls toilets and smelt disgusting. If any old BGGS girls can enlighten me as to what actually went on in there and remind me, send me a comment because I have erased the details from my memory. All I remember is – it was putrid and made me gag!

So sometime during my schooling, (again I can’t remember when) that monstrosity was disassembled and chemical sanitary bins were placed into individual toilets and girls and women lived happily ever after, disposing of tampons, pads and probably the odd chip packet into these bins. We never had to know about how they got cleaned/emptied or replaced – they just were and were always there for when we needed them.

Now imagine if you are a woman with incontinence – how convenient that in every toilet, there was a place to dispose of your urine soaked or faecally soiled pad – no embarrasment, no shame of having to walk out to the hand towel bin and throw it in quickly and deep, so no one noticed. There in your private cubicle is a place to maintain your dignity and stay hygenically clean.

Now imagine you are a man with incontinence – no such convenience for you. No such place to dispose of your soiled or wet pad. No – you would have to be well prepared with a plastic bag and hope like crazy that you can hide any pads or soiled undies in it with no one seeing as you exited the toilet.

Why is this important?

Women and men both suffer with urinary and faecal incontinence. You will see in the article below from the Continence Foundation of Australia, the stats and implications for men with continence issues are awful and cause shame and depression – just like they do for women.

The 21st to 27th June, 2021 is Continence Awareness Week and this year there is a push to introduce bins for disposing of incontinence pads into men’s toilets throughout Australia. What an amazing campaign goal! What a life-changing intervention for boys and men. (Why has it taken so long for this to be recognised as an issue?)

Here is an article from the Continence Foundation of Australia about this important issue. It is taken directly from the website.

This World Continence Week (21 to 27 June), join the call to support more than one million men around Australia who live with incontinence. The Continence Foundation of Australia is launching BINS4Blokes and you can get involved.

What is Bins4Blokes

BINS4Blokes is an Australia-wide awareness and advocacy campaign promoting the installation of incontinence bins in male public toilet facilities.

Incontinence affects 1 in 10 men in Australia, of all ages.

Did you know that many male public toilets do not have a disposal bin for men to place their continence products? This leaves men to carry used products with them or feel stressed about how they’ll throw them out. A lack of options stops men with incontinence from going out to exercise, shop and simply enjoy life.

A study of Australian men with urinary incontinence found:

  • 57% intentionally kept accidents secret from those close to them
  • 50% avoided situations where they could not access a toilet easily
  • 28% stated they stayed at home as a precautionary measure

How you can support the Bins4Blokes campaign and improve men’s health in your community

The Continence Foundation of Australia is calling on all agencies that provide toilet facilities to join the BINS4Blokes campaign and install incontinence product bins in male toilets. Everybody should have access to a comfortable and discreet way to dispose of incontinence pads and pants.  

“Our hope this World Continence Week is to get BINS4Blokes into male public toilets Australia-wide,” says Rowan Cockerell, CEO of the Continence Foundation of Australia.

Adding BINS4Blokes to toilet facilities will help men in your community live and work with confidence.

BINS4Blokes supporter Greg Ryan was born with a rare congenital condition called Imperforate Anus, also known as Anorectal Malformation. He has lived with faecal incontinence his entire life and is passionate about raising awareness and understanding of incontinence. He says the BINS4Blokes campaign will make a huge difference.

“The BINS4Blokes campaign will impact and change the daily lives of males of all ages who have had to deal with incontinence, mostly in secret. I know BINS4Blokes will be a life changer for me!” Greg says.

Thanks to CFA for this incredible initiative. The places who have signed up to support this initiative and provide Bins4Blokes are wonderful (but few and far between):

  • Federal Government Department of Health buildings
  • City of Salisbury, SA
  • Berri Barmera Council, Sa
  • Gawler Council, SA
  • Camden Council, NSW
  • Logan City Council Libraries, QLD
  • Westfield Innaloo, WA
  • Mirvac Cooleman Court Shopping Centre, ACT
  • St Ives Shopping Village, NSW
  • City of Charles Sturt, SA
  • Wagga Wagga City Council, NSW
  • Lakeside Joondalup Shopping City, WA
  • Goulburn Valley Health, VIC
  • Lyell McEwin Hospital and Modbury Hospital, SA
  • Westfield Booragoon, WA
  • City of South Perth, WA
  • Fiona Stanley Hospital, WA

How can we get this movement up and accelerating?

We need to talk about incontinence freely and openly – with both men and women.

We need to ask our local members  to look in their community initiative bank accounts and see if there is some available funds to give to clubs and councils to start the ball rolling. (Now there’s a Four Corners that would be worth seeing – a SportsRorts type splurge on BINS4Blokes in key electorates!)

We need to normalise these behaviours and conversations rather than making men feel diminished by their incontinence.

And we need to spread the word that incontinence (whether you are a man or a woman) can be treated – often very successfully- by a pelvic health physiotherapist.

Now it is only the 25th May, 2021 – and by rights and usually, I would sit on this blog until the ‘designated week’. But I think that is a waste of a month. Let’s get this conversation started, so that by the time the 21st June arrives, there are men’s toilets that have new BINS4Blokes in them and a few more men have sought help for their urinary or faecal incontinence.

And Happy World Continence Week to everyone. We all have been incontinent at one stage in our life-time – that is a guarantee.