A charity has launched a new drive to raise awareness about common misconceptions around bladder and bowel problems.
The Continence Foundation has produced a free leaflet called Out of Control? urging people to take steps to seek professional help if they suffer continence problems.
Research indicates that up to 42% of women who suffer from continence issues wait as long as 15 years before seeking treatment.
The leaflet features a questionnaire allowing readers to assess how the problem is affecting their lives, and offers advice on common myths surrounding the condition.
These include the idea that continence problems are a natural part of ageing, that nothing can be done, and that drugs or major surgery are the only options.
Dr Judith Wardle, from the foundation, said: "Unlike most other health conditions, bladder and bowel problems are embarrassing. So it's not surprising that many people decide to manage by themselves. But 'putting up with things' often affects a person more than they realise.
"By emphasising how much more in control of their lives people with untreated continence problems could be, we hope to persuade men and women of all ages to overcome their understandable reluctance to seek professional help."