ERIC is the only charity dedicated to the bowel and bladder health of all children and teenagers in the UK.

Our vision is that "every child and teenager with a bowel or bladder condition can access support and live free from embarrassment, shame, isolation and fear".

The scale and impact of childhood continence problems

In the UK an estimated 900,000, or 1 in 12, 5-19 year olds suffer from bowel and bladder conditions. These include bedwetting, daytime wetting, constipation and soiling*.

Bowel and bladder problems have perhaps more impact than almost any other medical condition on children’s self esteem, education and social relationships, and effective treatment can change children’s lives. (Dr Eve Fleming, retired GP and ERIC Trustee)

1 in 12 children and teenagers in the UK suffer from a bowel or bladder problem

The impact of continence conditions can be profound on a child or teenager’s life. It can continue to affect them as adults. Research has shown that those affected:

The stress that comes with dealing with a child's wetting or soiling problem can be considerable for families too. Disrupted sleep, constant washing of clothing or bedding and a reluctance to leave the house can place a heavy burden on family life. We hear every day from parents struggling to cope with the consequences of their child’s condition. In extreme cases, children are abused as a result.

Most bowel and bladder problems are avoidable and treatable, yet it’s estimated that only 11% of those affected ask for help. In England alone, there are 15,000 hospital admissions for paediatric cases of chronic constipation and urinary tract infections (UTIs) each year. 80% of these could be avoided if the problems were spotted early and dealt with properly, according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

*NHS Modernisation Agency (2003) Good practice in paediatric continence services - benchmarking in action, Department of Health.

Looking ahead

We have set ambitious priority goals for 2017-2020, which will help us achieve our key overall aim to reduce the impact of bowel and bladder issues on children’s and teenagers lives in the UK. These are to:

1. Provide information and support which is accessible and available to communities across the UK.
2. Develop tools to support the continence journey.
3. Promote early intervention.
4. Build a strong and resilient organisation.

You can download ERIC’s Strategic Plan 2017-2020 here.

I’m hopeful that every day we’re a step closer to seeing our vision become reality, and every child and teenager with a bowel or bladder condition can access support and live free from embarrassment, shame, isolation and fear. – Juliette Randall, Chief Executive of ERIC