Background Urinary incontinence is a common health problem with significant medical, psychological and economic burdens. Health education is capable of improving perceptions about and attitudes towards incontinence in turn encouraging them to seek help.
Aim The aim of the present study was to determine the effectiveness of educational interventions at raising men's awareness of bladder and bowel health.
Inclusion criteria Types of participants. Adult and adolescent men (age 12 years and over) and it was anticipated that some interventions/promotions may be directed at family members or carers of, and health professionals caring for, adult men and therefore these would also be considered for inclusion. Types of intervention. Any intervention, program or action that provided information, or attempted to raise awareness of men's bladder and bowel health. Type of outcome. Any measure defined by included studies such as: bladder and bowel management and treatment, increased knowledge of bladder and bowel health and number of attendees at promotion. Type of studies. Concurrent controls, such as: systematic reviews of concurrently controlled trials, meta-analysis, randomised controlled trials, controlled clinical trials, interrupted time series and controlled before after designs and observational design (cohort, case–control). Search strategy. A search for published and unpublished studies in the English language was undertaken restricted by a publication date of 10 years prior, with the exception of a review of seminal papers before this time.
Methodological quality Each study was appraised independently by two reviewers using the standard Joanna Briggs Institute instruments.
Data collection and analysis Information was extracted from studies meeting quality criteria using the standard Joanna Briggs Institute tools. For two studies with similar population types, interventions and outcomes quantitative results were combined into a meta-analysis using Revman 5.0 software. However, the majority of studies were heterogenous and results are presented in a narrative form.
Results With the exception of instruction for pelvic floor muscle exercises for men after prostatectomy, little quantitative research has been performed that establishes the effectiveness of interventions on men's awareness of bladder and bowel health. While numerous interventions have been trialled on mixed gender populations, and these trials suggest that the interventions would be effective, their effectiveness on the male component cannot be definitively established.
Conclusion There is little quantitative evidence for the effectiveness of interventions to improve men's awareness of bladder and bowel health therefore few recommendations can be made. Well-designed controlled trials using male sample populations only are needed.