Mary Lynne Van Poelgeest-Pomfret

Lynne became the President of WFIP - World Federation for Incontinent Patients in January 2011: an international umbrella organization dedicated to enhancing the rights of patients suffering from incontinence. She is also a member of several patient advocacy movements and organizations, including EPF (European Patients Forum) and IAPO (International Alliance of Patient Organizations).

Urinary and faecal incontinence, as well as pelvic pain, are extremely debilitating and bothersome conditions. They are also more common than you may think: Around 1 in 4 women over the age of 35 and 1 in 10 adult men are affected by incontinence. Over 400 million people worldwide suffer from the condition. As you can imagine, this can have a profound impact on quality of life. However, continence issues and pelvic pain are often ignored because these stigmatized. As socially taboo conditions, they are not openly addressed by the public or the media. I believe that no one should have to learn to live with the embarrassment of incontinence. The condition can be treated, often cured, and always managed. Raising awareness of the problem and solutions is an important part of improving patients’ lives. I firmly believe that a multi-stakeholder approach is needed, with input from clinicians, physical therapists, patient advocates, patients and industry partners. Patients and carers must play a central role in helping others understand the needs of those affected. Together, we can put the spotlight on continence and pelvic dysfunction and help to break the taboo around these conditions.