So THAT's Why Lots Of Women Are Dehydrated

This sadly makes a lot of sense.
Javier Zayas Photography via Getty Images

Have you ever found yourself freaking out about where to go to the loo when out in public?

If so, you’re certainly not alone. In a recent study commissioned by bladder care company Jude, 80% of respondents noted a lack of public toilets in their area. This has resulted in two-thirds (67%) of women deliberately dehydrating themselves.

Meanwhile 60% of women have been left feeling stressed, worried, anxious or panic-ridden when unable to find a public toilet.

It’s not the first time this issue has been raised. A 2021 report by the London Assembly Health Committee suggested people would restrict fluid intake and ‘hold on’ due to a lack of public toilets.

The report warned this can lead to a risk of dehydration, urinary tract infections (UTIs) and potential kidney damage.

At the time, Karen Hoe OBE, national development manager for Changing Places, warned people were having to purposefully dehydrate themselves so they did not need the toilet when out and about.

“That then has an impact on health conditions and bladder infections. Some of our users have had to even result to surgery to have their bladders removed,” she added.

Recent data shared by the Liberal Democrats found England has seen a 14% drop in the provision of public toilets in the last five years.

The isolating impact of public loo closures

Dr Anne Henderson, consultant gynaecologist and British Menopause Specialist, said the lack of public loos “adds to the lack of dignity and embarrassment women have and feeds into more social isolation, impacting women’s professional and family lives”.

Helen, from South Devon, who needs regular access to toilets when out and about, said the lack of available public facilities is “quite concerning”.

“We recently had a spell in my local town where the facilities were being regularly vandalised so the toilets were closed for several weeks,” she explained.

“This was expensive but, not only that, they all closed at 3pm so being out after that was impossible for me. This can be a lonely experience and when you can’t talk to anyone about it [it] is very isolating.”

Yinka from Kent suffers from IBS and urinary incontinence. She said the lack of loos means visiting the local high street “is a mammoth task”.

“I can wait up to an hour at the opticians wetting myself because they have no loos. I find it depressing that I can’t go out and relax. I often feel isolated,” she said.

The lack of public toilets is also having an impact on people’s mental wellbeing, with 21% saying this caused social anxiety, and 37% hesitating or cancelling going out to cope with a failure of public toilet provision.

Backed by the National Key Scheme, Disability Rights UK and The Great British Public Toilet Map, Jude is launching a campaign calling on the government to acknowledge that poor toilet provision is a public health crisis impacting the nation’s physical and mental health.

The campaign adds its support to the Lib Dems’ recent call for a Public Toilet Fund and has issued a letter to Steve Barclay, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, calling for acknowledgement that the issue of dwindling public toilets across Britain has caused significant harm to the health of our nation.

A Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities spokesperson told HuffPost UK: “We expect councils to provide public toilets for their communities – they are best placed to decide where they are needed.

“We recently announced up to £30.5 million funding to local authorities in England to boost the number of Changing Places toilets for people who cannot use standard accessible toilets. They will be installed in existing buildings and we have made it compulsory for new public buildings to have them.”