A platform to talk openly

Digitalization and technological innovation are promising in their own right, creating new possibilities for smart design, and individualized and sustainable solutions. But information and communication technology (ICT), and the behavior it enables, may be the most transformative force in challenging the status quo on hygiene.

ICT is enabling people around the world to take to the internet and popular social media platforms to break down taboos and help eliminate stigma by mainstreaming the conversation and driving action. Combined with the simplicity of using a search engine like Google to find out information about specific conditions and solutions, online chatrooms offer men and women a safe (and potentially anonymous) platform to talk openly about issues such as incontinence, body odor, or other embarrassing conditions. One such chatroom is the Incontinence Support Group and Forum, which offers support for those dealing with incontinence: “A friendly online community where you can share information, experiences and support each other.” Other examples include the Continence Foundation of Australia, which supports patients and their caregivers and is supported /financed by the Australian government. Users can also post questions that will be answered by a nurse: www.continence.org.au/forum/index. There’s even a website called IncontinenceDating.com that offers a place for people to meet others with similar conditions to them, thus eliminating any self-consciousness during what is already a socially awkward moment for many.