Incontinence is a common and distressing condition of later life. Prevalence studies have reported rates of urinary incontinence from about 3% to 60%, depending on how incontinence is defined and the type of population studied. There is much less information about the prevalence of faecal incontinence. However, some studies have found approximately 2% of the general population and about 60% of the nursing home population to be incontinent of faeces. Although some studies have examined the impact of urinary incontinence on health status, the impact of faecal incontinence has not been investigated previously. Quantification of the prevalence and specific impact on health of common disorders such as incontinence will help commissioners and providers in the prioritization of diagnostic and therapeutic services for this distressing condition. With this in mind, we report the relevant results of the Tipping the Balance Survey, which quantified the prevalence and impact on self-perceived health, anxiety and depression of both faecal and urinary incontinence.