From a very early age Ian was made to sit on the loo immediately after breakfast and not allowed out of the house until he’d “been”.

Perhaps a familiar story for many of his generation?

The result: over-straining (leading to hemorrhoids) and a phobia about using public or other people’s toilets for anything more than a wee.

Fifty or so years later, nothing had changed and frequently I struggled and strained. Mostly I relied on the combination of strong coffee and orange juice to help me go, but often that didn’t work.

"In 2011 I noticed some leakage after going to the loo. I put this down to a bout of hemorrhoids and went to the doctor.

He said there were none present and sent me to the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel for investigation.

"While waiting for the appointment, things went from bad to worse. I’d suddenly need to go without warning when I was out during the day and often I didn’t make it in time.

I felt alarmed and ashamed.

"Leaving the house in the morning became a massive problem in case I had an accident when out. I found it impossible to get to work on time, let alone make social arrangements or meet friends.

"A simple journey like walking to the tube became a nightmare. I had to cross a small public park and every time I got half way across, sure enough, I needed to go. Obviously nerves were playing their part, but I’d have to stop in my tracks and sit on a bench and often that didn’t work.

I’d end up cleaning myself with wet wipes in a nearby café and using the change of pants I’d taken to carrying in my bag.

"Designer pants were a thing of the past and I took to wearing horrible, cheap black ones from a local street market as I had to throw so many away.

"At The Royal London I had a clinical examination, which involved being probed internally with various sensors. I was also shut in a room with a technician and doctor and my rear end stuffed full of barium porridge mixture that I had to try and hold on to as best I could.

"Whilst sitting on a moving commode, which went forward and back and up and down, I was monitored trying and failing to hold on. On instruction I was told to push out but I couldn’t feel anything. It was beyond awful.

"My diagnosis was faecal incontinence. Could anything be worse or more humiliating? At least that was what I thought at the time. Would I have to wear incontinence pants for the rest of my life?

"Thankfully, help was at hand. The Royal London Hospital was trialing a revolutionary new treatment called PTNS or Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation. It had a 70% success rate so I was definitely up for trying.

"The treatment involved two 30-minute sessions a week for 12 weeks. All I had to do was lay on a couch while a needle was inserted just above my anklebone near the tibia nerve. It wasn’t painful, just like a little pinprick really. A sensor was then put underneath the arch of my foot and a small electric current was sent through a wire connecting the two to stimulate the sacral nerve. It felt a bit strange at first, as my toes would make small convulsive movements but after about five minutes that wore off and I couldn’t feel a thing.

The results were fairly instant. Within a couple of weeks I began to gain back control.

Talking about going to the loo is taboo in the adult world

"Talking about going to the loo is taboo in the adult world but the three wonderful clinical nursing specialists who delivered the treatment normalized the experience and made me feel really comfortable talking expectations and ways of going to the loo.

"I can now leave the house in the morning without straining. Frequently I leave without going at all and now I only go when I need to.

It takes a great deal to change fifty odd year’s of habitual routine behavior but with the nurses help I succeeded.

"The nurses also offer symptom management support and they make that seem comfortable and normal too. I am so thankful to them and for the treatment. It has changed and improved my life beyond my wildest dreams.

Don't suffer in silence

"It is estimated that some 3 million of us Brits just suffer in silence or at any one time are awaiting treatment for what most of us perceive to be something deeply taboo. But I have decided to come out and I hope that by doing this it will provide encouragement for anyone experiencing similar problems to seek and find the right help.”