The bathroom as we know it has come a long way — in prehistoric times, your bath could be 40 feet long, and if you visited the Palace of Versailles before 1768, there would be no toilets available at all, throughout over 700 rooms!

Prehistory — The Great Bath of Mohenjo-daro, the world’s oldest-standing public bathhouse, is constructed in Pakistan. It measures an impressive 880 square feet.
30th Century BC — The Sumerians of Mesopotamia built the oldest known toilets, consisting of deep pits lined with stacked ceramic tubes.
1300s — Edward III installs a bathroom in the Palace of Westminster.
1546 — King Henry VIII closes public bathhouses, blaming them for the spread of sickness.
1596 — The flush toilet was invented by Sir John Harrington (although it did not become widespread until the mid-1800s, when Thomas Crapper patented the valve-and-siphon design)

1767— William Feetham invents the first modern shower.
1775 — Alexander Cummings invents the S-bend — the curved pipe under the toilet bowl that stops sewer gases from entering the home.
1800s — Wooden baths begin to fall out of favour, being replaced with copper tubs.

1848 — Ignaz Semmelweis, a Hungarian doctor, identifies handwashing as a way to prevent cross-contamination and infection.
1858 — The “Great Stink” in London (a very hot summer, in which the filthy River Thames became unbearably smelly), the government commissioned the building of the London sewer system. Before that, sewage would run through the streets and into the river!
1860s — Louis Pasteur, a French chemist, demonstrates that bacteria cause infection and disease rather than miasma (“bad air”) or spontaneous generation (the idea that bacteria was created by decay and disease, not the other way around). His work formed the beginning of modern Germ Theory, informing guidelines on sanitation and bathing to this day.

1889 — The electric water heater is invented.
1920s — Newly constructed council houses are built with indoor bathrooms for the first time.
1960s— The invention of tankless water heaters enables the public to install modern electric showers with an instant supply of hot water.

2013 — The UN designates November 19th as World Toilet Day, raising awareness of sanitation inequality and barriers to public health worldwide.

For help with modernising your bathroom in terms of supplies, hand dryers and other useful equipment and facilities, you can contact the Nexus team here.

There are plenty of simple steps that you can take to make your washrooms more inclusive in the workplace — so, have you considered installing sanitary bins in all your washrooms?

Providing Sanitary Bins for Men
When asked to picture a sanitary bin, most people will imagine the women’s washroom — a receptacle for pads, tampons, and associated menstrual waste. However, these bins serve a wider purpose that is just as applicable to the men’s restroom. Incontinence items, sanitary waste associated with disabilities, and other personal care waste can be produced by people of all genders— including incontinence pads, and the byproducts of stomas, catheters, colostomies and ileostomies. As a result, providing a suitable receptable in every washroom can make a huge difference to the wellbeing of both staff and visitors.

Inclusive Bathrooms are Better Bathrooms
Prostate Cancer UK is leading the Boys Need Bins campaign — often, men who require access to a sanitary bin are forced to use the disabled bathroom, which can cause anxiety and discomfort for those who do not consider themselves to be disabled as they feel like they are intruding. The campaign is working to change the law and make it mandatory to supply sanitary bins in men’s bathrooms.

Why Does This Matter?
The statistics might shock you — 1 in 25 men aged over 40 will experience some form of urinary leakage each year, and 1 in 20 men aged 60 and over will experience bowel incontinence in the UK. Furthermore, 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer (rising to 1 in 4 for Black men), which is the most common type of cancer in men. As many as 60% of those requiring surgical treatment for prostate cancer may experience urinary incontinence as a result. These numbers illustrate that the proportion of men who need to dispose of sanitary materials is far higher than you might expect, and they deserve to be able to tend to their personal needs with both convenience and dignity.

To talk about making your bathroom more inclusive, you can contact Nexus here.

April is IBS Awareness Month! Read on to find out more about this condition, and how you can get involved in raising awareness for people living with IBS.

What is IBS?
IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, is a chronic condition that affects the digestive system. It is the most common digestive system disorder, with up to one third of the population of the UK experiencing symptoms. It is very likely that you know someone who suffers from IBS. It is thought to be caused by over-communication between the brain and the gut. IBS can be made worse by stress, and is usually a life-long condition.

How Does IBS Impact People?
The symptoms of IBS can be very difficult to manage, particularly when sufferers are in public. They include constipation, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea, bladder symptoms, and exhaustion. Anyone can have IBS, but it is slightly more common in women than men, and people tend to be diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40. There is a lot of stigma and misinformation out there about IBS — people tend to be uncomfortable talking about their bowel habits, and there can be a sense of shame surrounding symptoms.

How Can I Contribute to IBS Awareness Month?
There are several charities and organisations that you can check out to learn more about IBS, including Guts UK and the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD). You can also encourage your workplace to accommodate people with IBS, both members of staff and visitors to your site. Some ideas include putting up awareness posters in the bathrooms, ensuring that your facilities are fully stocked at all times, and ensuring that there are plenty of bathrooms available.

To talk about making your facilities more welcoming and prepared for visitors, you can contact Nexus here.