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Understanding Urinary Incontinence in Men

What is Urinary Incontinence in Men?

Urinary Incontinence in men is the involuntary loss of urine. Weak bladder muscles, overactive bladder muscles, certain prostate conditions, and nerve damage can all be possible underlying causes of urinary incontinence in men. Contrary to what most men think, Urinary Incontinence in men is not a ‘normal’ and ‘inevitable’ sign of ageing and can affect anyone at any age. There are approximately 300,000 cases of men diagnosed with Urinary Incontinence in Europe every year. Three quarters of these cases occur in men over the age of 65, and 1 quarter in men younger than 65.

Urinary Incontinence is a medical problem that is fairly common. 1 out of 4 women and 1 out of 8 men have it. The condition occurs because of problems with muscles and nerves that help to hold or release urine. You may experience the symptoms of incontinence through loss of a few drops of urine while running or coughing, or you may feel a strong and sudden urge to urinate just before losing a large amount of urine. Urinary Incontinence can be bothersome and cause public embarrassment to some men and keep them from enjoying simple daily activities.

Urine loss can also occur during sexual activity and cause tremendous emotional distress. If you are experiencing UI, your doctor or nurse can help you to find a solution. No single treatment works for everyone. In order to find a treatment, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider and get to the root of the problem.

Why does Urinary Incontinence happen for men?

For the urinary system to hold urine in the bladder and release it at the right time the brain, muscles, and nerves must all work together, however there are some factors that can interfere with that system.Some of these are:

  • A swollen prostate can obstruct the urine from passing.
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Prostate surgery can cause the muscles to become temporarily weakened or damaged.
  • Nerve damage or brain injury can sometimes block signals sent to the brain to urinate.
  • Being overweight can also put extra pressure on the abdominal and pelvic muscles
  • Diabetes can lead to slight urine leakage
  • Emotional distress
  • Medication, like diuretic medications for circulatory illness, can increase the risk of incontinence.

Symptoms of prostate cancer can also include the urge to urinate more often (usually at night), difficulty starting to urinate, weak flow and feeling that your bladder has not fully emptied. (These symptoms will not always indicate cancer, but you should check with your doctor just to be on the safe side.)

Types of Urinary Incontinence in men and the symptoms

There are three main types of Urinary Incontinence that affect men. These include stress incontinence, urge incontinence, and overflow incontinence.

  • Stress Incontinence: The involuntary loss of urine during actions like coughing, sneezing, and lifting. This type of incontinence is usually brought on by actions that put abdominal pressure on the bladder.
  • Urge Incontinence: characterised by leaking large amounts of urine at unexpected times (without sufficient warning to reach the bathroom in time). This is usually caused by uninhibited contractions of the detrusor muscle and happens a lot during sleep.
  • Overflow Incontinence: Unexpected leakage of small amounts of urine caused by a full bladder.

What should I do if I have Urinary Incontinence?

The first thing you should do if you suspect you have Urinary Incontinence is to visit a doctor or urologist and get his advice. A urologist specializes in urinary problems that are associated with pelvic problems. Some nurses and other healthcare providers may even be able to help you through providing rehabilitation services and teaching you therapies such as fluid management and pelvic floor strengthening. Your doctor may suggest behavioural remedies like bladder retraining and kegel exercises or he may suggest medicines for an overactive bladder or biofeedback.

Although Urinary Incontinence can be an embarrassing condition, it is best to discuss it in full with your doctor, that way you can learn how to treat it and be cured. Most men are embarrassed or afraid to mention their problem and hence are not able to get the correct treatment in time. You’re certainly not alone. Minor urinary leakage is common and treatable, and it’s best if you can catch the problem and treat it early on. Healthcare professionals will usually follow the least invasive method in improving bladder weakness. This might be done through lifestyle changes, physiotherapy exercises, and medical advice. However, if these fail to work, your specialist may consider whether a more invasive treatment, such as medication or surgery, is required.

The next step after seeking advice from a urologist is not let Incontinence interfere with or hinder your daily activities. It can be hard to enjoy life if you go out and can’t relax without worrying about the possible smell of urine, the leaks that might be showing through your clothing, or feeling the urge to track down the nearest bathroom. Life doesn’t have to be that way.

Incontinence protection pads are also a good way to provide yourself with bladder weakness protection so that there is no need to cut back on pleasurable activities. With the right lifestyle changes you can get the protection you need so that you can feel comfortable to socialise, exercise, and carry out your usual daily activities with confidence.