What is Male Urinary Incontinence?
The accidental loss of urine is called urinary incontinence. Incontinence is not a disease, but rather a symptom of another problem in the urinary system.
Male Incontinence Symptoms and Types
Urinary incontinence in men can be short-term or long-term (chronic). There are several different types of urinary incontinence, including:
- Stress Incontinence: Leaking urine when you laugh, sneeze, or cough. It can also happen when you lift something heavy, or otherwise put pressure on your bladder.
- Urge Incontinence: Leaking urine after having a strong, sudden urge to urinate and being unable to make it to the bathroom. This can also happen if your bladder squeezes when it shouldn’t or when the bladder isn’t full. Overactive bladder is a type of urge incontinence, but not everyone who has overactive bladder leaks urine.
- Overflow Incontinence: Some men have the urge to urinate but not much urine is released. If the bladder doesn’t empty normally, it could cause urine leakage later.
- Total Incontinence: Leaking urine all the time. This happens when the sphincter muscle is too damaged or weak to control urine.
Male Incontinence Causes
The causes of male urinary incontinence often depend on which type of incontinence you have.
- Stress incontinence may be caused by the removal of the prostate. Sometimes, removing the prostate can damage the nerves or the sphincter that help hold in urine.
- Urge incontinence is usually caused by bladder muscles that squeeze so hard (involuntarily) that the sphincter muscles can’t hold back the urine.
- Overflow incontinence may be caused by a blockage in the urethra which can cause a urine back-up in the bladder. The most common blockage is an enlarged prostate, which constricts the urethra. Weak bladder muscles may also be a cause.
Male Incontinence Diagnosis
To diagnose male urinary incontinence, your doctor will perform a physical exam, review your medical history, and ask questions about your symptoms. Usually, this is enough for a preliminary diagnosis of urinary incontinence. Sometimes, your doctor will recommend further testing to help determine the severity of your condition and the best treatment option.
Male Incontinence Treatment
Treament for male urinary incontinence will depend on the type and the severity of your symptoms. Your doctor may recommend medication, exercises, and in rare cases – surgery.
Often, lifestyle changes can reduce or eliminate symptoms of male urinary incontinence. You may try to:
- Reduce caffiene intake, including coffees, teas, and sodas
- Limit alcohol to one drink per day
- Quit smoking. If you need help quitting, ask your doctor for recommendations.
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Strengthen your pelvic floor muscles through Kegel exercises
- Keep a bladder diary. This can help track progress and help your doctor recommend a treatment plan most likely to help you.
Men shouldn’t feel embarrassed about talking to their doctor about urinary incontinence. Urologists are experts and can help restore your confidence when it comes to bladder control.