Understanding Male Incontinence
One in six Britons aged over 40 experience bladder weakness.
The severity of urinary incontinence in men ranges from hardly noticeable to severe incontinence that affects every part of your life. You may experience varying degrees of urine loss, and the syndrome may change over time. No two men are alike, and no two men are affected the same way.
Many men see incontinence as embarrassing but it’s nothing to be ashamed of and it doesn’t mean you’re any less of a man.
Understanding your body makes it easier to take control and get the help you need to live your life as you want. Knowing the basics will help you understand your needs and how best to talk with your doctor or health care professional. In many cases, bladder control loss can be cured.
Types of incontinence men may suffer
There are three main types of male incontinence:
- Stress incontinence - when outside pressure, such as a cough or laugh, cause an already weakened bladder to leak urine.
- Urge incontinence - an extremely strong and sudden urge to go to the toilet. Your bladder may also contract without you wanting it to, causing involuntary urine leakage.
- Overflow incontinence - the most common form of male incontinence due to the high incidence of enlarged prostates and prostate surgeries carried out. When your bladder is overfilled, and you cannot seem to fully empty your bladder.
Why men become incontinent
Male incontinence is usually caused by a damaged sphincter, the circular muscle that controls the flow of urine out of the bladder. When damaged—in men, often due to removal of the prostate to treat cancer—the sphincter cannot squeeze and close off the urethra. This causes the urine to leak.
Prostate problems and the treatments required to correct them are the most frequent causes of urinary incontinence in men.
Common prostate problems:
- Prostatitis is infection of the prostate gland and may have to do with a urinary tract infection. It is more common in younger men.
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) causes the prostate to get bigger over a period of time, usually starting in middle age. About 1 in 4 men will need surgery or medical treatment for this problem. BPH does not lead to cancer.
- Prostate cancer may be found at first without any symptoms. It is a fairly common cancer, the chances of getting it increases with age; however it is usually one of the most responsive to treatment.
Because early diagnosis is key to successful treatment, doctors recommend yearly prostate exams for men over the age of 50. Men with a family history of prostate cancer should begin these check-ups at age 40.
Other causes of incontinence in men
Male urinary incontinence can also be caused by other medical conditions, including nervous system disorders or injury, (Parkinson’s disease, stroke or spinal cord injury); certain medications, nutritional deficiencies, obstructed urination; some types of surgery; and certain birth defects or chronic medical conditions such as diabetes.
The good news is that incontinence generally lessens within six months to one year. In many cases, continence is fully restored.
While incontinence can be distressing, there are many treatments and management options available. Using absorbent products will help you maintain a normal lifestyle while you are working to regain bladder control. Depend® Guards for Men, for example, are specially designed for the male anatomy.
Incontinence can be cured and it can always be managed. Order a free sample or try the Depend® product selector today to find out what can help you manage your incontinence.