Understanding Male Incontinence

Male incontinence is the inability to control the loss of urine in men. This condition can come on suddenly (acute), transient (temporary), or long lasting (chronic). Male incontinence can be present at birth or develop after an injury or a disease. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases reports that this condition affects about 17% of men 60 years old and above.

Causes of male incontinence

Stress incontinence, which occurs when the sphincter (muscle) that surrounds the urethra opens at an inappropriate time, can be caused by surgery of an enlarged prostate, prostrate removal, or radiation therapy to treat prostate cancer.

Urge incontinence, which occurs when the sphincter cannot stop bladder contractions, can be caused by conditions such as urinary tract infection, prostatitis, bowel problems, bladder or kidney stones, benign prostatic hyperplasia, and certain neurological conditions affecting nerve signals from the brain (for example, stroke or Parkinson’s disease).

Overflow incontinence may be caused by the obstruction of the urethra as a result of prostrate cancer or benign prostatic hyperplasia. It is also usually caused by weak contractions of bladder. Other possible causes include nerve conditions like multiple sclerosis or diabetes, narrowing of the urethra, and medicines like decongestants and antihistamines.

Symptoms of male incontinence

Male incontinence symptoms largely depend on the types and causes of incontinence. In stress incontinence, the patient leaks urine when exercising, laughing, coughing, sneezing, or any activity that puts pressure on the abdomen. Symptoms of urge incontinence include the sudden urge to urinate, nighttime urination or nocturia, and frequent urination. In overflow incontinence, the patient can experience difficulty in beginning urination and in completely emptying the bladder.

Chronic incontinence can cause several complications like skin rashes and infections and chronic UTI. Other symptoms of male incontinence include painful urination and blood in the urine. These symptoms require medical attention.

How male incontinence is diagnosed?

Any doctor can diagnose male incontinence, but a urologist is the one who treats and evaluates the condition. Patients who have urinary incontinence usually undergo a urodynamic test to predict the condition of the bladder and to examine the damage to the urethral sphincter.

How to treat male incontinence?

There are many available options for male incontinence treatment. These include behavioral therapy, medications, artificial sphincter, catheters, male sling, urethral injections, and urinary diversion. There also also the management schemes like early Kegel exercises and biofeedback.

How to prevent male incontinence?

You can prevent urinary incontinence by maintaining a healthy weight, quitting cigarette smoking, exercising regularly, and limiting consumption of bladder irritants such as alcohol and caffeine. You should also follow your doctor’s advice about managing existing medical conditions and taking over-the-counter medications.