Has it been excruciatingly difficult to hold urine lately? You might be suffering from a leaky bladder disorder known as incontinence.
The first thing you should know is that this condition—although debilitating—isn’t recognized as a disease by most medical professionals. Nonetheless, it can be a deep source of embarrassment and shame to the men who suffer from it.
Incontinence is the involuntary leakage of urine. It’s a common problem affecting both men and women around the world. In the US alone, 17% of elderly men have some form of incontinence. The figure, however, is larger in women, with 35% experiencing symptoms.
There are several different types of incontinence, each with its own set of causes and treatments. The good news is that treatments are available for patients in curbing the symptoms.
Let’s explore incontinence in detail, the different types of incontinence in men, and the available treatments.
Bladder Function and Incontinence
The bladder is a vital part of the urinary system, positioned inferior to the urethra and kidneys. Urine is typically produced continuously by the kidneys and is transported to the bladder through two ureters.
When you’re about to urinate, the muscles in the wall of the bladder contract and force urine out from the bladder, through the 20-cm urethra, and out of the penis. The urethral sphincter muscles open to allow urine to pass through, then close again to prevent leakage.
Normally, the central nervous system commands a variety of muscles, nerve signals, and hormones to aid in the expulsion of urine. Urinary incontinence occurs when men lose the ability to control their desire to urinate is impaired, which can result in the unintentional leaking of urine.
In a healthy adult male, the bladder can store up to 700 ml of urine. However, most men tend to feel the urge to urinate once there’s 200 to 350 mL of urine in the bladder.
Types of Male Incontinence
There are four primary types of incontinence in men. The treatment options and underlying causes will differ depending on the type of incontinence you’re suffering from.
1. Stress Incontinence
Stress urinary incontinence commonly affects women, but men do experience symptoms of this type of incontinence as well. Stress incontinence is categorized as an involuntary leakage on exertion or effort, sneezing, coughing, and other rigorous activities.
The reason why this happens is because of a weakening of your pelvic organs, which may cause frequent accidental leakages.
2. Overflow Incontinence
Overflow incontinence occurs when the bladder accumulates more urine than it can expel properly. This means that the bladder never empties, increasing the risk of spillages as you go about your day-to-day.
3. Urge Incontinence
Urge incontinence is an overactive bladder condition, often caused by weak pelvic muscles. The muscles in your bladder may contract involuntarily, causing you to leak even when your bladder isn’t full.
4. Mixed Incontinence
Mixed incontinence is a combination of any of the above types of incontinence. Patients may experience symptoms of any of these conditions, making it difficult to identify and manage the root cause directly.
Causes of Male Incontinence
Men and women can experience a wide range of accompanying symptoms to incontinence. Some of these medical issues don’t last for very long, while others can be a sign of a more pressing chronic issue.
If you’re experiencing incontinence in any form, it’s important to see a group of men’s health doctors.
Some of the causes of short-term incontinence include the following:
- Constipation: Having dry and hard stool can lead to issues in bladder control.
- Certain medications: Diuretics and antidepressants may lead to side effects that affect bladder control.
- Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs): Having a urinary tract infection can up your urge to pee, as well as cause pain in the affected areas such as your urethra.
- Certain drinks: Coffee and alcohol may make you more likely to pee uncontrollably throughout the day.
For more long-term forms of incontinence, here are the symptoms to watch out for:
- Diabetes: Diabetes affects peripheral neuropathy and increases urine production.
- Enlarged prostate: an enlarged prostate gland, or benign prostatic hyperplasia, can lead to issues in urination.
- Multiple sclerosis: MS makes it harder to control bladder function.
- Pelvic floor disorders: If nerves and muscles near the pelvic floor are injured, it may hinder bladder control.
- Stroke: Muscle control becomes increasingly difficult following a stroke.
- Post-surgery issues: A botched surgery may damage the mechanisms of normal bladder control, such as a damaged sphincter muscle.
If you’re struggling with symptoms of incontinence, talk with a doctor to get the right treatment.
Treatments for Male Incontinence
Fortunately, it’s possible to return to normal bladder function with the right treatment.
Depending on your symptoms, your medical care provider may give you certain medications and dosages to help you recover. They may also prescribe customized treatment remedies to get you back into shape.
Here are some ways to treat male incontinence.
There are some ways to help improve your condition. Try these tips:
- Do pelvic floor muscles exercises every day.
- Eat a nutritious diet.
- Focus on getting at least 7 hours of sleep.
- Hit the gym or go out for a run.
- Tone down on the vices.
Some medications may be prescribed for incontinence. Some of these medications include:
If symptoms persist following medication, doctors may perform procedures to deal with your symptoms. This may include:
- Botulinum injection: Helps muscle relaxation.
- Artificial sphincter procedure: Insertion of a device to help close the urethra.
- Neuromodulation devices: Stimulates a nerve to improve bladder control.
Contact Jacksonville’s Top Men’s Health Clinic for a Medical Consultation
Truth be told, male incontinence often goes underreported and underrated because men feel ashamed or embarrassed talking about it.
If you’re experiencing incontinence, see a doctor for the right diagnosis. This could mean the difference between getting help or suffering from urine leakage in silence.
Urinary incontinence is often manageable with the right medications, clinical treatments, and lifestyle changes. If you’re looking to treat urinary incontinence in men, treatment options are available at Prime Men’s Medical Center. Our concierge approach positions your unique case at the centerpoint of our focus. We don’t just give you a pill and send you on your way. We treat the underlying issues that led to conditions such as erectile dysfunction, low testosterone, and more. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.