Urinary incontinence is an involuntary leakage of urine and it affects more men than you think. Incontinence is not a disease, but rather a symptom of a problem with the urinary tract.
To understand why this is happening you must first understand how urine is passed under normal conditions. Urine is made by the kidneys and is stored in the urinary bladder. Your urethra then leads from the bladder through the prostate and penis then out of the body. Around your urethra is a ring of muscles called urinary sphincter. As your bladder fills, these muscles remain squeezed while your bladder stays relaxed. This prevents urine from leaking out of the body.
When you need to urinate, nerves signals tell the muscles in the walls of your bladder to tighten, while the urethra relaxes. This allows the urine to pass through and out of the body.
Why Does Incontinence Happen?
Incontinence can happen for many reasons including:
If your bladder squeezes at the wrong time, or if it squeezes too hard, urine may leak out.
- If the muscles around the urethra are damaged or weak, urine can leak out even if you don't have a problem with your bladder.
- If your bladder doesn't empty when it should, you are left with too much urine in the bladder. If the bladder gets too full, urine can leak out.
- If something is obstructing your urethra, urine can accumulate in the bladder. This can cause leaking.
Urinary incontinence happens more often in older men, but that doesn’t mean it’s just a normal part of aging.
Types of Incontinence
Stress incontinence: Leaking urine when you sneeze, cough, laugh, lift something, change position, or do something that puts stress or strain on your bladder.
- Urge incontinence: An urge to urinate that's so strong that you can't make it to the toilet in time. This can happen even when you only have a small amount of urine in your bladder. Overactive bladder is a kind of urge incontinence, but not everyone with an overactive bladder leaks urine.
- Overflow incontinence: You have the urge to urinate, but can only release a small amount. Because your bladder didn't empty normally, it then leaks urine later.
- Total incontinence: You are always leaking urine. This happens when the sphincter muscles no longer works.
- Functional incontinence: When you can't make it to the bathroom in time to urinate. This is usually because something got in your way or you were not able to walk there on your own.
Incontinence almost always results from an underlying treatable medical condition. Treatments can vary depending on the type of incontinence you have and how much it affects your life. Your treatment may include medicines, simple exercises, or both. Some men need surgery, but most do not.
Talk to a doctor at Philadelphia Urology Associates today if you are having problems with incontinence. We can help find the treatment that is right for you.
Contact us online or call (215) 563-1199 to schedule an appointment.