Urinary incontinence (UI), or some level of loss of bladder control is not uncommon among men. In fact, 11-34% of older men experience it. Younger men can also experience UI due to certain health problems. As with most health issues, discussing the problem is the first step to addressing the symptoms and finding a treatment.
There are different types of urinary incontinence, so it is important to get a proper assessment from a doctor to determine what type you might have and how to address it. The types of UI men experience include:
- Urge incontinence - a strong, sudden need to urinate just before losing a large amount of urine
- Stress incontinence - leakage when a man coughs, laughs, sneezes, or overexerts himself
- Functional incontinence - when physical or emotional disability prevents a person from getting to the washroom in time
- Overflow incontinence - occurs when the bladder fails to empty properly and later overflows
- Transient incontinence - a temporary form of UI, normally an effect of certain medications
- Total incontinence - when the sphincter muscles no longer works and you always leak urine
Causes of Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence in men takes place when the brain doesn’t send the right signals to the bladder. In many cases, the sphincters do not squeeze strongly enough. The bladder muscles may contract too much or not enough. Also, damage to the sphincter muscles or nerves that control the muscles could be the problem.
Here are some factors that could increase a man’s chances to develop UI:
- Prostate cancer– surgery can lead to temporary or permanent UI
- Birth defects – issues with development of urinary tract
- Chronic coughing – increases pressure on bladder and pelvic floor muscles
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia – prostate is enlarged and can lead to UI
- Neurological problems – conditions that impact the brain and spine
- Obesity – extra weight can put pressure on bladder
- Aging – bladder muscles weaken over time
What Can You Do?
Urologists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of urinary incontinence. They will take a full medical history and conduct a physical exam. A urine sample as well as a blood sample will likely be taken.
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.