5 Facts about Male Incontinence You Must Know
A common misconception is that urinary incontinence is faced only by females. But of the 25 million Americans estimated to have incontinence, more than 5 million of them are male. In many cases, men are uninformed about the condition and struggle to deal with the situation. Here are 5 facts you should know about urinary incontinence.
1. Types of Urinary Incontinence in Men
Urgency incontinence is involuntarily urinating following a strong desire to urinate. Stress incontinence is urine leakage caused by applying pressure to the bladder. Coughing, sneezing, laughing, and physical activity are common causes.
Functional incontinence is when a disability, obstacle, or communication problem prevents someone from reaching a bathroom in time. When the bladder empties improperly, it can cause overflow incontinence. And transient incontinence is a temporary condition that lasts for a short time.
2. The Prostate is Often the Culprit
Prostate enlargement is common in older men. And an enlarged prostate can cause urine overflow by blocking the urethra. In addition to overflow, an enlarged prostate can also make urinating difficult.
Removing the prostate because of cancer is another common cause of incontinence. Prostate removal often weakens or damages the pelvic floor muscles and the nerves around the bladder. This can cause temporary urine incontinence following the surgery. But statistics show that 1 out of 5 males experience prolonged incontinence for a year or more.
3. More Common than Men Think
The National Association for Continence reports up to 15 percent of men between the ages of 15 to 64 struggles with incontinence. Because it’s often seen as a female problem, some men feel embarrassed and don’t seek the medical care they need. Medical treatment is important because several health problems can cause incontinence, including neurological disorders, a spinal injury, or diabetes.
4. Obesity is a Factor
Obesity affects bladder control for women more often than it does for men, but obesity is a common cause of incontinence. As men and women get older, their bladder muscles get weaker. Weak bladder muscles coupled with extra weight gain puts additional pressure on the bladder. Smoking, diabetes, and medium or heavy drinking also increase a man's risk of urinary incontinence.
5. Surgery is an Option
Surgical options are available to treat severe urinary incontinence. It’s possible to implant a rubber sphincter around the urethra. The sphincter is then deflated and inflated to control the flow of urine. There is also a male sling procedure that places a synthetic mesh in the groin area. The mesh compresses the urethra, and moves it into a new position.
Doctors suggest behavioral and lifestyle changes before resulting to surgery. Activities such as pelvic exercises, bladder training, and urgency suppression are often encouraged.
Seek Medical Assistance
Urinary incontinence ranges from slightly annoying to completely debilitating. And for men, the risk of embarrassing leakage prevents them from exercise, playing sports, and participating in other activities. The emotional distress can also have a long-term effect on relationships. Seek medical assistance as soon as possible.