Richa Madaan

Richa Madaan

A Comprehensive Guide to Managing Urinary Incontinence in Men

  Jan 17, 2024

Urinary incontinence, the involuntary loss of bladder control, is often perceived as an issue predominantly affecting women. However, many men, too, struggle with this condition, experiencing both its physical repercussions and the psychological distress it can cause. 

The reasons for urinary incontinence (UI) in men can range from prostate-related issues to nerve damage. But regardless of the cause, it’s necessary to understand that it’s manageable, and with the right approach, its impact on daily life can be significantly minimized.

Understanding the Types of Incontinence

Before diving into solutions, it’s vital to identify the specific type of incontinence:

  1. Stress Incontinence: This occurs when there’s pressure on the bowel movements due to activities like coughing, laughing, or lifting heavy objects, leading to urine leakage.
  1. Urge Incontinence: Characterized by a sudden, intense urge to urinate followed by an involuntary loss of urine. This can be caused by infections, diabetes, or neurological disorders.
  1. Overflow Incontinence: When the bladder doesn’t empty completely, it can lead to dribbling.
  1. Functional Incontinence: Physical or mental impairments prevent an individual from reaching the toilet in time. 

Certain food and drinks can be the biggest cause of UI like addiction to alcohol, excess consumption of carbonated drinks, artificial sweeteners, etc. Avoiding these things is recommended not just for the elderly but also for men of all ages as it impacts other parts of the body severely. 

In some cases, it has been found that even medication can act as a diuretic that stimulates your bladder excessively. It includes heart and blood pressure medicines, sedatives, muscle relaxants, and even large doses of vitamin C.

The graph below shows the subtests of urinary incontinence that impact the most. Age is considered the biggest risk factor for UI prevalence. 

Age and prevalence of subtypes of UI

Proactive Measures and Lifestyle Adjustments

  1. Timed Voiding: By urinating at scheduled intervals, the bladder is trained to release urine at specific times, reducing accidents.
  1. Dietary Changes: Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and acidic foods can help since they irritate the bowel movements.
  1. Pelvic Floor Exercises: Commonly known as Kegel exercises, these strengthen the pelvic muscles supporting the bladder.
  1. Bladder Training: This involves gradually extending the time between toilet visits, and training the bladder to hold more urine.
  1. Maintaining a Healthy Weight: Excess weight can exert undue pressure on the bladder and related muscles.

After applying the above measures, you may find relief. However, if the UI problem is affecting your daily lifestyle then you should seek medical advice or consult a urologist. It is highly recommended to not ignore the symptoms as in older adults it increases the risk of falling while rushing to the toilet. In fact, severe symptoms could be an indication of an underlying condition. 

Modern Solutions and Treatments

  1. Medications: Certain drugs can help the bladder empty more fully during urination or block the spasmodic contractions that cause urgency.
  1. Surgery: Procedures to treat an enlarged prostate or to implant artificial sphincters can sometimes be recommended.
  1. Absorbent Pads and Protective Garments: These are specifically designed for men and can discreetly prevent public accidents.
  1. External Devices: One such option is urine external catheters. Unlike internal catheters inserted through the urethra, these are rolled over the penis, much like a condom, with a tube leading to a urine collection bag. They’re less invasive and reduce the risk of urinary tract infections.

Psychological and Emotional Well-being

The psychological impact of UI can be as profound as the physical. It’s relevant to:

  1. Seek Support: You should not hesitate to seek support from a group or loved ones, discussing the issue can alleviate feelings of isolation.
  1. Educate Yourself: Knowing more about the condition can help individuals feel more in control.
  1. Consult Professionals: Behavioral therapists or counsellors can provide coping mechanisms and strategies. 

In men, stress incontinence or urge incontinence can be associated with untreated prostate cancer. But more often, incontinence is a side effect of treatments for prostate cancer.

The Role of Prostate Health

The prostate gland, positioned beneath a man’s bladder, plays a pivotal role in urinary health. Enlargement or inflammation of the prostate can constrict the urethra, impeding the flow of urine and leading to various bowel movement control issues. 

Regular medical check-ups, being aware of symptoms like frequent urination or a weak urine stream, and timely treatments can significantly help in managing and preventing prostate-induced incontinence.

The journey of understanding and addressing prostate-related UI is multifaceted. While the physical implications are apparent and often at the forefront, the psychological and emotional dimensions cannot be underestimated. 

It’s vital for men’s health to recognize that they’re not alone in this journey. With early detection, proactive healthcare, and a supportive community, prostate-related challenges can be managed effectively. As with many health issues, knowledge is power. 

Staying informed, seeking timely medical advice, and leveraging available treatments and tools will pave the way for an empowered, informed, and confident approach to managing prostate-induced incontinence.