Urinary incontinence (UI) is the loss of voluntary bladder control that can lead to urine leakage. In men, urinary incontinence in men can be caused by functional abnormalities of the bladder or urethra, particularly in men with prostate disease. In addition men with urinary incontinence are often more likely to report a lower quality of life and are at increased risk of institutionalization compared to men without urinary incontinence.
Prevalence of male incontinence increases with age, but the condition is not a normal part of aging. Acute (i.e., sudden, temporary) involuntary urine loss may be caused by some medications (e.g., antidepressants, antihistamines), bed rest (e.g., immobility following surgery), weight gain, urinary tract infection (UTI), and severe constipation that results in impacted stool. In some cases, alcohol abuse, high caffeine intake, and smoking contribute to the condition. In addition a number of medical conditions can also increase a man’s risk for incontinence.
Symptoms & Types Of Urinary Incontinence
The most common sign of urinary incontinence is leaking urine from the bladder. Other symptoms will depend on the type of urinary incontinence you have. Types of UI include:
Stress incontinence: occurs when the muscle (sphincter) surrounding the urethra opens at the wrong time. This can occur when you laugh, sneeze, cough, lift something, or change posture.
Urge incontinence: This is also known as overactive bladder and is the accidental loss of urine when the bladder spasms for no reason. It may be caused by a urinary tract infection (UTI), certain medications or nerve damage.
Functional incontinence: This is when you have normal bladder control, but you are physically unable to reach the toilet in time. It may be a result of a condition like severe arthritis. Drugs that cause confusion or sedation can also lead to functional incontinence. There may be several different causes for incontinence. In some cases, the cause may also be unclear.
Overflow incontinence: This occurs when the bladder will not empty completely. The urine builds up and overflows which leads to the leaking of urine. It may be caused by Prostate enlargement, Drugs, such as antidepressants or weak bladder muscles.
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. You will be asked about your urine leakage and how often you empty your bladder. A physical exam will be done to look for any physical causes. You may also be asked to to keep a diary of your urinary habits. Tests to help find the cause of the incontinence may include:
- Stress test
- Prostate exam
- Blood tests to detect diabetes
Treatment for urinary incontinence depends on the type of incontinence, its severity and the underlying cause. Your doctor is likely to suggest the least invasive treatments first and then move on to other options only if these techniques fail. Treatments may include:
- Behavioral therapy
- Home treatment
- Medical Devices
The good news is that urinary incontinence is a treatable condition with an excellent prognosis. Medical and surgical treatments for urinary incontinence can have very high cure rates. The choice of treatment depends upon the underlying cause for the incontinence and in some cases depends upon the willingness of the patient to participate in the treatment process.