types of incontinence have different causes.
- Stress incontinence
can happen when the prostate gland is removed. If there has been damage to the
nerves or to the sphincter, the lower part of the bladder may not have enough
support. Keeping urine in the bladder is then up to the sphincter alone. The
sphincter may be too weak to hold back the urine. And any extra pressure from
sneezing, coughing, or straining can cause urine to leak.
- Urge incontinence is caused by bladder muscles that squeeze so
hard that the sphincter can't hold back the urine. This causes a very strong
urge to urinate. Doctors don't know why this happens. But sometimes it can be
caused by other urinary problems.
- Overflow incontinence can be caused by something blocking the urethra, which
leads to urine building up in the bladder. This is often caused by an enlarged
prostate gland or a narrow urethra. Over time, the bladder gets so full that
pressure builds up and forces the extra urine to move past the blockage and out
of the bladder. Overflow incontinence may also happen because of weak bladder
In men, incontinence is often related to prostate
problems or treatments.
Drinking alcohol can make urinary
incontinence worse. Taking prescription or over-the-counter drugs such as
diuretics, antidepressants, sedatives, narcotics, or non-prescription cold and
diet medicines can also affect your symptoms.
What are the symptoms?
The most common sign of
urinary incontinence is leaking urine from the bladder. Other signs will depend
on the type of urinary incontinence you have.
- Stress incontinence:
You release a small amount of urine when you cough, strain, lift something, or
- Urge incontinence: The need
to urinate is so strong that you can't reach the toilet in time.
- Overflow incontinence: You have the urge to
urinate, but you can only release a small amount. And you can't control the
constant dribbling of urine.
How is urinary incontinence in men diagnosed?
doctor will do a physical exam, ask questions about your symptoms and past
health, and test your urine. Often this is enough to help the doctor find the
cause of the incontinence. You may need other tests if the incontinence is
caused by more than one problem or if the cause is unclear.
How is it treated?
Treatments are different for
each person. They depend on the type of incontinence you have and how much it
affects your life. After your doctor knows what has caused the incontinence,
your treatment may include medicines, simple exercises, or both. A few men need
surgery, but most do not.
There are also some things you can do
at home. In many cases, these lifestyle changes can be enough to control
- Cut back on caffeine drinks, such as coffee and
tea. Also cut back on fizzy drinks like soda pop. And don't drink more than one
alcoholic drink a day.
- Eat foods high in fiber to help avoid
- Don't smoke. If you need help quitting, talk to
your doctor about stop-smoking programs and medicines. These can increase your
chances of quitting for good.
- Stay at a healthy
- Try simple pelvic-floor exercises like Kegels.
Go to the bathroom at several set times each day, and wear clothes that you can
remove easily. Make your path to the bathroom as clear and quick as you
- When you urinate, practice double voiding. This means going
as much as you can, relaxing for a moment, and then going again.
- Keep track of your symptoms and any leaking of urine with a bladder diary(What is a PDF document?). This can help you and your doctor find the best treatment for you.