Incontinence in Men

Incontinence in Men

Urinary incontinence is defined as the loss of bladder control.

There are five types of urinary incontinence.

  • Stress Incontinence: Stress incontinence is defined as urine leakage when one exerts pressure on the bladder. It is commonly caused by coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercising, or lifting something.
  • Urge Incontinence: Urge incontinence is defined as the intense urge to urinate followed by an involuntary loss of urine.
  • Overflow Incontinence: Overflow incontinence is defined as frequent or constant dribbling of urine due to incomplete bladder emptying.
  • Functional Incontinence: Functional incontinence is defined as a physical or mental impairment that keeps one from making it to the toilet in time.
  • Mixed Incontinence: Mixed incontinence is defined as a combination of the above types of incontinence.

Causes of Incontinence

Urinary incontinence in men may manifest as a temporary problem or a permanent condition.

There are different causes for each type. Causes of temporary urinary incontinence include:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Artificial sweetener
  • Chocolate
  • Spicy food
  • Certain heart and blood pressure medications, sedatives and muscle relaxants

Risk Factors of Incontinence

Risk factors for urinary incontinence include:

  • Gender (Men with prostate problems have an increased risk of urge and overflow incontinence.)
  • Increased age
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Family history of urinary incontinence
  • History of diabetes

Permanent Incontinence

Risk factors for urinary incontinence include:

  • An enlarged prostate
  • Prostate cancer (Incontinence is often a side effect of prostate cancer treatment.)
  • Obstruction (A tumor or urinary stones in the urinary tract can block urine flow leading to overflow incontinence.)
  • Neurological disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease

Diagnosing Urinary Incontinence in Men

Your physician will first want to determine the type of incontinence you are experiencing. This will be done by performing a complete history and physical exam. Next, you will most likely undergo a urinalysis to check for infection. A post void residual measurement may also be taken to measure urine output. It is also possible that your physician will recommend you keep a bladder diary for several days to record your fluid intake and urination.

Treating Urinary Incontinence in Men

There are a number of treatment options for incontinence. The treatment option chosen by your physician will depend on the type and severity of the incontinence.

Treatment options include:

Common medications used to treat urge incontinence include anticholinergics and Myrbetriq. Alpha blockers are used to treat overflow incontinence in men.

The male sling is an outpatient procedure involving a ribbon of synthetic mesh that is inserted below the urethra to support it allowing the patient’s natural sphincter to maintain continence. This procedure is most often performed on male patients suffering from incontinence post a radical prostatectomy.

This procedure involves implanting a small fluid filled ring around the bladder neck keeping the urinary sphincter shut until one is ready to urinate. When one is ready to urinate, one presses a valve under the skin to deflate the ring allowing urine to flow. After voiding, the ring resets itself. For men with a more severe degree of urinary incontinence, the artificial sphincter is the treatment of choice.