4 Common Causes of Urinary Incontinence in Men

February 17, 2020

Urinary incontinence (UI) in men—involuntary leakage of urine – is not an uncommon problem. As estimated 3.4 million men in the United States currently experience UI, making life difficult both physically and emotionally.  While often related to prostate problems, urinary incontinence has a variety of causes and can also be brought on by medical conditions such as diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, and by pelvic surgical procedures including prostatectomy.

However, like many conditions that were once thought to be an inevitable fact of aging, UI in men is often due to underlying conditions that are treatable. Urologists are experts in the evaluation and treatment of UI with an array of evolving and cutting-edge techniques.

Treatment is an important consideration for any man affected. The healthcare community has lately begun to take a closer look at inequities in medical treatment, and although there is limited data on urinary incontinence in those of different races, in one study African-American men had the highest prevalence of incontinence. Hispanic men are also widely impacted. The study concluded that ethnicity appears to be a contributing risk factor for UI.

4 Common Causes of Urinary Incontinence in Men:

The following are common causes of urinary incontinence:

  1. Prostate problems. Prostate problems, especially as men age, can result in problems with urinary control. If the prostate is enlarged, it may affect the flow of urine and cause a weak stream, frequent urination, and leaking. When the prostate is removed for cancer treatment, it is not uncommon to have stress incontinence, which is when physical movement such as coughing or sneezing triggers leakage.
  2. Conditions that cause nerve damage. Because muscles and nerves must work together to control the bladder, any condition that damages the nerves can create urinary problems. Conditions may include Parkinson’s disease, stroke, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, herniated discs, spinal cord injuries, and dementia.
  3. What and how much you drink. Certain types of beverages can stress the urinary system. Limiting the amount of alcohol and caffeine, both of which have a diuretic effect, can help bladder control issues. Although staying hydrated is important, it is vital not to overdo it with fluid intake as this can exacerbate bladder control issues.
  4. Weight status. Being overweight can exacerbate urinary incontinence.

Male Urinary Incontinence Home Remedies

There are a number of home remedies and lifestyle adaptations that are known to assist with UI, as well as help to prevent it. They can either be tried on their own, such as for mild cases of UI, or combined with other medical treatments. However, a consultation with a urologist is recommended to evaluate each individual case. With expert medical assistance, these home remedies can be adopted in addition to receiving any other necessary treatments.

  1. Watch Your Diet. Certain foods and drinks can be triggers for a bladder problem in men as well as women. These include notably alcohol and caffeine, as well as fizzy drinks, spicy foods, tomato products, chocolate, and citrus juices. To evaluate what might be a possible personal trigger, it’s useful to keep a food diary. Note what seems to be a trigger. For accurate analysis, try eliminating one product at a time, and give it about a week to see if symptoms change.
  2. Drink Fluids Moderately. Drink sufficient volumes to remain adequately hydrated, but do not overdo it as excessive fluid intake will contribute to urinary urgency, frequency and control issues.
  3. Lose Weight if You Are Overweight. Excess fat, especially around the belly area, puts extra pressure on the pelvic muscles and bladder. Physical activity is a great way to lose weight and alleviate pressure on the bladder and is also good for general health.
  4. Try Kegel Exercises and Bladder Control Techniques. Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic muscles—those that help control urine leakage. A urologist can help guide you in these exercises. You can also practice bladder control. This entails urinating on schedule rather than going at every urge. Retraining the bladder can cut down on the frequency of the urge to go.
  5. Stop Smoking. If you do smoke, be aware that smoking irritates the bladder and can worsen UI symptoms.

Treatments for Male Urinary Incontinence

There are a number of treatment approaches for urinary incontinence to improve bladder control for men, depending on how severe it is and its underlying cause. A combination of treatments might be necessary. There are several categories of medications to treat overactive bladder and relax the bladder muscles and medications for men with incontinence caused by an enlarged prostate. Neuromodulation techniques include percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation, Botox injections in the bladder, and Interstim implantation. When indicated, surgical procedures are available to help alleviate incontinence issues.

Untreated Urinary Incontinence

It is widely acknowledged that UI remains greatly undertreated. Men, in particular, are much less likely to bring up the topic with their doctors as women. In fact, one study revealed that despite the wide variety of remedies for UI, only one in five symptomatic men sought treatment.

What’s more, the mental and emotional impact of urinary incontinence can be life-altering. Embarrassment, anxiety and depression are a significant part of the diminishing quality of life caused by this condition.

At NJU, We Can Help

At New Jersey Urology (NJU), our experts can help. Our experienced specialists are dedicated to treating urinary incontinence as well as other conditions with medical expertise and sensitivity. As the largest urology practice in the country—including 41 convenient locations and four cancer treatment centers—we are proud to treat a wide array of urological issues and accept most major insurance plans. Discover the NJU difference today. Contact us to learn more.

Written by Dr. Andrew Siegel 

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