Urinary Incontinence Treatment: How To Treat Incontinence
Urinary incontinence can be difficult and lonely to manage and can leave men feeling isolated and cut off from the activities and relationships they care about. We often hear about urinary incontinence related to women’s health, caused by conditions like menopause, estrogen production, and urinary tract infections.
But the truth is that incontinence affects many men across the country, especially as we age. That means you can follow several management techniques and treatments to handle the symptoms and side effects of urinary incontinence.
And MDP (Male Drip Protection) is here to help. We’ve created a urinary incontinence product designed for the men we care about, so they can feel confident and self-assured all day long.
We’re sharing all you need to know about the best therapies and management techniques, so you can begin getting the relief you deserve today.
What Is Urinary Incontinence?
There are six different types of urinary incontinence: stress incontinence, urge incontinence (overactive bladder), mixed incontinence, overflow incontinence, functional incontinence, and reflex incontinence. It’s useful to understand the most common triggers, medical conditions, and risk factors associated with each type of urinary incontinence, so you can better begin the management and treatment process that best fits your needs.
The common element of the different types of urinary incontinence is the loss of bladder control. That may cause you to leak urine during the day, or when sneezing or coughing from stress urinary incontinence, difficulty voiding all the way, or the sudden and uncontrollable urge to urinate. Stress incontinence, for example, causes pressure on the bladder, which makes urine leak out of the urethra.
In some cases, urinary incontinence results from chronic conditions like kidney disease or neurological conditions like multiple sclerosis or spinal cord damage. Most of the time, however, urinary incontinence is related to acute infections, the weakening of pelvic muscles due to aging, or even medications.
Urine leakage can affect your ability to go about daily tasks, so it’s useful to speak with your healthcare provider to get to the root cause of the incontinence based on your medical history, and to start finding the best lifestyle changes or therapies for management and relief.
When discussing urinary incontinence with your healthcare provider, they may want to perform some tests to help determine what kind of incontinence you have. These tests may include urodynamic testing or cystoscopy when a thin tube with a camera is inserted into your urethra.
Urinary Incontinence Treatment
Urinary incontinence doesn’t have to mean loss of independence or personal comfort. Because of its ubiquity and its many potential causes, you have many different treatment options for managing the effects of urinary incontinence and treating it completely.
Here’s a closer look at the options you can begin discussing with your doctor or practicing at home today.
Surgical treatments are the most extreme way of managing the effects of urinary incontinence. Still, if natural treatments, medications, and exercises are ineffective, your healthcare provider or physical therapist may recommend them.
The good news is that male sling procedures, the most common surgical treatment method for urinary incontinence, are long-lasting and very effective.
A sling is created around the bladder neck, or urethral bulb, which is the enlarged end of the urethra, by cutting the scrotum and the anus. This sling is used to help support the bladder and prevent it from leaking. Your doctor may also suggest the implementation of an artificial urinary sphincter to help reduce urine flow.
Other surgical interventions include:
- Sacral nerve stimulation: also called sacral neuromodulation, a doctor may implant a medical device that provides electrical stimulation to help reinforce your pelvic floor.
- Urethral bulking agents: a doctor may use a bulking agent to reinforce the urethra.
- Botox: a doctor may suggest Botox to help relax your pelvic floor muscles.
Acetylcholine is a neurotransmission chemical in the body responsible for controlling the central and peripheral nervous systems. It’s used for everything from muscle control to memory function. It can also contribute to involuntary movements, like the kind that causes muscle contractions and urine leakage.
That’s where anticholinergic medications can be used to help manage the side effects of urinary incontinence. Several different types of medications fall under the anticholinergic, which inhibits the effects of acetylcholine in the body.
Depending on your type of incontinence, your doctor will prescribe a specific type of anticholinergic medication to mitigate the effects of an overactive bladder.
Medications your provider may prescribe include:
It's also worth noting that because some medications, like antidepressants or high blood pressure medications, may contribute to urinary incontinence's effects, your urologist may suggest switching out some of your existing medications for alternatives. Making simple changes may reduce the effects without more extreme treatments.
Kegels and Bladder Training
You can also begin managing and even treating urinary incontinence at home with Kegel exercises, pelvic floor exercises, and bladder training. One of the most common reasons for urinary incontinence is weak pelvic muscles, which can occur for many reasons, including age.
Kegel exercises and bladder training can help to strengthen those muscles and reduce the amount of urine leakage you experience. Remember to consult your healthcare provider before introducing any pelvic floor exercises to your routine.
To practice muscle exercises, you’ll want to try squeezing the bladder muscles that would be used to stop urine flow, taking care not to squeeze the abs, glutes, or buttocks muscles. Consider starting this practice in a prone position and moving into sitting and standing.
Pelvic floor muscle training helps strengthen the bladder muscles, reducing urine leakage, especially during triggering conditions like sneezing or coughing. It's also useful to practice Kegel exercises in tandem with bladder training.
Bladder training is simply a method of following a specific schedule for attending the bathroom. Depending on the severity of your urinary incontinence, you may want to set your bathroom schedule around every 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or an hour.
You want to void your bladder completely when visiting the bathroom and to practice Kegel exercises to hold your urine until the scheduled time. A bladder diary can be a useful way to track effective behaviors and practices, as well as the areas that need improvement, so you can better communicate with your healthcare provider.
Altogether, pelvic floor exercises and bladder training, and bladder control can be useful for managing the effects of urinary incontinence.
It’s also useful to consider certain lifestyle changes when managing or treating urinary incontinence. Certain conditions, like diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity, can contribute to your risk of developing urinary incontinence.
It’s important to manage chronic conditions properly, to reduce risk factors as much as possible, which may also mean increasing physical activity and losing weight in the right circumstances. It's also useful to reduce the influence of certain urinary incontinence triggers, like alcohol and caffeine.
You also want to ensure that you stay properly hydrated and eat enough fiber to prevent constipation, which can further contribute to urinary incontinence. A few simple lifestyle changes can make a significant difference in managing and treating urinary incontinence.
Men have options for managing urinary leakage and urinary incontinence. It’s important to look at the root causes and types of urinary incontinence to find the best methods for treatment and management.
There are many ways to work with your urology professional and physical therapist to find the best treatment options for your specific condition. They’ll start with a urinalysis, so you can get the relief you deserve.
Some of the most common treatment methods include lifestyle changes, medications, or surgeries if needed. You can also practice pelvic floor exercises and bladder training to strengthen your pelvic muscles and reduce the effects of urinary incontinence.
MDP is here to help. We’re sharing all you need to know about treating urinary incontinence. And we have the products you can use in the meantime, including our unique, two-strap product for managing leaks, so you can have peace of mind all day long.
Learn more about the effects of urinary incontinence and best practices for treatment and management with the support of Male Drip Protection today.
Urinary incontinence - Diagnosis and treatment | Mayo Clinic
Surgery and procedures for urinary incontinence | NHS