Urinary incontinence is a fancy term that just means you might have some trouble holding urine in your bladder. This might be mild — an overactive bladder with just a few drips and dribbles. Or, it might be severe, like emptying your entire bladder without warning.
Urine leakage can be a frustrating thing to have to deal with as a man. Although women are far more accustomed to dealing with incontinence, there are millions of men who struggle with urine leakage, but seem to have nowhere to turn for help.
This short article will give you the help and resources you need to manage and improve urinary incontinence. Here’s what you need to know:
Types of Urinary Incontinence
Incontinence is defined as the inability to hold your bodily fluids in. Urinary incontinence refers to an inability to hold in your pee, whereas fecal incontinence has to do with being unable to hold in feces.
Urinary incontinence is much more common, and there are a few different types that might describe your situation:
Stress urinary incontinence: Stress incontinence occurs when physical strain on the bladder causes you to leak urine. It’s usually from a sudden movement, like sneezing, laughing, lifting a heavy object, or coughing. It has nothing to do with mental stress.
Overflow urinary incontinence: When you have frequent or constant dribbling, and you cannot empty your bladder completely.
Functional urinary incontinence: Functional incontinence is when a mental or physical impairment prevents you from making it to the bathroom on time when you have the urge to use the restroom.
- Urge urinary incontinence: Urge incontinence occurs when you suddenly feel like using the bathroom, followed by a complete loss of bladder control. This can be caused by an underlying infection, as well as from other conditions like diabetes, or neurological disorders.
What Causes Male Urinary Incontinence?
The type of urinary incontinence you have might have a different underlying cause, but there are a few common factors which can put you at a greater risk of developing urinary incontinence.
Inflammation and enlargement of the prostate goes by many names, including prostatic hyperplasia and prostatitis. It is one of the more common causes of urinary incontinence among men. Acute prostatitis is when symptoms come on suddenly and severely, whereas chronic prostatitis is an ongoing condition that never completely goes away.
The prostate gland is located just under the bladder, and it surrounds the top portion of the urethra, which is the tube that drains urine from the bladder. It has a variety of functions that include reproductive and urinary involvement, and is a vital component of the male anatomy.
Gross biology lesson aside, an enlarged prostate places pressure on the bladder, making it harder for you to hold in your pee. An enlarged prostate makes it easy for urine to leak out when you cough, laugh, sneeze, or just move around.
Another ailment of the prostate that can lead to urinary incontinence includes prostate cancer. Typically, stress and urge incontinence can be signs of this, though more frequently, incontinence is a side effect of prostate cancer treatments.
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men, besides skin cancer. The good news is that it can often be treated successfully. Unfortunately, urinary incontinence can also be a common condition after any prostate surgery.
Urinary Tract Infections
A UTI is an infection of a part of the urinary system, which includes the kidneys, bladder, and urethra in men. These medical conditions can irritate your bladder and make it feel like you have a strong urge to use the restroom.
While there are many cases in which you don’t actually need to use the restroom, having a UTI can make it hard to tell the difference between actually needing to pee and not actually having to pee.
The rectum and the bladder are next-door neighbors in the human anatomy and share the same nerves. If you’re backed up “back there”, that can cause compacted stool, and can cause the nerves in your bladder to then become overactive — increasing urinary frequency.
Temporary incontinence might be a byproduct of behaviors you engage in daily. Consuming large amounts of diuretics, stimulating your bladder or bowels, can both affect your ability to remain continent. Namely, beverages that contain coffee, alcohol, carbonated drinks, and vitamin C can make you need to urinate more often.
Certain medications might also list incontinence as a side effect. High blood pressure medications, muscle relaxants, or sedatives are all common medications that contribute to causing urinary incontinence.
Being overweight has been shown to be a strong risk factor for incontinence, likely due to increased pressure placed on the bladder. However, lifestyle habits and hormonal shifts might also play a role.
Nerve signals from the bladder to the brain alert you that you must use the bathroom. Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or a brain tumor can interfere with these nerve signals, leading to urinary incontinence.
Sometimes, a little bit of urine loss is inevitable. As you get older, your bladder muscle can decrease in strength and capacity, and this means you can store and maintain less urine. You might notice you need to run to the bathroom more frequently, and in some cases, you might not even make it there before the drips and dribbles start to leak-out.
Weak Pelvic Floor
Your pelvic floor muscles support your bladder, rectum, and reproductive organs. They’re the muscles that you might associate with your groin. Among their many functions, one of their main tasks is to release and contract the bladder when you need to urinate. If you have a weak pelvic floor, you might start to leak without intending to.
How Can I Help Manage Incontinence?
If you have mild to moderate incontinence, there’s a chance you might be able to improve it without ever needing to see a doctor. However, if you have severe incontinence affecting your ability to live life as you want to, you will probably want to visit a urologist for some help.
Kegels have a bit of a bad rap because of what they were traditionally meant to help women do; however, the reality is that this is one of the best exercises for helping with incontinence. It’s important to consult your healthcare provider before beginning any pelvic floor exercise routine.
To do Kegels, you first need to locate your pelvic muscles. You can do this by squeezing your urethra as if you’re trying to stop urine flow while also squeezing your rectum like you’re trying not to pass gas. If you can do that — you’re ready for Kegels!
Essentially, you just repeat that same squeezing exercise, but you will want to hold your muscles tight for three seconds before releasing them. Repeat that 10 times, and do it twice a day. Over time, the goal is to increase the amount of time you can hold the kegel, or increase the number of times throughout the day you can perform the exercise.
One lifestyle change that can be made is bladder training. You can work to delay urination by trying to hold off going to the bathroom for about ten minutes every time you get the urge to go. The goal is to only try to urinate once every two to four hours. Doing this can strengthen your bladder muscles and teach you to “hold it in.”
Male Drip Protection
As you work towards strengthening your pelvic floor, you’ll still need something to catch those urine leaks when they do occur. And while typical incontinence pads can be bulky and don’t always fit well, there’s a product called MDP that can help, and this product was made with the male anatomy in mind.
This form-fitting sleeve slides right over your penis, giving you a comfortable and secure fit no matter what size your package might be. And with its customizable two-strap design, you can make it as loose or snug as you like.
Since MDP doesn’t adhere to your underwear, you can wear any undergarments, from briefs to boxers and anything in between. It can also hold up to two ounces of urine, about the same as a large shot glass.
MDP is perfect for mild or light bladder control problems, and if you ever need to change it for a fresh one, it’s small enough to carry in your wallet or you can fit a new one in your pocket and just make a quick trip to the bathroom to change it out.
The best way to see the difference is to feel it for yourself. Try MDP today to start returning to the activities you love most — without worrying about leakage anymore.
Stopping the Leaks
In men, urine leakage, or incontinence, can be caused by a wide range of things, from enlarged prostates to weak pelvic floors. No matter what the cause, urinary incontinence can be a frustrating thing to have to deal with — especially when you’re just trying to enjoy your everyday normal activities.
The good news is that through doing Kegels, bladder training, and wearing MDP can help you get back into life so you’re not always worried about the slightest little urges and drips. Restore your freedom of movement and take control of urinary incontinence today.