Urinary incontinence is the loss of control over bladder functions. Urinary incontinence, otherwise known as UI, may be a permanent or long term problem. UI is widely considered to be a symptom of a more serious problem. Incontinence is relatively common, affecting an estimated 5 million male patients within the US population alone. Incontinence is usually associated with females, although male incontinence awareness is starting to increase as time goes by.
Listed below are the most common causes of male urinary incontinence. Please be aware that you should seek the advice of a doctor before making any assumptions as to what the root cause of your incontinence actually is.
- Prostate problems: The prostate is a small gland that surrounds the urethra and sits under the bladder. It is about the size of a walnut, and it adds liquid to semen prior to ejaculation. Problems with the prostate can easily affect the effectiveness of the passing of urine, and is a common cause of incontinence in older men.
- Head and spinal injury: Injuries that affect the transmission of signals to the brain, which allow the bladder to communicate with the body, can be broken by spinal and brain damage. This can cause incontinence as the brain is unable to be alerted and told that the bladder is full and ready to pass urine.
- Alcohol and toxins: Any toxins that pass through the urinary system can have a short or long term effect. Alcohol is known for causing temporary incontinence when consumed in large quantities.
- Old age: As we get older, we tend to lose control over our bodily functions. Organic and natural brain damage, which occurs over time as we get older, can cause us to lose the ability to control when we urinate. Physical body functions can also become damaged as a result of natural aging; the pelvic floor becomes weak and unable to prevent the bladders valve from opening.
- Medication: There are numerous different types of prescribed medication that can have a negative effect on the urinary system for bladder control.
- Infection: If the urinary tract or urethra becomes infected, it can become impossible to control urination. Problems like infection are treatable with medication and antibiotics.
- Mental conditions: Medical conditions like depression can cause incontinence.
- Neurological disease: Illnesses such as Parkinson’s and Multiple Scoliosis are common causes of urinary incontinence.
- Child birth: Child birth can scare the nerves that tell the brain the bladder is full. Child birth also weakens the pelvic floor muscles, which keep the bladder under control.
- Smoking: Smoking can cause chronic coughing, which can add extra and unwanted pressure to the bladder. To add to this smoking can cause cancer – a potentially fatal illness that can cause incontinence.
- Pregnancy: The weight of a baby sitting on top of the bladder can add a serious amount of pressure to the bladder. Pregnancy tends to have a temporary effect.
Types of incontinence in men
- Stress incontinence: This occurs when the pelvic floor muscles become weak and are unable to keep the bladders valve shut when under pressure. Pressure that can cause leakage includes coughing, exercise (lifting heavy objects) and sneezing.
- Overflow incontinence: This is when the bladder never fully empties. The amount of urine exceeds the bladders natural capacity, which causes overflow leakage.
- Functional incontinence: This type of incontinence affects those who lack the psychical ability to move and get to the toilet in time. An example of this is someone in a wheelchair being unable to get to the bathroom in time before urination occurs.
- Urge incontinence: This happens when the patient is aware of the need to urinate, but is unable to hold urine in the bladder long enough. Common in patients with Parkinson’s and diabetes.
Different incontinence issues can be treated through different means. The most natural way to treat the largest cause of incontinence, which is stress incontinence, is to increase the strength of the kegel muscles and pelvic floor through kegel exercises. Other forms of treatment include surgery, medication and vaginal weights for women.
In order to determine a suitable treatment for your incontinence problem, please see a doctor or medical professional - they will give you accurate and helpful advice, relevant to your specific needs.