What is Male Incontinence?
Over 25 million Americans suffer from urinary incontinence or UI. Of this 25 million around 5 million men have bladder issues. Of the roughly 300 million Americans over one-third experience some type incontinence. So what is male incontinence?
UI can be directly attributed to prostate surgery, or an enlarged prostate among the most common causes. There are many obstacles individuals face in finding solutions or help due to embarrassment.
According to the National Association for Continence two-thirds of the people who deal with bladder control symptoms do not seek a doctor for help or use a product to help control their incontinence.
Remember that number from earlier, 25 million Americans? Two-thirds of those 25 million will never seek out help or find products to manage their incontinence. Of the 5 million men that have it only 18% will seek out a doctor to talk about their symptoms. The numbers show that men are unlikely to seek out advice just as they most likely are not going to stop to ask for directions.
All joking aside there are lots of resources and information out there. People get embarrassed when dealing with such a personal topic. Men don’t like going to the doctor, let alone talking to the doctor about something as wetting their pants. Don’t wait, see your doctor or consult a specialist if you are experiencing leakage.
Older men may start to experience prostatitis or inflammation of the prostate gland or prostate cancer. If the prostate becomes enlarged it can block the urethra and cause what is called overflow incontinence. Overflow incontinence is when you have difficulty urinating or when you have a small leakage of urine.
The act of removing one’s prostate when they have cancer can lead to a weakened or damaged pelvic muscles and also nerves can be damaged surrounding the bladder.
Men can also experience what is called stress urinary incontinence. This is where there is an involuntary release of urine when pressure within the abdomen increases due to activities such as laughing, coughing or jumping.
Another type of UI is called urge incontinence, or often called an overactive bladder. Urge incontinence is the sudden need to urinate and when you involuntarily leak urine at any given time. This is caused by abnormal bladder contractions due to the muscles surrounding the bladder overpower the muscles of the urethra.
Other situations that can play a role are Parkinson’s, strokes, cigarette smoking, heavy drinking, nerve damage from diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Also, extra weight gain can be a contributor as well. As you get older your bladder muscles that control function tend to lose strength. The extra weight gain can put extra pressure on the bladder.
There are many products to help individuals who suffer from urinary incontinence. What type of urinary incontinence you have determines what product works best. Whereas an adult brief(diaper) would work for someone who has no ability to hold their urine in their bladder, it may not work for someone with stress incontinence.
Products include disposable underwear, briefs/diapers, absorbent pads, compression pouches, condom catheters disposable/washable bed sheets, gloves, and creams/washes. As you can see there are many options for all types of situations. People that have stress/urge incontinence have the option of considering surgery as well or there are medications. As always please seek out advice from a trained healthcare professional if you are experiencing a medical situation.
You hear many stories from people who are too embarrassed to ask questions or look into solutions. Many times these people resort to using paper towels or tissues. Living with and managing UI can be extremely difficult for family members. Many times it can be hard for a family member to broach the subject. Sometimes family members become the caregiver and must do the hard job of researching information to help.
Some of the most difficult parts of dealing with UI is the emotions that come with it. Nobody wants to be told they will need wear an adult diaper. The word alone brings negative thoughts, a diaper is for babies not adults. People tend to feel they are a drain on their family or this is causing embarrassment.
So as you can see urinary incontinence affects many people and there are many options to help live a more fulfilling life. I hope you can take some knowledge from this and that it helps give you some peace of mind. Just know there are many different resources out there for individuals and for caregivers.
I would also add that you should always consult a doctor or a healthcare professional for any health issues you may be experiencing.