What is Male Incontinence?

At incontinence 101 we are focused on helping anyone experiencing incontinence by educating and providing solutions.

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.

Living With

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.

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33 Responses

  1. Kit says:

    It is a distressing problem which may have a large impact on quality of life. My friend has this surgery and his life is not the same again. It causes urine to leak when you laugh or cough. It can happen to anyone, but it becomes more common with age.

    • Chris says:

      Kit it can have a huge impact on your quality of life.  There are so many resources and solutions out there for people that can truly help them.

  2. James Underwood says:

    Guys need to talk more about what happens as we age. I think women are better at this type of thing but as guys we just suck up and shut up.  This needs to stop!

    Hey you get old, and things happen. Talk to your doctor, they’ve heard it all. If you don’t want to talk about it to another guy, consider going to a female doctor, I do. I just feel more comfortable talking to a woman, you might feel better talking to a guy.

    But at any rate, I guarantee that you aren’t the first person that this has happened to, and your doctor will know how to help.

    • admin says:

      James you are 100% correct men sometimes tend to not want to talk about things like this.  There are so many people out there suffering with this and don’t know what options they have available.

  3. Kenny says:

    Hi and thanks for this revealing review of such a tough problem for men to talk about. I can imagine that it is a teal blow to a mans pride as he gets older. Thank you for bringing attention to this issue. I am gals that we are starting to be more open as a society around medical issues and being able to discuss and ask for help. I hope your arrive encourages others to seek help if they need it too. Thanks, Kenny 

  4. marlasmith says:

    I had no idea that so many people where dealing with this issue.  What can a person do if they are experiencing this?  You mentioned seeking medical attention.  Are there other things to do to help the situation.  Are there any type of exercises that would help  make the bladder stronger?  Is there physical therapy that helps in any way?  I can’t image wanting to live with some type of adult diaper.  You also mention that overweight can contribute to the situation.  If a person goes on some type of weight management program, is it possible to see an improvement?  As you can see, I have many questions.  Sorry about that.  I am just looking for ways after the situation develops to find some type of improvements.  Thanks for all the information.  

    • Chris says:

      Marla all great questions! Actually stay tuned I am going to be putting out some information on these very topics. There are many solutions that can help improve quality of life and hoping I can help people improve their situation.

  5. Albert says:

    25 million is a very large number. I didn’t know this issue is so common. I think most people try to hide it.

    As a society, we should all help each other by sharing information. There are a lot of different solutions for urinary incontinence and we should spread the knowledge. We should also act in a way that people feel less embarrassed to ask questions or talk about these problems. Thanks for sharing.

    • Chris says:

      Albert I think this is one of those topics that most people do not discuss at all, even if they have it.  The more we talk about it the more we normalize it and realize that it is part of life and there are solutions to help make it easier to live with.

  6. MONDOS says:

    Thanks Chris for pointing that out in a well articulated article. I wish to share with my father someday the symptoms you described. I remember my father at one stage faced with one of the problem you described but I didnt know about. He struggled and suffered with the pain for a while and he was recovered. I will definitely share with him when we meet. Thanks again. Great article.

    • Chris says:

      Hi Mondo thanks for your comments!  I am glad this might spark a conversation with your dad that is definitely my goal here.  Sometimes people don’t know where to turn, so I hope I can help just a little.

  7. Mary says:

    This is such a hard subject for anyone to talk about, man or woman, but I imagine it is so much more embarrassing for men. One thing though it is impertinent that they seek the advice of a doctor because of the risk of prostate cancer. You had made reference that the man could not wear a diaper if it was stress related incontinence, why is this? Also you mentioned many different types of incontinence in men, is one more prevalent over another?

    I deal with this issue with my mom, and I get the impression she thinks she is alone with this issue. We have to insure that her pads are always in bags, even though we buy them in a box for. She now resides in a senior’s residents and I don’t think she is aware that most in her home, both men and women deal with this issue everyday.


    • Chris says:

      Hi Mary I really appreciate your comments.  You are 100% correct about consulting your doctor, that is a must.  The reason I mentioned not using an adult diaper for stress incontinence is because it can just be a very small amount of urine normally.  So a diaper would be overkill in this situation, they might want to use a liner or pad which is much smaller.  Probably overflow incontinence is most common in men due to an enlarged prostrate which can block the flow of urine.

      I think a lot of people feel like they are alone in dealing with this situation.  It doesn’t help that its taboo to talk about it as well.  I hope the best for your mom.

  8. HappyB says:

    You are so right, UI is almost taboo for men to talk about and yet, as you say here, there are several ways of helping and improving the condition.

    I was not aware there were so many different types of UI.

    My father had similar problems to stress incontinence. He did find that some exercise he got from a physiotherapist really helped. Then he got lazy and gave up.

    It is emotionally distressing for most men to even talk about it and yet. Help is at hand.

    • Chris says:

      HappyB thanks for taking the time to comment.  The more and more conversations I have or come across it seems like somebody knows somebody dealing with incontinence in their life.

  9. Scott Hinkle says:

    Thank you for the informative post.

    I haven’t “sprung any leaks yet” but I have noticed urges to urinate, sometimes not very long after having urinated already.  I’m not sure what cause is but I am a little overweight and that’s probably a big part of it.  I’m only 42 so I’m concerned that I might be having an issue already.

    I’ll keep an eye out for the other signs and see my doctor, should one pop up.

    Thanks again.

    • Chris says:

      Hi Scott you are very welcome.  We are like old cars we need the oil changed and the tires rotated or we can “spring leaks” as you say, I think sometimes you need to bring some humor into this topic.  Life is too short and this can be such a serious topic that if we can break down some barriers with comedy then I think that is great.

  10. Scott Hinkle says:

    I think humor is a great way to break the ice when it comes to topics we’d rather not discuss.

    Thanks again for the post. I really do appreciate it.

  11. Stew says:

    Good article with important information for those who may read it and finally decide to go to their doctor.  We all should be comfortable enough to take to our doctors at any time for anything.  They are all good listeners or at least they should be.

    I don’t have this issue, but if I did, I would be at my physicians office in a heartbeat.  I don’t care if I am a little embarrassed at going, but I do care if I wet my pants in front of people.

    • Chris says:

      Hi Stew, I agree I would be right at that doctor as well.  I hope more people take this approach and start a conversation.  Thanks for your feedback!

  12. Chrissie Spurgeon says:

    This is a really helpful post for any man who suffers in this way, and the numbers which you give helps to take away the stigma that many people feel when faced with this problem.

    Obviously I am not a man, but I would certainly recommend your post to any man who does have this problem.

    The important thing to remember is that they are not alone, and there are solutions which will help them immensely.

    Many thanks for your post.

    Chrissie 🙂

  13. Billy.W. says:

    Hi Chris,Great piece that you have written here.Yes it is true that as we men get older our bodies change and things start happening to us that we sometimes don’t like to talk about.Yes we might be embarrassed about it but it is also true that there is probably not much medical professionals haven’t seen yet,so no need to feel embarrassed around these folks.Great information,awareness and education for men contained in this article Chris,good work. :))

  14. Matthew says:

    I am only 39 but lately, I have been having trouble whilst urinating, not so much incontinence, but stopping mid-pee and starting again. I want to go to the doctors about it but I wasn’t sure if I was being paranoid or not, so that’s why I came online to see if there were any solutions or if other men my age had the same problems.

    It really is a sensitive subject so i haven’t told my wife about it just in case she laughs about it. Do you think i need to see a doctor about this problem or is it normal to stop mid-pee?

  15. Nkhosingiphile says:

    Yes you are very right, it is always wise to consult a doctor, i just been with my friend of 27 years who is experiencing blood in the semen , and as you talk about about urinary incontinence i am thinking of my friend, and thinking of what could it be that is happening to him because he is young to have prostate cancer.  What could it be with him?

    Great blog

    • Chris says:

      Hi Nkhosingiphile that is definitely something I would recommend him going to the doctor for.  I think this just proves that if you are not sure seek medical help immediately.  I hope the best for your friend.

  16. Jennifer David says:


    Urinary Incontinence is no joke to whom is suffering from it male or female.

    It seems that more and more people are suffering with this conditions, unfortunately Men do not talk about their suffering, which needs to change because as you have mentioned this condition can develop into more serious conditions.

    Building awareness is much needed so that communication can start earlier and save lives.

    Many thanks for sharing this post


    • Chris says:

      HI Jennifer I really appreciate your feedback.  You are so right about awareness and communication they are so important when dealing with health issues.

  17. Jay says:

    it is really a disturbing and an unfortunate condition that some people pass through. Like you said it can be really embarrassing to talk about because no grown up person wants to talk about it wetting themselves. But it is really important that no matter the situation or how embarrassing it might be you just have to man up and talk about it because that’s the best way you can be able to get professional help instead of keeping it to yourself. Thanks for this awareness post it would be of great help to a lot of people.

  18. Michel says:

    It is just a typical male thing that most of them don’t go for professional help with this problem and prefer to pretend it doesn’t exist. 

    I think that most are embarrassed, but also don’t realize that there may be a solution to their problems which will make their lives so much easier all round. Women are also embarrassed, but tend to be more prone to seek out help for a condition like this.

    I always thought that more women than men suffered from this condition, but maybe it’s because the women seek help and the men generally keep quiet.

  19. Ngonidzashe Manzwangani says:

    mmh this topic is very helpful to many, whether you are suffering with urinary incontinence or not, who knows, may be one day I am going to succumb to the disease. Currently, I am not suffering with the disease, however, I know a friend of mine who was suffering from this disease. Every time, you could seat beside him, you would smell urine and he was known by many to have this problem. I am not sure if he was eventually healed as I have moved to another city.  

    Its very unfortunate that many men are suffering from urinary incontinence but are shy to come out and sick help, I hope  articles like yours will reach many and that will help to reduce the worsening of the cases.  


  20. Sylvia says:

    UI, in older men, is a very common situation. As a former Geriatric Nurse I have dealt with these conditions a lot on a daily basis.

    We have to educate more and often and to help to take the edge off of embarrassment and that no man is alone when they are diagnosed with this condition.

    Your article is certainly very helpful and shows the individual what else can be done.

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