There are at least 5 million men in the United States of America who suffer from urinary incontinence (also known as male incontinence). Unfortunately, most of these men are ignoring the signs of their conditions. There are quite a few reasons that are causing urinary incontinence. But in a simple scenario, it happens when the sphincter muscle of the bladder is weak that makes it incapable of holding back urin.
Most of the time, older men experience urinary incontinence compared with young men. However, it does not mean that urinary incontinence is a sign of aging. There is no direct correlation between age and urinary incontinence. Still, more are a direct result of urinary tract infection (UTI), spinal injuries, neuromuscular disorders such as ALS and MS, or complications brought about by prostate cancer.
Types Of Male Incontinence
There are different types incontinence among men. While it is common among older men, it is also prevalent among men of various ages for numerous reasons.
Stress incontinence happens when simple activities such as laughing, lifting an object, sneezing, laughing, or coughing causes a small amount of urine leakage from the urethra. It is caused by a weak pelvic muscle that causes the bladder down into a position wherein the urethra is not capable of closing fully.
Of all the types of incontinence, the overflow incontinence is the most common among males. It is characterized as the incapacity to control urination due to the fact that a male is not able to empty their bladder of urine completely.
By the time that the bladder is incapable of emptying urine, it can result in involuntary dribbling of urine. Such occurrence is called overflow; hence, the name of the type of incontinence. The symptoms that a man experiences during overflow incontinence are the same as that of stress incontinence. Some of the root causes are Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, diabetes, neurological damage, and enlarged prostate.
This kind of incontinence is best described when there is a strong urge to urinate even though the bladder only holds a small amount of urine. The condition can lead to a significant loss in urine. This is typically rooted in problems caused by prostatitis, bladder or kidney stones, and UTIs. Neurologic diseases such as Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis can further the occurrence of male incontinence.
There are instances wherein urine loss occurs involuntarily. However, it is not because of problems arising from the pathology of the urinary system. Instead, functional incontinence might be because of paralysis, Alzheimer's disease, brain injury, and other types of cognitive and physical impairment.
Reflex incontinence is also known as the spastic bladder. This incontinence occurs when the bladder collects urine, and an unconscious reflex occurs when a make tries to pee. The development of the reflex incontinence becomes prevalent when a spinal cord injury happens, especially in the upper area, called the "T12 level."
Causes Of Incontinence
Urinary incontinence, as discussed earlier, is the unintentional and involuntary leaking of the urine. Its development may be rooted for numerous reasons but primarily due to a damaged bladder because of an injury. It can also be because of neurological disorder, prostate cancer, and some problems related to lifestyle and diet.
By equipping one's self regarding the common incontinence causes, men can make changes in their lifestyle and take specific steps to combat it.
Bladder Cancer And Prostate Cancer
More often than not, male urinary incontinence can be a direct result of either short- or long-term side effects from cancer treatment. The early diagnosis of cancer (prostate or bladder) in men is also synonymous that urinary incontinence can take a blow in their life for a particular time. But being equipped with these given facts will allow men to better in managing it together with their doctor.
Let it be known that men are more prone to bladder cancer compared with women. The truth is, men are 4 times more likely to be diagnosed with bladder cancer than women. It is yet unclear as to the leading cause of bladder cancer. But it happens typically when abnormal cells are growing and multiplying, which later form tumors in the bladder.
Some of the most common symptoms of bladder cancer are blood in urine and painful urination that can be felt frequently. These are also the same symptoms that are found in the presence of urinary tract infection. So, if you may be experiencing one of these two symptoms and yet you do not have a urinary tract infection, it is best to have yourself checked by a health professional to check if you may have bladder cancer.
Bladder cancer treatments may differ depending on the grade, type, and stage of bladder cancer. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy may be suggested at the onset. Or it is also your choice whether you would like to go as far as undergoing surgery to do away with the tumor or the bladder.
In addition, incontinence can also be caused by prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is prevalent among men who are 65 years old or older. Prostate cancer is characterized by abnormal cell growth in the prostate gland. The prostate is just right below the bladder and wraps around the urethra. Family history, genetics, and age are just some of the factors at play which affects men's chance of developing prostate cancer. More than that, what men eat (especially those that are high in fat) can also play a significant role in prostate cancer development.
For the most part, male incontinence has always been associated with the presence of prostate cancer. When a male has prostate cancer, their prostate becomes enlarged, obstructing the urethra. When this happens, it leads to urination issues. If a male undergoes surgery to remove the prostate, it can also pose a risk in disrupting how the bladder holds urine. More so, surgery can cause damage to the nerves responsible for controlling the bladder function. The moment that the urethra is exposed to constant radiation may result in the nerve getting thin and losing tissue layers. It can be worsened in the long run and lead to incontinence.
Men who have experienced spinal cord injury may develop urinary incontinence. The areas prone to injuries and can cause further problems are cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral. If these parts are injured, the nerves connecting these areas are hampered, causing urinary incontinence.
Of all the causes of male incontinence, the most common one is injuries. However, bear in mind that while not all males experiencing spinal cord injuries are incontinent, most of them are.
Spinal cord injuries are most common in men at the age of 15 to 35. Most of these injuries are derived from industrial accidents, playing sports, falls, and vehicular accidents. After these unlikely accidents, males must undergo treatment at once. This is so since the time between injury and treatment can have an adverse effect on the results of a given injury. Monitoring the bladder function as well as the medications you are using is of utmost importance to prevent escalation to skin irritation or urinary tract infection.
Incontinence may be a normal part of life after an injury. However, there are some ways that men can take in order to help them manage incontinence while staying comfortable and independent. It is unavoidable, though, to have damp skin when males use condom catheters, pads, and diapers. In the long run, it can also lead to infections and wounds. One example of this is the Indwelling Foley catheters that can cause urinary tract infection since bacteria thrive when urine is retained for a long time.
The food that you eat can also play a significant role in the presence of male urinary incontinence. This is so since some certain beverages and foods are culprits in irritating the bladder and aggravating the symptoms of urinary incontinence. Hence, if incontinence is triggered by diet, then doing away with certain drinks and choices will go a long way.
If you have been worrying about the urinary incontinence you are experiencing because of your diet, it is best to seek help first with your doctor. Some of the symptoms that you already are experiencing urinary incontinence include feeling that your bladder still has urine even after peeing, difficulty in urinating or only excreting small amounts of it, the inability to get to the restroom in time, and accidental leakage.
If you have a healthy bladder, you must be urinating for about 4 to 6 times a day. And no leakage problem will occur during urinating.
By being particular with the food that you eat and the beverages that you drink, you are slowly helping yourself to address diet incontinence. Here are some of the food to avoid incontinence due to diet:
Acidic Food - Some of the food that is known to be high in acidity are citrus fruits, tomatoes, and onions. These foods are known to cause irritation in the bladder that can worsen the case of urinary incontinence.
Spicy Food - These include food that is rich in cayenne pepper and chili pepper.
Alcohol - Alcohol is a diuretic that can increase urine production and bladder irritation.
Caffeinated Beverages - Just like alcohol, beverages rich in caffeine are also diuretic. Hence, it is best to avoid taking tea or coffee in the morning. This also applies even to decaffeinated drinks, as it can still affect urinary incontinence.
Chocolate - For those people who love sweets, it may be hard for them to do away chocolate from their diet. However, chocolates also contain caffeine that can have an adverse effect on urinary incontinence.
Carbonated Drinks - While fizzy drinks are refreshing, its carbonation and caffeine will only hurt your bladder. Studies have shown that carbonated drinks are one of the leading reasons for worsened symptoms of incontinence. Thus, these drinks must be avoided as much as possible.
Artificial And Sugar Sweeteners
An upset bladder becomes more affected in the presence of sugary foods. Food that has corn syrup, honey, artificial sweeteners, and real sugar may taste sweet but do not provide any good favor for your bladder.
In treating and managing urinary incontinence, a well-balanced and healthy diet must always be on the menu. It is also essential to take into account the balance of taking fluids every day to avoid not just diet incontinence but also kidney stones and dehydration.
The system responds in the regulation of the lower urinary tract, and the urine in a controlled and coordinated manner is the central nervous system. When neurological disorders such as dementia, ALS, multiple sclerosis, or Parkinson's disease attack, it can hit the lower urinary tract that makes it hard to function in the long run. When this happens, males experiencing such have neuromuscular incontinence or neurological incontinence.
In a typical setting and when a person does not have incontinence, the nerves in the body will tell your brain that the bladder is already full and needs to be emptied. However, this is not the case for people with neurological incontinence. The damaged nerve is unable to send a message to the brain about it, and an interference in the messages occur between the bladder and the brain.
High pressures in the bladder can lead to kidney function loss and urinary tract infections. Unfortunately, there are only a few treatments that one can take to recover from urinary function caused by neuromuscular or neurological incontinence. If you have one, doctors will need to conduct several tests for them to gauge how well-functioning or otherwise your lower urinary tract is. From there, recommendations will be given to you to manage the incontinence. Some of the recommendations include pelvic floor muscle exercises, medications, and even surgery.
Male Incontinence Products
It may be a hard situation a male can be in if they have urinary incontinence. It may be uncomfortable at times and require too much attention to address it. However, various products can help men to manage better the incontinence that they may be experiencing. Collection devices are becoming more popular nowadays. It includes penile sheaths that do away with the need to wear pad, hence, keeping the skin dry and avoiding urine irritation. Moreover, there are now pants and pads that come in various thicknesses. It depends on your personal preference, and the activities you are doing that define which of these collection devices can help you address urinary incompetence.
Penile sheaths have proven to be the best option for men who have urinary incontinence. Penile sheaths also come in different names such as external catheters, uridomes, and condom catheters. A penile sheath can either be a silicone or latex tube that rolls over the penis's shaft, and that can be connected to a drainage bag or catheter tube.
The sheath comes with an adhesive inside so as to make sure that it remains in place. In addition, penile sheaths also come in different sizes, which range from 20mm to 40mm. It ensures that men will have the best fit for them to avoid leaking. It best to change the sheath every 24 hours to prevent any system failure or skin irritation.
Body Worn Urinals
Another excellent option for men who are experiencing urinary incontinence is by using body-worn urinals. This alternative refers to the range of devices that men can wear over their penis and be reused. A body word urinal consists of a cover that wraps around the penis and is attached around the waist using a strap. The urinal's cover is then attached to a catheter valve or drainage bag. There are several sizes and designs available that suit best the need for men depending on their preference. The body-worn urinals are best used while walking or standing up. It is the best alternative to take, especially if you are to go on a long trip or faced the constraint of accessing the toilet at your own convenience.
Penile Compression Device
As its name suggests, the penile compression device is a small device used to put pressure on the penis to stop the urine from leaking out. This device is used for short term and temporary activities such as exercise or swimming. Among the types of urinary incontinence, the penile compression device works best for stress urinary incontinence over urgency or frequency.
The bladder incontinence pads are the most widely used and commonly known for all urinary incontinence products that are available. It can be bought in retail stores or pharmacies. It is worth noting that the bladder incontinence pads can be used in different combinations. Whether you like the thinner, disposable underwear, and more discreet pads, you can get what you prefer for in a bladder incontinence pad. in general, the bladder incontinence pads are suitable for all men. If the pad is soiled, it is best to change it at once to avoid irritated, broken, and sore skin.
Disposable Pants and Pads
The most discreet, easy-to-use, and most convenient incontinence pad available in the market are disposable pants and pads. The only downside of these is the fact that they are not environmentally-friendly and expensive. The pads are available depending on the containment of soiling or leakage from light to heavy. On the other hand, disposable pants have improved over these years. It is specifically designed to appear like normal underwear but includes an absorbent pad in the crotch area.
Disposable pants and pads also come in different designs that men can choose from. Here are some of the designs:
Disposable Liners - These liners are best for men who experience light to moderate bladder leakage. Men who are into strenuous activities should avoid using it since it can slip from its place.
Disposable Pouches/Leafs - It boasts of it's being discreet, which is sought-after for men. It helps men with light bladder leakage.
Disposable Pants - It looks like normal underwear that men wear every day. The only difference is it has an absorbent pad that helps men with moderate to heavy bladder leakage.
Disposable All-In-Ones - If you have heavy bladder leakage, this is the best option for you. It does address not only urinary incontinence but also bowel incontinence.
Disposable T-Shape Pads - It resembles just like the disposable all-in-ones, and it is also used by males who are experiencing heavy bladder leakage. Its ease comes in wearing it while standing up and can be a belt attachment.
Washable Pants and Pads
Washable pants and pads indeed come with a high price tag. However, it has proven itself to be cost-effective in the long run. Plus, it lessens skin irritation to those people who are wearing it, especially at night. The only glaring downside of the washable pants and pads is its bulkiness, which makes it not too discreet to be worn.
Having urinary incontinence can pose a big hump along the way for males who are experiencing it. Men will surely not be able to function well if they are worried about the odors and leaks brought about by urinary incontinence. Hence, choosing the right incontinence products can go a long way without considering the unlikely circumstances that it can bring. Now you can enjoy a healthy life that you are living in. You can play golf, have a picnic with family, and watch a football game without thinking of undesirable outcomes. By choosing the right incontinence products that consider the unpredictability of urine, the movement of your penis, comfort, and protection, you are one step ahead in taking ownership of your life. And yes, male urinary incontinence will not stop the things that keep you going. Regardless of your age, you deserve to enjoy life without worrying about what could happen next because of your urinary incontinence. After all, you are more than with the incontinence that you be experiencing now. It can be managed and the power has always been in your hands to take.