Urinary Incontinence in Men

What is Urinary Incontinence?

Bladder control problems range from urinating too frequently to actual urine leakage (urinary incontinence). Urinary incontinence affects millions of people every year yet, many men feel too embarrassed to discuss the issue with their doctor, allowing the problem to continue to interfere with quality of life.

Fortunately for men, the urologists at UAR understand how difficult it can be to open up about urinary incontinence. Rest assured our urologists can help alleviate your symptoms and restore your quality of life. Our experienced urologists can recommend many new treatments to cure or manage your incontinence, letting you resume a normal life free from worry and shame.

There are several types of incontinence and some men experience more than one kind.

  • Urge Incontinence (Overactive Bladder) – Urine leaks when the bladder inappropriately contracts, and you may not be able to get to the bathroom quickly enough.
  • Stress Incontinence – Exercising, coughing, sneezing or other activities put pressure on a weakened bladder sphincter and cause leaks.
  • Overflow Incontinence – In this type of incontinence, which mostly affects men, you don’t feel the urge to urinate, your bladder doesn’t empty well and small amounts of urine may leak continuously.
  • Total incontinence – This is the continuous leakage of urine.
  • Mixed incontinence – This is a combination of any of the above types of urinary incontinence.

What Causes Urinary Incontinence in Men?

Certain diseases and conditions that damage nerves can lead to urinary incontinence including:

  • Diabetes
  • Neurological conditions such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis can all affect the brain and nervous system and often cause bladder control problems.
  • Spinal cord injuries can interrupt the nerve signals required to control the bladder

Prostate Conditions

Men who have prostate conditions often experience some type of bladder control issues at some point in their lives.

  • BPH: Enlarged prostate is common as men age. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or enlarged prostate affects the flow of the urine from the bladder through the urethra and can cause changes in bladder function.  Enlarged prostate causes a number of urinary symptoms including:  weak urine stream, urinary urgency and leakage, frequent urination, nocturia, as well as overactive bladder.
  • Radical prostatectomy: Complete surgical removal of the prostate gland (radical prostatectomy) is a common treatment option for men with prostate cancer.  The procedure, which can be performed as an open or a robotic laparoscopic surgery, can cause nerve and/or muscle damage in the area surrounding the prostate, leading to urinary incontinence.

Prostate cancer surgery may weaken the pelvic floor muscles and the urinary sphincter that controls urine flow. As a result, some men experience urine leakage or even an inability to control urination. In these cases, your urologist will advise you to begin pelvic floor muscle exercises to help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles to help restore some bladder control.

  • Radiation Therapy:  External beam radiation therapy is used to treat prostate cancer that is confined to the prostate or has spread only to nearby tissue. The treatment may result in temporary changes in frequency and urgency of urination or, can lead to more permanent bladder problems.