Incontinence is defined as the inability to properly control the discharge of urine. The condition is very common in women because of childbirth but there are several Incontinence Types in Men as well. Incontinence also becomes more prevalent in people who are older making it seem like a normal part of aging. It isn’t however and the association only developed because the older we become, the more vulnerable we are to diseases and dysfunctions that cause incontinence.
What are the main Incontinence Types in Men?
There are 5 main incontinence types in men. They are distinguished based on the particular cause of the incontinence as well as the manner in which urine is involuntarily lost.
This type of incontinence is actually diagnosed to be more prevalent in women than in men. In this case, loss of urine happens when the person laughs, coughs, sneezes or performs a physically demanding activity. The mentioned activities all apply pressure to the abdominal and pelvic region which causes stress on the bladder. With this type of incontinence, the person already has a week (permanent) or weakened (temporary) bladder and urethra. So when the pressure comes in, the sphincter, the muscle that blocks the bladder opening, isn’t able to prevent the discharge of urine.
Stress incontinence can either be permanent or temporary. Causes of this type of incontinence in men are:
- Surgery (prostate or pelvic area)
- An injured urethra
- And medication
This is probably the most embarrassing of the 5 incontinence types in men. In this case, the person feels the “urgency” to void his bladder but is unable to do so appropriately. Loss of urine happens for no apparent reason and it is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause. In most cases however, urgency incontinence is caused by the inappropriate contraction of the detrusor muscle (muscle of the bladder). Most medical practitioners refer to this case as an overly sensitive or over reactive bladder.
Main causes of Urgency incontinence are:
- Nerve damage
- Damaged nervous system (brain and spinal cord)
- Muscle damage
With this type of incontinence, the bladder is blocked and urine is collected until it starts overflowing. This causes “dribbling” or small leaks of urine because of the overflow from the bladder. A common occurrence with this incontinence type in men is for the patient to feel like he needs to urinate because the bladder is full. However, when he tries nothing comes out because of an internal blockage.
Common causes of this are:
- An enlarged prostate or Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
- Dysfunctional urinary bladder (Neurogenic Bladder)
Incontinence types in men normally result from a disease or an internal dysfunction. With Functional Incontinence however it is slightly different. Sufferers of Functional Incontinence are people who are unable to reach the bathroom because of some physical or mental disability. So it could be because a person is paraplegic, not in his right mind or paralyzed.
Causes or conditions that lead to this type of incontinence in men are:
- Severe depression
- Lack of motor skills
- Poor eyesight or total blindness
This is a combination of two incontinence types in men, namely stress and urgency incontinence. Symptoms of both incontinence types can be present although some may be more prevalent than others. Since mixed incontinence is a combination of stress and urgency incontinence, it shares the causes of both.
Common Treatments for all Incontinence Types in Men
Treatment for incontinence is normally dependent on the type of incontinence and its main cause. However there are several treatments that are commonly prescribed for all incontinence types in men.
Lifestyle change – patients are instructed to eat healthy, drink lots of water, stop smoking, stop drinking alcohol and avoid too much stress.
- Behavioral treatment – Involves a scheduled voiding of the bladder in order to prevent unexpected loss of urine. It is essentially a form of “training” to increase ones control of the bladder and awareness of the need to urinate.
Kegel exercises – strengthens the pelvic floor muscles that supports the bladder. This not only improves ones control over his bladder but it can also lead to an improved sex life.