Urinary incontinence, or the lack of ability to control your bladder, isn’t the most glamorous subject to talk about. But, as it affects so many men, it’s an important male healthcare subject for us to discuss. Incontinence is probably the most sensitive health problem for men, in terms of having the ability to embarrass the sufferer, if guys aren’t equipped with the knowledge on how to handle incontinence.
Incontinence affects more men than you might think. In fact, it’s believe that 1 guy in every 4 is suffering from Urinary Incontinence making it extremely prevalent in society. It’s ironic that it affects so many guys but no man wants to talk about it. It’s not a subject that we can ever imagine coming up in the pub with friends or at the office. Therefore, it’s important that guys have advice, information and product recommendations available to them online for them to discover privately.
Before we get into the causes of Urinary Incontinence and the different methods to help you deal with leakage, it’s important to know that the odd leak here and there doesn’t mean that you’re incontinent and if it is a regular occurrence, you’re not alone.
Firstly, let’s understand more about male incontinence.
What Is Male Urinary Incontinence?
Summed up in 6 words, Urinary Incontinence is ‘when you can’t control your bladder’. Leaving you embarrassed, uncomfortable or sometimes emotionally stressed is you can’t understand what’s going on or why it’s happening to you. It is estimated that 3.4m men in the U.S are suffering from a leaky bladder right now. You will often hear incontinence being associated with ageing and it’s exactly that in most cases. Like the majority of our body, our internal muscles weaken as we age and fail to stop leakages.
There are a number of different types of male incontinence:
- Stress Incontinence is often caused by physical stress or movement. For example, you may experience a leak when you cough or bend over for example. The pressure on the bladder from coughing or movement triggers a leak.
- Urge Incontinence is the result of the bladder contracting when it should be. As a result, you experience an uncomfortable and sudden need to urinate that completely overwhelms you as it so intense, some claim it to completely immobilise you that it’s hard to reach the bathroom before experiencing a leakage.
- Overflow Incontinence is where your unable to empty your bladder and as a result unexpectedly experience a leak.
Not only are there the above 3 types of male Urinary Incontinence, but you can also experience a mixture of the above. For example, you can suffer from urge incontinence but then have an accident when lifting (Stress Incontinence).
See the below animation that illustrates the different types of male urinary incontinence.
What Causes Male Incontinence?
Now, don’t let this scare you but urinary incontinence in men is often a symptom of other problems, not necessarily a disease on its own.
It is often as a result Parkinson’s disease, diabetes or an enlarged prostate. It can often be caused as a result of physical stress such as prostate surgery to name a few. There could be a whole host of contributing facts that results in male incontinence, it’s important to speak to your doctor and receive all their proposed treatments that will help treat the underlying cause of your Urinary Incontinence.
How To Prevent Male Incontinence:
As incontinence impacts so many men, there are a multiple different coping strategies that guys have developed and medical advise which can help prevent a bladder leakage incident. These include:
Controlling Your Water Intake
It’s so obvious once it’s spelled out to you, but something that we’d probably never consider. Obviously the amount of liquid we intake directly affects the amount of water we expel, voluntarily or involuntarily. See our below tips to help prevent male incontinence:
- Leave gaps between each fluid intake during the day to help your bladder regulate your fluid excretion
- Cutting back on liquids before bed. Sleeping provides a 7-9hr hour rest period, where are inactive and therefore can’t voluntarily go to the toilet, unless you wake up in the night. Therefore, a large intact of water before bed is sure to increase your chances of incontinence throughout the night.
- Reduce your caffeine consumption, it’s unfair we know. Caffeine is great for stimulating you and keeping you alert, but it’s not great for urinary incontinence. Caffeine is believed to irritate the bladder, increasing the number of incontinence incidents.
- Cut out fizzy drinks, again, we know it’s unfair but carbonated drinks are believed to irritate the bladder in a similar way to caffeine.
- Minimising your alcohol intake generally helps all medical conditions, even urinary incontinence. Alcohol is a diuretic, which increases the amount of water and salt that is expelled from the body as urine. Ever noticed that you pee a lot more when you drink alcohol?
Watch What Your Eat
Weight loss and watching what your eat is great medical advise for many healthcare conditions but also general wellbeing. It’s also great for preventing male urinary incontinence:
- Healthy eating = a healthy waistline. Sudden weight gains or high-levels of body fat can put more physical pressure on the bladder, which inhibits the bladders ability to maintain normal function.
- Some foods can also increase the incidents of incontinence. Some suffers of the condition state that certain foods make their overactive bladder worse, such as spicy food. Other food such as chocolate and foods containing artificial sweeteners. Keeping a food diary can help you to identify any food triggers of your incontinence as you can link any increased frequency of leakages with foods that are often eaten around the same time.
Stress, The Modern Man’s Enemy
Stress is often linked to most conditions; depression, acne or a weakened immune system to name a few. Unfortunately, stress can also be a contributing factor for male incontinence. What sucks is that stress can contribute to a leaky bladder but also occurs due to suffering with the condition.
Try a few relaxation techniques like the below;
- Meditation or breathing exercises to help keep you relaxed
- Identify triggers of stress and try to reduce them – think about it in depth, what gets your heart racing, palms sweaty or makes you angry?
- Get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep a day
- Try traditional herbal medicinal product used for the temporary relief of the symptoms of mild anxiety and nervousness such as Kalms Lavender One-A Day.
- Exercise regularly – not only is it also great for keeping stress to a minimum but also helps to maintain a healthy weight.
- Reduce your caffeine intake
- Spend time with Family & Friends – perhaps consider sharing your situation with friends or family that you can trust. Just having someone to talk to about your problems can really help take the pressure off the situation. You may find that you’re not the only one suffering from male urinary incontinence.
Re-train Your Bladder To Stop Incontinence
Here are a few simple behavioural techniques for bladder training;
- Visit the bathroom to pee every half an hour. Even if you don’t feel the urge to pee, go to the bathroom anyway. Over time, increase the amount of time between the bathroom. Such as 45 minutes after 1 week or starting. Follow this approach until you’re able to last 3 to 4 hours between bathroom breaks.
- Pelvic muscles are vital to maintaining normal bladder function. Watch the above video if you haven’t already, as this will illustrate how important the pelvic muscles are for holding your urine. Kegel exercises help to boost the strength of your pelvic muscles. Watch the below video to learn ‘How to Kegel for Men.
Products To Help With Male Urinary Incontinence:
Good news is that there is a wide range of different products available on the market for male incontinence.
Again, we know it isn’t the most glamorous idea, but pads or disposable undergarments can help. Not only can they help to keep your try, they also stop odour. it is a misconception that incontinence pads are like ‘adult diapers’. Many modern inco pads are streamlined, comfortable and unnoticeable.
Try Boots Staydry Men’s Extra – 10 Pads for under £4. The pads are shaped and designed for men with mild to moderate bladder weakness. Features include; textile back sheet, stay fresh technology with natural odour control and super absorbing layers that rapidly tray fluid to help prevent wetness.
Shields or protectors are great to light cases of male bladder weakness. They are easy to carry and dispose of discreetly.
Try TENA Men Discreet Protection Protective Shield Extra Light for under £4. These protective shields from TENA Men help provide security again small drips and dribbles, perfect for light male bladder weakness.
- Absorbent core locks in drips and dribbles
- Unique Odour Control to prevent unwanted smells
- Comfortable shape engineered for a man’s body
- Fits securely and discreetly in your own underwear
Pants or underwear, pretty much what the names suggest; something to replace your underwear.
Tena Men Premium Fit Protective Underwear has extreme absorbency control for extra reassurance against leaks, all in a discreet underwear-like style and fit. It has been designed specifically to help camouflage the the bladder weakness pants as regular underwear; elastic waistband, discreet cut and a masculine style. These premium pants also have a odour control system with a breathable and flexible cotton-feel material. And they could be yours for under £7 for a pack of 10.
We recommend playing around with the above, as some with be more effective for you than others. We get it, life can seem pretty rubbish due to incontinence, therefore, the last thing you want is to cut back on things that help improve your mood like coffee, tea or the odd beer or wear a ‘adult nappy’. But, it needs to be done and like we’ve hopefully shown you, male bladder weakness pants are nothing like wearing a nappy. Most of completely discreet with no visible signs.