Male Urinary Incontinence
Many men accidentally leak urine, have an urgent need to go or need to urinate too frequently. But incontinence of any sort is not something you have to live with.
The experts at Henry Ford understand that living with incontinence takes a toll on your lifestyle. Worrying about whether you can get to the bathroom in time may keep you from doing activities you enjoy.
Incontinence is an embarrassing but common problem for men — especially as they get older. It is also very treatable. Our expert team of urologists is here to help.
What is urinary incontinence?
Any urine leakage or inability to control your bladder is called urinary incontinence. There are several types of urinary incontinence in men, including.
- Stress incontinence: Certain activities put stress or pressure on the bladder. Under pressure, small amounts of urine can leak out of a full bladder. This can happen when you cough, laugh, sneeze, run or jump.
- Urge incontinence: Urge incontinence is also called overactive bladder. You experience a strong urge to urinate, even when your bladder isn’t full. You may accidentally lose urine because your need to go is so urgent.
- Urinary frequency: Needing to go to the bathroom more frequently than you used to (sometimes every 30 to 60 minutes) is a type of incontinence.
- Mixed incontinence: Many men experience a mix of incontinence symptoms.
Urinary incontinence causes
Incontinence in men happens more frequently with age. But it is not an inevitable part of getting older. Several treatable factors can lead to incontinence in men, including:
- Nerve damage: Diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease or diabetes can damage the nerves that control your bladder. When those nerves don’t work properly, you may leak urine.
- Prostatitis: This benign (noncancerous) prostate condition results in groin pain and urinary problems. You may have burning when you urinate or need to urinate more often.
- Enlarged prostate: It’s common for the prostate gland to get bigger as you age. An enlarged prostate is also called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). As the prostate grows, it can squeeze the urethra, making it difficult to control urine flow.
- Prostate surgery: Surgery to remove an enlarged prostate (benign or cancerous) often leads to urinary incontinence. In most cases, incontinence is temporary.
Urinary incontinence treatment
With the right treatment plan, most men find relief from urinary incontinence. At Henry Ford, our experts offer several approaches to help improve bladder control and prevent urine leakage. We have the expertise to effectively treat even complex cases of urinary incontinence.
Your personalized care plan may include one or more of these treatments:
- Physical therapy: After prostate surgery, you may need to retrain the pelvic floor muscles that help support and control your bladder. Our physical therapists work with you to create a treatment plan.
- Dietary changes: Avoid or limit certain foods and drinks (like caffeine, alcohol and spicy foods) that irritate your bladder and worsen urge incontinence.
- Medication: We can prescribe drugs that help calm the bladder and improve overactive bladder symptoms.
- Bladder training: If you have to urinate frequently, it may help to train your bladder to hold more urine. Bladder training involves going to the bathroom on a schedule and gradually increasing the time between bathroom visits.
- Botulinum toxin type A (Botox®): Injecting Botox into the bladder can slow the contractions that lead to leakage and overactive bladder.
- Neuromodulation: We use nerve-stimulating techniques (neuromodulation) to improve communication with the nerves that control urination. These techniques are especially effective for treating overactive bladder.
- Surgery: If other methods have not improved the incontinence, your urologist may recommend surgery. We use minimally invasive techniques that safely and effectively treat incontinence with a quick recovery time. Learn more about surgery for male incontinence.