You are not alone, Many Men Battle Incontinence.
Does your bladder seem to have a mind of its own? You’re not alone. Incontinence is common and treatable. About 3.4 million men in the U.S. have accidental leakage of urine, aka: Urinary Incontinence, (UI)1 and the Canadian Urinary Bladder Survey reports that 16% of Men and 33% of Women over the age of 40 have symptoms of UI, yet only 26% have mentioned the issue with their doctor2.
Most men may think buying maxi-pads for their partner is embarrassing enough, so buying cup-shape incontinence-pads for themselves may be emotionally debilitating.
Even women who start dealing with their own incontinence may mistakenly choose a heavy menstrual pad over a proper pad for incontinence. When there are concerns about order control, skin protection and proper absorbency, the National Association for Continence says you are doing yourself a huge disservice if you think you will be able to manage leaks with maxi pads3. Feeling shy or shameful about incontinence is history. Today’s technology assures that you not only get the most absorbent polymers packed for a close discreet fit, but you can also order Unisex or Male incontinence products online, shipped discreetly to your door.
Types of Incontinence
- Leaks from laughing, lifting, coughing or sneezing? These actions put abdominal pressure on the bladder and may trigger Stress Incontinence.
- When walls within the bladder are contracting uncontrollably, you have an Overactive Bladder (OAB). This is often followed by involuntary loss of urine following a strong urge to urinate that cannot be stopped, referred to as Urge Incontinence.
- Mixed incontinence is a combination of stress and urge incontinence.
- Urinating in small amounts too frequently (+8x a day & +2x at night), or constant dribbling of urine is known as Overflow Incontinence.
Blame Muscles & Nerves
The urinary system needs to have the cooperation of the muscles and nerves working together to hold urine until the right time to release. Any injury, condition or disease can lead to urinary problems at most any age, though more common after age 40. Diabetes can develop nerve damage that affects control of the bladder, and nerve problems may also derive from a Stroke, Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis, all of which affect the nervous system, so they may also cause bladder emptying issues. Sometimes UI can develop for reasons we don't completely understand, like overactive bladder. To get you the right treatment, your doctor will need to find the cause of the problem. To help your doctor understand your food/water intake, see Train & Track Your Bladder below.
A regular walnut is the approximate size and shape of a normal prostate. This male gland surrounds the urethra just below the bladder, where it adds fluid to semen before ejaculation. The prostate gland often starts to become enlarged in males over the age of 40. This condition is called Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) or Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases says as the prostate enlarges, it could squeeze the urethra, affecting the flow of the urinary stream. The Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (LUTS) associated with the development of BPH rarely occur before age 40, but more than half of men in their sixties and up to 90 percent in their seventies and eighties have some LUTS. The most common symptoms involve changes or problems with urination, such as a hesitant, interrupted, weak stream; urgency and leaking or dribbling; more frequent urination, especially at night; and urge incontinence4.
Men Manage Symptoms
Your doctor may suggest some medication to relax the bladder or to shrink the prostate, or surgical options could be suggested like an implanted artificial sphincter or male sling. Not ready for surgery or pills? Try spacing out your fluid intake throughout daylight hours, and cut back before bed. Still, be careful to stay properly hydrated. When you're not drinking enough fluid your urine becomes concentrated which can lead to complications such as bladder infections and make urinary incontinence worse1.
Think before your drink alcohol, soda or caffeine as these beverages can irritate the bladder. Also adjusting the types of food you eat can help or hinder your comfort. Avoid spicy, acidic foods, and cut back on chocolate and artificial sweeteners.
Reducing stress is easier said than done, especially while dealing with continence care, but learning some simple relaxation techniques like meditation or deep breathing exercises should clarify a more peaceful path to cope. With practice you can relax your body and have more control reacting to stress.
Train & Track Your Bladder
Ever train an animal to do tricks? It takes planning, time and a lot of patience, but if you are persistent you will have Spot rolling over and playing dead before no time. Same with training your own bladder. Start by going to the bathroom every hour on the hour, even if you don't feel the urge. After time you can gradually space out your bathroom breaks by a few hours, leaving no scent nor spot on your pants. Track how much fluid you are consuming and how often you are visiting the urinal. Also note when you have any leaks and what activity you were engaged in. This documentation will be valuable to you and the tailored treatment your doctor may recommend.
Protective Underwear and Pad options
The type of protective underwear or pad you choose will depend on your unique situation. The best choice for severe urinary incontinence may be highly absorbent guards engineered for a man's body or disposable underwear with soft cloth-like outer fabric. Look for the absorbency level noted on any Unisex or Male guard, pad or brief. Guys with less severe symptoms could use less protection. Pads can be tucked into Men's everyday close-fitting underwear and are attach with adhesive tabs. They're designed for light to moderate leaking.