Causes of Male Incontinence
The most common causes of bladder leaks in men and the best ways to address them with treatment and protective hygiene.
Though bladder leakage is often presented as a female issue, it is relatively common among men as well. Out of 25 million Americans affected by bladder and bowel leakage, 20-25% of them are men.
What Causes Bladder Leaks in Men?
Incontinence is not a disease or a natural part of aging. Actually, It's a symptom or a side effect of something else. Let's take a look at the common causes of male incontinence to get a better sense of what could be contributing to your symptoms. If one of these causes sounds plausible, you should consult your healthcare provider to go over your options.
Common Causes of Incontinence in Men
- Enlarged prostate
- Repetitive work-related activities (e.g. heavy lifting)
- Smoking and lung disease
- Poor nutrition
- Certain foods and beverages
- Previous urinary tract or renal problems
- Loss of pelvic muscle tone
- Pelvic surgery or trauma
- Neuromuscular impairments
- Neurological disorders and stroke
- Cognitive impairments (e.g. Alzheimer's)
- Medication side effects
- Urinary tract infection
- Other systemic disorders that restrict mobility and bodily functions
Effects of an Enlarged Prostate on Male Bladder Leaks
Poor prostate health is one of the most common causes of male bladder leaks because it's closely tied to bladder function. Older men can experience bladder leaks due to an enlargement of the prostate gland, a condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia. In fact, men with prostate gland problems are at increased risk of urge and overflow incontinence. Male bladder leaks can also be the result of untreated prostate cancer, or a side effect of treatment.
Warning signs of BPH and Prostate Cancer include several urinary symptoms. Look out for changes in the frequency of urination, especially at night, and hesitancy and dribbling during urination. Men over 40 with increased risk of developing these conditions should schedule annual prostate exams. Risk factors include family history and a diet that is low in fiber, but high in fat and red meat. Additionally, African Americans are typically at higher risk.
Treatment Options for an Enlarged Prostate
Fortunately, there are solutions: an enlarged prostate can be treated with a variety of medications and surgery. If you experience urinary incontinence or changes in urination, consult your doctor or healthcare provider as soon as possible. You'll want to discuss your symptoms and treatment options, which may include:
Alpha Blockers: Medications that relax the muscles surrounding the prostate and bladder, allowing urine to flow more easily.
5-Alpha Reductase Inhibitors: These medications shrink the prostate by reducing DHT levels, which can produce results in about three months.
TURP Surgery: Transurethral Resection of the Prostate is a standard procedure for removing the core of the prostate, which presses on the urethra.
TUIP Surgery: Transurethral Incision of the Prostate is a procedure that reduces pressure placed on the urethra through strategically placed incisions.
Laser Prostatectomy: There are several types of laser surgery that vary in technical difficulty. You should discuss laser surgery options in detail with your physician.
Transurethral Thermotherapy: This treatment uses microwave energy to heat prostate tissue.
Transurethral Electro-Vaporation: A treatment that vaporizes and clots prostate tissue to eliminate bleeding or absorption, relieving pressure placed on the urethra.
Incontinence Support, Treatment, and Education
Bladder or bowel leaks won't get better on their own, and if ignored, they might even get worse. But the good news is there are a number of relatively easy things you can do to treat or manage the condition and improve your quality of life. And the first step is consulting your healthcare provider for an assessment and plan of action.
Let's Talk About It, Guys
2 out of 3 men ages 30-70 have never discussed bladder health with their doctor, and that same percentage of men who experience loss of bladder control symptoms do not use any treatment or product to manage their incontinence. While it might be your first time bringing up bladder leaks, your healthcare provider has heard it thousands of times. And bladder health is important to discuss because whether the cause be a medical condition, an enlarged prostate, or stress, leaks are an inconvenience that can be easily managed with proper treatment and care.
Here's a breakdown of some simple treatment options. You can discuss these further with your healthcare provider to decide which feels right to start:
- Behavioral Changes
- Pelvic Floor Exercises
- Changes in Your Diet
- Protective Hygiene
Add Protective Hygiene to Your Routine
The Best Way to Manage Leaks
As you work to improve your bladder control, protective hygiene can help you manage moisture, odor, and freshness whenever leaks happen. Just like deodorant or toothpaste, protective hygiene can be used on a daily basis to keep you feeling fresh, clean, and comfortable around-the-clock. Wondering which brand to use? Prevail® is the #1 ranked protective hygiene brand in healthcare,* so we keep you dry and comfortable, even on your most active days. Check out our full range of products for men here.
*in market share by both units sold and dollars spent, based on data from GHX covering the last 4 quarters reported (Q1'17-Q4'17), wherein Healthcare is defined as Home Healthcare and Long Term Care combined and protective hygiene is defined as absorbent products for the management of incontinence in adults.
Learn More About Incontinence
You can read more about these management options in our Incontinence Treatments guide. And remember to talk with your healthcare provider; together, you can determine which type of leaks you have and the best treatment options for you.
If you're reluctant to bring up bladder health with your healthcare provider, try starting an anonymous conversation with a Prevail® eNurse™. These professional nurses are available 24/7, can answer your questions about leakage, and can help you start the conversation with your healthcare provider. When you take control of bladder and bowel leaks, they can't stop you from living life to the fullest.
Ask a Prevail eNurse™
Have a question? Our eNurse team is here to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Whether you're experiencing leaks for the first time, caring for a loved one with incontinence, or a veteran healthcare professional with questions, our team of licensed nurses have heard it all, and are ready to lend their confidential, respectful, and personalized expertise at any time.
Contact us anytime at 866-573-3776 or chat with us live Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. ET.