Urinary Incontinence in Men
Strongman, a Past Remembrance
The robust health of youth seems to vanish in an instant. That may be a perception many men feel with age. Virility diminished, energy waning, enthusiasm for favored activities, a thing of the past and health issues become the focus. Paramount is the concern to maintain one’s personal image. Urinary incontinence is at the top of the list. Education on this topic offers management for an aging issue.
The male urinary system includes internal as well as external components. Causes and types of urinary incontinence are similar to those experienced by women. The physical structure of the male body, lifestyle and habits over a lifetime could be contributing factors leading to urinary incontinence.
Types of Urinary Incontinence
The definition of types of urinary incontinence means a name is given for symptoms reported. A short review of types is presented for reference.
- A. Stress Incontinence – small amounts of urine leak when pressure is placed on the bladder.
- B. Urge Incontinence – a sudden, strong and urgent impulse to urinate accompanied by loss of urine.
- C. Overflow Incontinence – an involuntary flow or dribble of urine due to pressure on the bladder or another dysfunction in the lower urinary tract system.
- D. Functional Incontinence – occurs due to physical or mental impairment in which the person is unaware of the need to urinate.
- E. Mixed Incontinence – a combination of types may be experienced with multiple causes.
Causes for Urinary Incontinence in Men
Failure in the urinary tract system to perform as designed can occur in many places within the lower urinary tract. Causes for urinary incontinence are similar to those women experience. These include weak or damaged bladder muscles, weakened pelvic floor muscles, urinary tract infections, nerve damage seen in disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis or other debilitating neurological diseases, overweight, deterioration due to age, ailments creating obstructions and other conditions undefined.
Men have gendered specific causes for urinary incontinence. Changes in the prostate gland due to the aging process or lifestyle activities may be causes for urinary incontinence. A combination of components may exist at the same time to affect urinary incontinence. Years of high blood sugars in diabetic men, may impair the nerve stimuli for control of bladder functions. Abnormalities of nerve innervation caused by neurological ailments such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis influence urinary incontinence. The ability of the bladder to empty properly due to elder men’s prostate gland changes, prostate cancer or other blockage conditions may impede efficient urine outflow.
Often aging is accompanied by a deterioration in the integrity of muscles, tissues and structures. The diminished ability of the lower urinary tract system to function optimally may present some form of urinary incontinence in many elderly men.
“Since a gendered specific cause for urinary incontinence in men relates to the prostate gland, a closer look at this gland will illuminate how it affects urinary incontinence. The prostate gland is part of the male reproductive system. Located below the bladder, it wraps around the superior portion of the urethra. In males, the urethra begins internally from the bladder, proceeds through the prostate gland and extends externally through the penis. The most common affliction, seen in elder men is benign prostate enlargement (BPH). Benign means noncancerous. Growth of prostate tissue may apply pressure on the bladder and urethra stimulating the urge to void or dribble urine. Constant pressure on the bladder incites bladder muscles to contract signaling a need to urinate when the bladder is not full. Persistent pressure on the bladder, affects its ability to function correctly.”
The lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) associated with the development of BPH rarely occur before age 40, and more than half of men in their sixties, seventies, and eighties have some form of LUTS abnormality. Most of the common symptoms vary but 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 incontinence.
Causes Related to Types of Urinary Incontinence
Weak Pelvic Floor Muscles – means a breakdown in the integrity of the pelvic floor muscles. One cause is related to weight from abdominal structures pressing on the bladder located above pelvic floor muscles. Urinary incontinence can be present due to overweight, constipation, lifting heavy objects, vigorous exercise and deterioration due to age are a few examples. Other ailments to weaken or damage bladder muscles and may also be causes for urinary incontinence. Stress Incontinence (SI) exists when small amounts of urine leak with coughing, sneezing, laughing, lifting heavy objects or when other abdominal pressure is applied on the bladder. This is a symptom of the lower urinary tract system.
Nerve Impairment – may be due to a breakdown with nerve intervention signaling bladder and/or urethra muscles to action. Ailments such as an overactive bladder (OAB) is example of Urge Incontinence (UI). Urgency and/or frequency may also be experienced with an overactive bladder. Nerve impairment may affect other areas in the bladder to interrupt the normal process of voiding and cause urinary incontinence regardless of location or severity.
Bladder Muscle Weakness or Damage – The microorganisms of urinary tract infections (UTI) become an irritant on bladder muscles effecting urinary incontinence. Constant pressure of a prostate’s enlargement (BPH) weaken bladder muscles. Impaired nerve impulses stimulating bladder muscles to contract or relax may be the cause for urinary incontinence. The presence of some neurological diseases may cause a general or specific effect on lower urinary tract structures. Obstructions or other anomalies may be factors as well. In this category overflow is the symptom seen. Urge incontinence (UI) is the type.
Indirect Causes for Urinary Incontinence in Men
Indirect causes are unrelated to impairement of lower urinary tract structures. Prescription medications, such as diuretics and other pharmaceuticals, food stimulants, mobility constraints, emotional stress, generalized body weakness prevents timely movement to a bathroom are a few conditions that affect urinary incontinence.
A New Horizon
Urinary incontinence in men is a complex topic due to its enormous and varied conditions for abnormality. Knowledge of normal functions for all components of the urinary system is essential to understand the potentials for dysfunction. Each area of the urinary system requires its own unique set of circumstances for urinary incontinence to develop. Due to the unique nature of urinary incontinence, treatment and resolution is specific for each area affected.
Varied considerations incorporating total management need to be addressed. Paramount is to initiate a method for management, medications, lifestyle changes, diet/fluid management, personal assistance when indicated and medical intervention when appropriate. These are direct items for consideration. Indirect components include relief of stress related to emotional unrest due to shame or embarrassment. Reestablishing a sense of personal value may be enhanced when control of urinary incontinence has been established.
The ultimate goal here, is symptomatic relief management for an untenable situation. Knowledge and understanding of urinary incontinence is a beginning.
As long as we live, our life paths are challenged with obstacles to overcome. Management of urinary incontinence is such an obstacle. Joy, comfort, ease of living, happiness and the ability to resume fun and pleasurable activities for self and family is the aim for presenting this information.
New horizons appear for exhilaration and hope to achieve an enhanced well-being and to be able to declare I have won.
Please leave any questions or concerns you have at the email address below. I will be happy to respond to your request with suggestions or referrals.