Incontinence is not a disease in itself, but rather
a symptom or result of some underlying condition.
Male incontinence is usually caused by a damaged sphincter, the circular muscle that controls the flow of urine out of the bladder. When damaged—in men, often due to removal of the prostate to treat cancer—the sphincter cannot squeeze and close off the urethra. This causes the urine to leak.
Prostate problems and the treatments required to correct them are the most frequent causes of urinary incontinence in men.
Common prostate problems:
- Prostatitis is infection of the prostate gland and may have to do with a urinary tract infection. It is more common in younger men.
- Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) causes the prostate to get bigger over a period of time, usually starting in middle age. About 1 in 4 men will need surgery or medical treatment for this problem. BPH does not lead to cancer.
- Prostate cancer may be found at first without any symptoms. It is a fairly common cancer, the chances of getting it increases with age; however it is usually one of the most responsive to treatment.
Because early diagnosis is key to successful treatment, doctors recommend yearly prostate exams for men over the age of 50. Men with a family history of prostate cancer should begin these checkups at age 40.
Most men have temporary incontinence following surgery for prostate cancer. The degree to which incontinence occurs, and the severity of it, varies with each man. While incontinence can be distressing, there are many treatments and management options available. Using absorbent products will help you maintain a normal lifestyle while you are working to regain bladder control.
Depend® Guards for Men, for example, are specially designed for the male anatomy.
The good news is that it generally lessens within six months to one year. In many cases, continence is fully restored.
Male urinary incontinence can also be caused by other medical conditions, including nervous system disorders or injury (Parkinson’s disease, stroke or spinal cord injury); certain medications, nutritional deficiencies, obstructed urination; some types of surgery; and certain birth defects or chronic medical conditions such as diabetes.
The good news is that, in many cases, incontinence can be cured and it can always be managed.