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What is Male Urinary Incontinence and How can it be treated?

What is Male Urinary Incontinence and How can it be treated?


Men usually do not want to talk about male urinary incontinence. Yet, it is a condition that can affect males at any stage during their life. There are numerous reasons as to why men experience urinary incontinence that are not age related. You can manage and prevent male urinary incontinence.

Urinary incontinence in men refers to the unintentional loss of urine. This occurs when the bladder’s sphincter muscle weakens and is unable to control the flow of urine. Men can suffer from three types of urinary incontinence:

  • Stress incontinence – this involves the loss of urine during actions such as coughing, sneezing or while lifting heavy objects
  • Urge incontinence – this involves the involuntary loss of urine following an overwhelming need to urinate that can’t be stopped.
  • Overflow incontinence – this refers to the constant need to urinate frequently yet only in small amounts.

Diagnosing Male Urinary Incontinence

In order to diagnose the cause of male urinary incontinence, it is important to provide a full medical history and have a physical exam with a general practitioner. As there are many reasons for the onset of urinary incontinence, it is important to pinpoint the exact cause before treatment can take place. The following is a list of factors that can increase the risk of developing urinary incontinence:

  • Age – As men grow older, the muscles that control bladder function begin to lose strength which can lead to urge and overflow incontinence.
  • Obesity – Excess weight can also play a big factor in male urinary incontinence. Your  bladder function and control decrease when the bladder muscles are placed under pressure.
  • Nervous System – Conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease and diabetes can over time cause nerve damage which in turn affects the muscles of the bladder.
  • Prostate Enlargement – Most men experience prostate enlargement in their lifetime. As the prostate gland grows, it can block the urethra and cause overflow incontinence.
  • Prostate Removal – Many men who have had surgery to remove their prostate due to cancer can experience incontinence issues. This can be caused by damage made to the pelvic floor muscles and nerves around the bladder.

Strengthening Exercises

Strengthening exercises such as pelvic floor exercises can be very beneficial in the management of male urinary incontinence symptoms. Your physiotherapist will tailor a treatment programme to specifically suit your type of urinary incontinence. Pelvic floor exercises such as kegel exercises help to tone and tighten the muscles that surround your bladder. By engaging these muscles and holding them for a period of 5 seconds starting off can help rehabilitate these muscles and reduce the symptoms of urinary incontinence.

Here at Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic, our clinic director, Aileen MaGuire is an expert in the management of urinary and bowel incontinence for both males and females. If you would like to book an appointment or have any questions, contact us here.

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