Incontinence can be an embarrassing, difficult condition to deal with, and contrary to mainstream beliefs, it is not exclusive to women. The National Association for Continence estimates that nearly 20 percent of bladder control sufferers are adult men, ages 30 and older. A third of surveyed adults believe that incontinence is simply a part of aging, but age is not necessarily a cause. If you are suffering from symptoms of a bladder control problem, you can reduce the occurrences by addressing the root cause.
For men, there are a few causes of incontinence. In cases of overflow incontinence, or urine leakage before voiding your bladder, a swollen prostate may be putting pressure on or blocking the urethra. Weak bladder muscles may be unable to contain urine until you reach the bathroom. For men with prostate problems, prostate surgery can also lead to stress incontinence. In some cases, prostate surgery can damage the nerves around the sphincter, which can weaken the bladder muscles. Regular prostate exams may catch these problems early, making it easier to manage the symptoms.
Caffeine and alcohol increase the frequency of needing to urinate, irritating the symptoms of incontinence. Reduce or eliminate caffeinated drinks, alcohol, and even carbonated products. Also, avoid smoking to reduce the chances of blood vessel damage in the bladder area, and try to maintain a healthy weight so that you do not contribute to additional stress on your bladder. Reduce your fluid intake in the evening hours if symptoms are common overnight.
Bladder training can be especially helpful in cases of incontinence due to prostate surgery. Start by visiting the restroom every 20 minutes until your bladder becomes accustomed to voiding this frequently. Stretch the interval by approximately five minutes, repeating this process as your bladder adjusts. Over time, you may be able to space your restroom visits by as much as a few hours.
Pelvic Muscle Exercises
Strengthening your pelvic muscles can increase bladder control. Tighten your pelvic floor muscle, the one used to stop the flow of urine, and hold it for a count of five. Release and repeat this 10 times for one set. Your doctor may recommend up to five sets per day to improve muscle tone.
The American Cancer Society’s research on lasting effects after prostate surgery indicates that just fewer than 30 percent of men between 55 and 74 have experienced incontinence symptoms. With increased diagnoses and treatments for these conditions, male incontinence symptoms can be cared for. If you are experiencing symptoms of male incontinence, you are not alone, and rest assured, there are incontinence briefs for men to help put your mind at ease.