When discussing bladder problems, conversation around the topic is usually reserved for women. However, bladder issues can also affect men, most notably those over the age of 60. As men age, the muscles around the bladder begin to weaken, and a host of problems can present themselves if left unchecked. Fortunately, the warning signs are visible ahead of time and there are measures that men can take earlier on in life in order to prevent bladder issues and incontinence. This article will help you identify these warning signs so that you may take preemptive measures towards better health.
The urinary tract system is a complicated place. Kidneys, nerves, muscles, and the prostate have to work in unison to eliminate urea, urine and other waste that the body produces. For men, a blockage can occur when damage is done to any part of the urinary tract system, explained here in detail.
Each day the kidneys filter out about 120 to 150 quarts of blood to produce about 1 to 2 quarts of urine. A healthy urinary tract is important because it filters extra fluid from the bloodstream, helping to make red blood cells strong. It also keeps bones strong by keeping electrolyte levels stable.
One of the problems that can begin early in life is an overactive bladder. Overactive bladder is characterized by a constant urge to urinate, difficulties controlling flow, bladder leaks and nighttime urination. According to a report by Bel Marra Health, nearly 30 percent of the 33 million Americans that live with an overactive bladder are men.
Overactive bladder most commonly presents itself early on in a young child’s life when he wets the bed. This can be caused by simply drinking too many fluids before bedtime. Other times it may be caused by weak muscles – precisely the muscles that control the stoppage of urine. If you know the male side of your family is genetically predetermined to experience issues relating to the prostate, you may have experienced overactive bladder or nocturia as a child. An all natural way to remedy this is by strengthening your core and also by doing kegel exercises. Learning to control nocturia may be as simple as drinking less fluids before bed, and training your body to “hold it in” until you wake up in the morning.
However, if the cause of your overactive bladder is an enlarged prostate, then you may need to seek more serious medical options. When in your teens, 20’s and 30’s it is best to stay ahead of the problem by strengthening your core and becoming the master of your own bladder.
Enlarged Prostate (BPH)
There are two periods in a man’s life in which his prostate will grow: one during early puberty, and another during a man’s mid 20’s. Enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate. BPH does not increase a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer, nor does it affect a man’s ability to father children however the warning signs can be symptomatic of a weak urinary tract area.
Some of the problems commonly associated with BPH are:
- Weak urine stream
- Dribbling (not being able to fully start or stop control when urinating)
- A sense that your bladder is not completely empty even after you urinate
For a list of natural remedies for BPH click here. Some of the other treatments for BPH (and urinary incontinence in general) include:
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine
- Practice starting and stopping urine flow – this will strengthen your muscles at the base of your core
- Avoid high caloric foods, including fats and sugars
- Lose weight – there is a direct correlation between the extra weight on your midsection and excess pressure put on your bladder
- Schedule toilet trips – go before you have to go, not when your body is putting pressure on you to go. Remember, it’s about being in control!
Urinary incontinence is the unintentional loss of urine. Urinary incontinence can be caused by a variety of factors including weak or damaged bladder muscles, overactive bladder muscles, nerve damage or kidney damage.
Different types of urinary incontinence exist, including stress, urge, and overflow incontinence. These different types are explained here in more detail. The first step in addressing urinary incontinence is to talk with your health-care provider. The tips given above should help get you started, and will oftentimes be the first piece of advice a health care provider will issue.
However, if you have been suffering with incontinence for a longer period of time (i.e. months and years, not weeks) you may speak to your urologist or general health care provider about one of these options:
- Physical examination – which will give your doctor a general idea about the size of your prostate and any nerve damage in the surrounding area
- EEG and EMG – in order to measure nerve activity and muscular activity
- Ultrasound and Transrectal Ultrasound – to get a better picture of your abdomen, bladder and kidneys
- Urodynamic Testing – to test the strength of your sphincter control mechanism
If you or a loved one have urinary incontinence, and these above tips seem to be yielding no beneficial result, then you may have need for incontinence products. If you’ve been battling with incontinence for months and years, then it may be time to switch from disposables over to incontinence briefs.