Urinary incontinence in men is not uncommon, affecting between 2-15% of men between the ages of 15 and 64. The stats are higher for men over 65. While it’s not something to be overly worried about, it’s probably something you’d want to avoid or get treated for if you could. With this in mind, we’ll be going through 5 causes of urinary incontinence in men to help you recognise when you might need to seek treatment, or invest in specialist incontinence products for men.
1. Existing Medical Conditions
Sometimes medical conditions can cause complications that lead to incontinence. In men, prostate enlargement is probably the most common reason. As men age from around 40 onwards, the prostate gets bigger. This can block the urethra and cause overflow incontinence (the different types of urinary incontinence are described on NHS Choices).
Treatment for prostate cancer can also cause urinary incontinence. Removing the prostate can damage the pelvic floor muscles and nerves around the bladder, which in turn can cause leakage. About half of men have some sort of temporary incontinence after surgery, and about 20% have recurring issues a year later.
Other medical conditions that can have an effect are diabetes, strokes and spine injuries. Each of these causes nerve damage which can contribute to urinary incontinence. Parkinson’s disease, which affects more men than women, is also a common instigator.
Like most other medical conditions, diet can be a significant contributing factor in issues leading to incontinence. There’s not a ‘one size fits all’ solution, but rather a few recurring issues that affect different men.
Spicy foods are known to trigger incontinence issues, and make existing urinary issue worse. If you’re a keen curry fan, you might need to tone that vindaloo down to a korma! Highly acidic foods are much the same – this includes citrus fruit such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes.
We would recommend keeping a food diary to track and monitor your daily eating habits. Note everything that you eat so that if the symptoms worsen, you can check what you ate recently. Remove it from your diet, and observe any changes – if your symptoms are alleviated, then it was most likely that particular food causing the issue.
Unsurprisingly, what you drink has an impact on urinary incontinence. Alcohol is diuretic, which means that it forces your body to produce more urine. Drinking large quantities of alcohol on a regular basis should be avoided in order to prevent incontinence.
Caffeinated drinks also have similar effects. That means drinks such as tea and coffee should also be drunk in moderation in order to lessen symptoms of incontinence. You’ll also find caffeine in fizzy drinks, so we would recommend cutting down on your favourite colas and lemonades too.
Being overweight can cause urinary incontinence, and make existing cases worse, when combined with other factors. As men get older, the muscles in the bladder get weaker, meaning that it can’t hold the same amount of fluid for the same amount of time as it usually would. Extra weight in combination with weaker muscles can only lead to further problems.
5. Medicines You’re Already Taking
Before talking to the GP about the possibility of having urinary incontinence, check through any medicines that you’re already taking to see if they could have an effect. If you’re taking diuretics, then they are designed to produce a greater urine flow, but if you lose control of your bladder then that is an issue. Speak to a doctor should you fear this is the case.
Antihistamines and antidepressants can sometimes also cause similar effects. Again, because these medications are important in dealing with other issues, make sure you seek out professional advice rather than taking matters into your own hands.
If you have urinary incontinence, or feel like you may have it, have a look at our range of incontinence products for men. They are designed for a discreet fit with the upmost efficiency, and will help you feel better both physically and mentally.