It’s a taboo subject – no one wants to talk about incontinence. The fact is, the myths of incontinence often obstruct people from getting the help they need to live an active lifestyle. Knowing the truth about incontinence can help relieve any embarrassment of the condition.
Over 2 million men suffer from incontinence 1 . You are not alone.
What is urinary incontinence?
Bladder (or urinary) incontinence is the unintentional loss of urine. It is a serious problem that men are reluctant to discuss with others. When the muscle (sphincter) that holds the bladder neck closed is not strong enough to retain urine in the bladder, the result is urinary incontinence.
Incontinence may occur when:
- The sphincter is too weak
- The bladder muscles contract strongly
- The bladder is not emptied regularly
In men, urinary incontinence often is related to a medical problem or a treatment involving:
- The prostate gland
- Enlargement (benign prostatic hyperplasia, BPH)
- Prostate removal due to cancer
What are the types of incontinence?
Stress Incontinence: The accidental release of urine when pressure is applied to the bladder, such as when you cough, sneeze, laugh or lift something heavy. This is the most common type of incontinence post-prostate cancer.
Urge Incontinence: When the bladder contracts at the wrong time giving you the feeling that you have to urinate immediately even if you may have just emptied your bladder.
Overflow Incontinence: Characterized by leaking when the bladder does not empty properly. This can be due to other medical conditions such as an enlarged prostate or a narrowing of the urethra.
Total Incontinence: Continual leakage of urine due to complete sphincter deficiency.
1. “What Every Man Should Know.” www.nafc.org. National Association For Continence, n.d. Web. 11 June. 2010. < http://www.nafc.org/index.php?page=what-every-man-should-know/ >