Urinary incontinence in men is often related to prostate problems. The prostate is a male reproductive gland that is located just below the bladder. It plays an important role in fertility by producing some of the fluids contained in semen, the liquid that transports sperm. But as men grow older, the prostate enlarges and blocks the flow of urine. This article will describe how prostate problems can make urination difficult and lead to urinary incontinence.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
The prostate goes through two main growth periods as a man ages. The first is in early puberty and the second begins around age 25. It continues to grow throughout adulthood, and approximately half of all men will have an enlarged prostate by age 60. This is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and it can cause problems with urination. Symptoms of BPH include:
- Incomplete emptying: Feeling like your bladder is full even after you urinate
- Frequency: Needing to urinate often, sometimes every 1-2 hours
- Urgency: Feeling like you need to urinate right away and you can’t wait
- Weak stream: Taking a long time to urinate with trickling or slow flow
- Nocturia: Getting up more than twice during the night more to pass urine
- Straining: Feeling like you need to forcefully push urine out of the bladder
If BPH becomes severe, you might not be able to pass urine at all. This is an emergency that must be treated right away.
How can an enlarged prostate cause incontinence?
Over time, some men with enlarged prostate glands may experience episodes of urinary incontinence. This is because the bladder undergoes changes as it continually struggles to release urine. The muscles of the bladder can suddenly contract without warning, causing men to have urge incontinence when they cannot make it to the bathroom in time. They may wind up with a small leak or soaked clothing. BPH can also prevent the bladder from fully emptying during urination so that it becomes overfilled and stretched beyond capacity. When this happens, overflow incontinence may occur when small amounts of urine continually leak out of the bladder. In fact, prostate problems are the most common cause of overflow incontinence.
Dealing with prostate-related incontinence
Lifestyle changes may help improve symptoms of BPH, including overflow and urge incontinence. Limiting caffeine and alcohol intake is a good first step as they aggravate the bladder and encourage it to release urine without any warning. There is also a strong connection between bowel health and prostate function. When the bowel becomes packed with hard stool, it puts pressure on the prostate gland and worsens BPH symptoms. Exercising, drinking plenty of water every day and eating fiber-rich foods can help stool move through the digestive tract and prevent constipation. It is also helpful to maintain a healthy weight and avoid carbonated drinks to minimize pressure on the prostate and bladder.
An important note: Even though the suggestions listed above can help minimize and prevent prostate-related incontinence, men should consult a urologist if they have symptoms that might be BPH.
Both urge and overflow incontinence can be attributed to BPH, but basic lifestyle changes can help minimize these problems. If incontinence remains a problem after consulting with a urologist, protective underwear and pads might be a good idea. For chronic incontinence problems, a SaniSnooze™ mattress cover is an ideal solution for children and adults of all ages. It completely protects the mattress to ensure maximum comfort and therapeutic sleep. SaniSnooze™ is the most convenient, cost-effective solution for incontinence, allowing users and caregivers to rest easily. Additional incontinence supplies are also available, including protective underwear and pads.
**The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. If you are having a severe and sudden change in physical or mental health, please call 911, contact a local emergency facility or consult with your doctor. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider, and never disregard the advice given because of information you have received from our website.**