Incontinence in men is the involuntary loss of urine or faeces. It’s not a disease in itself, but is often a complication of an underlying issue. Some of these problems can include weak or damaged muscles around the bladder, surgical complications, nerve damage, or problems with the prostate gland.
Although incontinence is more common as you age, it’s not necessarily a consequence of getting older, younger men may also be affected by the condition.
In recent years, there has been a lot more focus on treating male incontinence. There are products available specifically for men, with ongoing research to help better diagnose and manage the condition.
With our expert knowledge of the market, we’re on a quest to ensure we supply the best male incontinence products directly to you. We offer a wide range of quality incontinence items for men of all ages. We want you to be able to manage your incontinence in the easiest and most affordable way possible. Our products include both washable and disposable items, allowing you the flexibility to manage your incontinence the way you want to.
Common Causes of Urinary Incontinence in Men
The bladder is a hollow organ in the pelvic area that stores urine. It consists of smooth muscle which contracts and relaxes depending on whether the bladder is full or empty. These bladder muscles are controlled by nerve signals that travel to and from the brain, allowing you total control over when and where you urinate.
Sometimes things can go wrong with the bladder which can lead to problems such as frequent urination and incontinence. This can have quite an effect on your quality of life.
Common causes can include prostate problems, neurological diseases like Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson's Disease and in rare cases, bladder cancer.
An overactive bladder is one of the most common complications that can develop from bladder problems in men. The muscles in the bladder wall contract randomly which can often lead to a sudden and urgent need to urinate. An overactive bladder can also lead to frequent urination at night.
Urinary Tract Infections
Sometimes, unwanted bacteria can get into the urinary tract, causing an infection. This infection can cause irritation in the urethra and bladder, making it difficult to urinate. It can also cause incontinence.
A course of antibiotics will often clear up any infection. Talk to your doctor if you think you might have a urinary infection.
The prostate gland is a walnut-shaped organ which is a part of the male reproductive system. It sits close to the bladder and supports the urinary system. Unfortunately, the gland is prone to problems in men as they age.
Prostate problems are a fairly common cause of incontinence in men. Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) is an enlarged prostate without the presence of cancer. The swollen prostate presses against the urethra which pinches it closed. This then leads to more pressure on the bladder wall which, over time, causes the bladder wall to become thicker and ultimately weaker.
Your prostate may also be bigger because of prostate cancer. This type of cancer is slow-developing, so symptoms can often go unnoticed for quite a while. Prostate cancer only becomes noticeable when the prostate is big enough to affect the urethra. Additional pressure can lead to frequent urination and the feeling that your bladder is not completely empty - even though you've been to the toilet.
Unfortunately, treating prostate cancer can also lead to incontinence. Radiotherapy, hormone therapy and surgery can all damage the nerves and muscles that support the urinary system.
Major bowel surgery, lower back surgery and surgery to the prostate, are some of the more common surgeries that can cause incontinence in men. Most of the time, it's damage to the nerves and muscles around your bladder that causes the incontinence.
One of the more common surgeries in men that will lead to incontinence is a full or partial prostatectomy (an operation to remove some or all of the prostate gland).
As you get older, some of the muscles in your body lose their tone and flexibility. The bladder is no different. As you age, the muscles in the bladder wall can lose some of its functionality, resulting in urinary incontinence and unwanted leaks.
Just because you're ageing though, doesn't necessarily mean you'll develop incontinence.
Extra weight adds more pressure on the bladder. Carrying a little extra weight is usually not a problem, but if you’re considered overweight you’ll be more prone to developing incontinence. Being considerably overweight or obese, is often associated with stress incontinence which is defined by the involuntary leaking of urine when you laugh, cough or lift something heavy.
If you're overweight, you may also find that you struggle to hold urine for any length of time, and that you frequently have to visit the toilet to urinate.
There are a few underlying diseases that can cause urinary incontinence. Most of the time, these diseases will cause damage to the nerves and/or muscles around the bladder. Damage to the nerves in this area can interrupt the signals which tell the bladder when to empty. It can also cause spasms in the bladder which leads to an overactive bladder.
Some of the more common diseases that can interfere with the nerves are:
Other Useful Information
Drinking alcohol and fizzy drinks can make incontinence worse. Alcohol is a diuretic which means your kidneys make more urine. If you already have incontinence, this puts additional pressure on the bladder, making the incontinence worse.
Some medicines like antidepressants, sedatives or over-the-counter cold medication can also make incontinence worse.
Chronic or long-term constipation can also add to your incontinence problems. When your stool is backed up in your rectum or colon, it can put extra pressure on your bladder and the surrounding nerves. This also interrupts the controlling signal between your brain and bladder, which can lead to unwanted and frequent leaks.
Common Causes of Faecal Incontinence in Men
Faecal incontinence, also known as bowel incontinence is the involuntary leaking of faecal matter. There can be a number of causes of faecal incontinence, most of which are not serious. Most of the time the main issue is around anxiety of the incontinence, and the impact it has on your quality of life.
Sometimes, faecal incontinence can occur for no apparent reason.
Damage to the muscles and nerves
The most common cause of faecal incontinence is damage to the muscle around the anus. This ring of muscles is called the anal sphincter. Damage to the anal sphincter is often the result of surgery in the general area, or directly on the anus.
Surgery to the prostate gland can also result in faecal incontinence.
Nerve damage from conditions such as diabetes, spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis can interrupt the signal that controls the muscles in the rectum and anus.
Crohn's disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Diabetes are some of the disorders that can lead to faecal incontinence.
There is no known cause for IBS. It is often a lifelong condition that is managed by diet and medication. It can be a frustrating condition to live with, but being well informed is key to the best management.
Crohn’s Disease is a lifelong condition that causes inflammation in the digestive system. Symptoms include abdominal pain, fatigue and diarrhoea. Diet and medications are the most effective treatments for Crohn's disease.
Conditions that cause some degree of mental impairment like Alzheimer's and Stroke, may also lead to faecal incontinence.
What you eat and drink is important in managing faecal incontinence. Alcohol, spicy foods and dairy products like cheese, milk and ice-cream should be avoided as much as possible if you have faecal incontinence. In addition, drinks full of caffeine like tea and coffee can irritate the stomach and bowel, making your faecal incontinence worse.
It might help to consult a dietician to determine the best diet for you and your level of faecal incontinence.
A healthy diet can help avoid complications like constipation that can cause faecal incontinence. Hard stools that build up in the back passage put additional pressure on the anal sphincter, causing them to stretch and weaken. Loose stools can then flow around the hard stool and leak through the weakened sphincter.