Urinary Incontinence, a medical condition where a person is unable to control his/her bladder and the urine leaks out. Abdomen can feel pressurised when a person bends, lifts objects, sneezes, coughs etc. While this is categorized as one type of incontinence, there are other types of incontinence where the person has no control on the bladder.
Types of incontinence
- Stress Urinary Incontinence – Leakage of urine happens when little stress is applied to the abdomen such as when bending lifting or coughing etc.
- Urge Incontinence – In this case, the bladder contracts without receiving signal from the brain. This pushes out urine and results in leakage. Many times, it will be hard to reach the toilet before the urine starts leaking out.
- Overflow Incontinence – Some people will not be able to empty their bladder completely. This causes the left over urine leak after you finish the task.
- Mixed Incontinence – This is a combination of Stress Incontinence and Urge incontinence.
This is neither an uncommon condition nor an un-treatable one. Apart from getting in touch with an expert urologist, what can men do to manage incontinence problem?
Firstly, let us see what can cause Incontinence in men:
- Enlarged Prostate
- Parkinson’s disease
- Over Active Bladder (OAB) – reason for this is not known yet
- Surgery to prostate
How much do you drink?
Keep a tab on how much you drink (water and other fluids). You should not be drinking more than what you need. At the same time, you should not drink too less. Consuming too much fluid can result in frequent urination problem. Drinking less than required amounts can dehydrate you, make urine more acidic and can result in other problems apart from worsening incontinence problem.
Watch what you drink
Sofa, Coffee, tea and Alcohol – they are your worst enemies when you are suffering from incontinence. Stop taking them and see if that helps you. If you notice that your symptoms are getting better as you avoid these drinks, just stop consuming these completely.
Watch what you eat
Spicy foods, foods causing acidity, chocolate, artificial sweeteners – these are believed to make the incontinence problem worse, as per the feedback from men suffering from incontinence. This can differ from person to person. So, you will also need to watch what you are eating. Recollect what you ate the day before or earlier in the day, if you think the problem has worsened.
Yes, life is stressful at times. Combining it with incontinence problem is even more stressful. You will need to find ways to relax yourself such as spending time with dear ones, meditation etc. Observe how your body is behaving when you are spending time on these relaxation activities. If you feel that the muscles around the bladder (in abdomen) are relaxing, continue until the symptoms get better.
Train your bladder
Whether you are in an urge to go to the toilet or not, make sure you pee every half hour and empty your bladder. Make this a habit. If you cannot visit the restroom every half hour, space it evenly that suits your daily activities (such an an hour or one and half hour etc). Intent is to pee at regular intervals and to set your body rhythm so that, it understands that it should not pee at other times. As you train your body, you can space the intervals farther and farther every month.
Train your abdomen muscles
Kegels exercise helps a lot in strengthening the parts of your pelvis muscles. Kegels is an easy to do workout which can be done by lying down or when standing or sitting on a chair. You will need to stress the muscles in your abdomen, hold and then release them. Start doing this after you empty your bladder completely. Watch the video below by Dr. Karthik Gunasekaran, an expert urologist and sexologist in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
Use incontinence pads
These are not the regular diapers like items. They are sleek and no one will even know that you are wearing one. Don’t hesitate to use them and save yourself from embarrassment when you run to the restroom in the middle of a meeting or a conversation. You don’t need to wet your undergarments or pants either. This can help you gain confidence and reduce your mental stress.
Medications for male incontinence
Some of these medicines are not just for men but work for women too. Your urologist may put you on medication that can relax the muscles in the pelvis area. Some nerve blocking agents may be prescribed so that the bladder doesn’t contract at wrong times. If the prostate is enlarged, appropriate medicines may be prescribed. One should note that no ‘diuretic’ pills must be taken if suffering from Incontinence
Surgery & other options
- Slings – these are used to wrap around the urethra (the pipe carrying urine from bladder out of the penis) to compress it and prevent leakage when pressure is put on the abdomen.
- Artificial Sphincter – a cuff like attachment to the urethra is placed to close the urethra. A pump is provided to loosen the cuff when the person wants to urinate.
- Pacemaker like device is used to stimulate nerves to relax the bladder and the muscles in pelvis.
- External Catheters that can be rolled onto penis like condoms can be used to hold urine during sleep. They are attached to drainage bags where the urine actually gets collected.
If you are suffering from incontinence, you will surely be aware of your day’s schedule and how it is going to affect it. So, prepare yourself as to at what intervals you must urinate. Even when you are travelling by road, you will need to make stops where toilets are available. Wear dress that can be quickly removed when you urgently want to visit the restroom. Using pads to collect the dribbling of urine is also a good idea. Urinary incontinence is a treatable problem; so, don’t shy away from seeing a doctor as soon as you notice this problem. Reasons can be many but your urologist will surely come up with a treatment plan.